Vacationing in 2020 is weird: officially, we can fly (but really don’t want to because, well, corona). So all these touristy places like Venice and Barcelona aren’t as filled up with tourists as they usually are. There’s an upside to this as well, as our own touristy Amsterdam is also nice and tranquil — and we can finally be typical tourists in our own capital.
This year was going to be the busiest year ever for visits to Amsterdam and the hotel business was properly prepping for it. Sadly for them, this isn’t the case. But good for you perhaps, because you can enjoy Amsterdam on the (relatively) cheap.
Many hotels are offering great deals at the moment, and if you’re an international living in Eindhoven or Maastricht — this might be the year to properly visit Amsterdam.
Where to stay: Boat and Co
One of these hotels is the fresh Boat and Co in the newly developed Houthaven quarter, it just opened up in autumn of 2019 and everything obviously feels and smells new. It’s a bit away from the centre though — so either get a bike (the hotel has some!) or just plan ahead.
Boat and Co does hotel things a bit differently, things that make it an excellent spot for a staycation. For starters, it’s more of an apartment than a hotel in the sense that there’s a kitchen and a little living room. Staying in one of these for a few days feels more natural than a compact hotel room. I also loved how they designed it with colours and some attitude instead of the regular white-industrial-minimal look that we usually encounter.
They also throw in rental bikes, which really is the way to go and explore Amsterdam. And they’re open to you bringing your kids, and are fully prepared with little kiddy beds and such and so a staycay with the whole family is also a possibility.
Oh, and how can one resist this view?
They also built a pier in front of the hotel for swimming. It was already a lively scene on a chilly day — must be a buzzing thing on a warm day.
The whole corona situation is sad, but it does mean that there’s the option to get the breakfast delivered to your room – we thoroughly enjoyed this socially distanced breakfast.
Yes, it was as good as it looks!
Where to eat: Vessel Amsterdam
This hotel features both a splendid hall with all the decor you could wish for and an outside terrace with swooping views of the river IJ and some modern architecture.
It was above 15 degrees, so as true Dutchies we opted to go outside and enjoy the last rays of sunshine. The menu has something for everybody and you can go for the regular three courses or share anything with anybody. A big plus is that it’s mostly locally sourced food coming from a low waste kitchen.
And yes, you’ll be happy to know that there were good cocktails with a nice platter with finger food to enjoy as well in case you’re not up for a full dinner.
We were up for a full dinner though, and it was good with grown-up portions. In fact, we opted for the shared Cote d’Boeuf and I’m happy to report that the only reason we could finish that massive piece of meat was that it was so excellent (ask for another sauce though too, mix it up)
A staycation in Amsterdam during corona times — what to do?
It’s Amsterdam, but without the insane crowds of tourists, so what should you do? Well, the answer is obvious — touristy things!
Obviously I mean the good things, not the getting ripped off in the red light district-things. I never saw the Van Gogh museum so this was my chance. We booked ahead and enjoyed a tranquil museum, even spent some time alone with some of these famous paintings (no pics allowed, so no pics here).
Most museums are working with a reservation system, and for the most well-known ones like the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank house, it’s advisable to book a week in advance. But yeah, this is the time to see these hotspots.
What else can you do?
Bring your kids, the city is a bit more easygoing now. You can also cycle through the town without the cycle paths being full of stoner tourists or bachelor parties.
Go for a Dutch pancake! Normally I would never do such a thing, but we now enjoyed a nice classic pancake at the pancake bakery (which is normally crowded with tourists).
Go for a boat ride in Amsterdam, it’s way better since there aren’t that many other peeps on the boat with you and there are generally fewer boats on the canals.
Go to the centre or the negen straatjes, beautiful areas that are actually accessible and enjoyable these days — we might as well enjoy the beautiful city in this fudged up year of 2020.
What are your plans for the summer of 2020? Let us know in the comments!
Feature Image: Chait Goli/Pexels
*We teamed up with Boat and Co for this article (and a great stay!), but no payment was involved