No spa or fitness center, but massages can be booked
Outside city center
Some guests have complained about cleanliness and uncomfortable beds
Fee for parking
The 116-room Hotel Arena is an historic landmark, built in 1889 as the Sint Elisabeth orphanage. It has been renovated to preserve many of the cool original architectural elements, including an elaborate Gothic, almost steampunk-looking grand lobby staircase. Unusual for Amsterdam, the Hotel Arena is set back from the street on its own grounds, with large outdoor areas for relaxing and socializing over cocktails and snacks, or, for the kids, jumping on the playground's (in-ground) trampoline.
Theatrical decor, Gothic details, nightclub in an old church
The Hotel Arena embraces its history as a 19th-century orphanage with its striking theatrical decor. The building is made up of a maze of corridors. Public areas are dramatic and interesting. The grand central staircase has been restored to highlight its carved wood, elaborate iron balusters, and slightly chilling-looking finials, but the haunted effect is mitigated by the cluster of white lamps that hang from the ceiling, trailing yards of flowing fringe. Imposing high-backed, black leather chairs surround the staircase, and suggest days gone by.
The modern dining room features a blood-red velvet curtain reminiscent of the stage, and stage lights are used to illuminate the hotel's cafe. The nightclub is set in the former chapel, with painted ceilings and columns that feel original to the place, but the ultra modern sofas and lighting turn what could look a bit creepy into a fun atmosphere for an evening. The design is powerful but not gimmicky, and the hotel offers every modern convenience for both tourists and business travelers. Outdoors, too, the Hotel Arena has paid great attention to its lawns and terraces, which are a rare luxury in crowded Amsterdam.
Quiet, upscale neighborhood, lovely grounds, easy trip to city center
The Hotel Arena has the unusual luxury for Amsterdam of being set back from the street, surrounded by lawns, which gives it a very private feeling. The immediate area consists of quiet streets with traditional but upscale Dutch houses. There are cafes, supermarkets, and shops nearby. The Oosterpark, with its English gardens and memorial sculptures, is close by. The Tropenmuseum is about 10 minutes on foot, and the Artis Natura (the zoo) is about a 15-minute walk from Hotel Arena. The city center is a 20-minute tram ride, or a half hour's walk away, and Amsterdam's robust nightlife district is 10 minutes by tram.
Every room is individually designed, with black-tile bathrooms and freestanding tubs.
Each room in the Hotel Arena has been specifically designed to combine the historical elements of the landmark building with a modern theatrical vibe. Rooms are bright white and airy, but the spectacular modern bathrooms are done in glistening black tile. Everything has been curated; minibars don't just have chips, but roasted paprika chips. Rooms also have coffeemakers and flat-screen TVs. Some rooms are duplexes, which are excellent for families. The wellness studio room feels like a set from La Bohème, with domed ceiling, angled walls, and a bathtub Mimi would die for. Plentiful Ada toiletries are fair trade and organic. Some guests have reported cleanliness problems.
Nightclub, bike rental with pre-programmed GPS, playground
The Hotel Arena has a cool nightclub, ToNight, an interesting restaurant, ToDine, as well as ToDrink, a cafe bar with a terrace that serves Dutch and international food all day long. The hotel frequently hangs contemporary art exhibitions. Cool home-grown Vanmoof bikes are available to rent with GPS systems pre-programmed with interesting routes, points of interests, restaurants, and more. Kids will enjoy the playground, with its swing set and in-ground trampoline, and grown-ups will appreciate the spacious deck with tables, chairs, and cocktails.