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Hotel The Golden Bear 2.0

Amsterdam, North Holland Province, Netherlands

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • In the Canal Ring, walking distance to most tourist attractions
  • Rooms have flat-screen TVs and individually controlled heating
  • Luxury Rooms have private bathrooms with hairdryers
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the property
  • Continental breakfast available for a fee
  • Bike rentals available for a fee

Cons

  • Complaints of cleanliness and maintenance issues
  • Most rooms are small and some have shared bathrooms
  • Steep, narrow steps to all rooms
  • Reception closes at night (late arrivals can be arranged)
  • Breakfast not available when hotel is fully booked

Bottom Line

Housed in two 18th-century buildings with incredibly steep, narrow stairs, the 26-room The Golden Bear is a no-frills property better suited to young (and fit) travelers on a budget. Its location in the Canal Ring is the hotel’s main selling point, which puts guests within easy walking distance of all of Amsterdam’s top attractions, including Dam Square, the Museum Quarter, and Nine Streets shopping area. Rates are some of the lowest in this area for a non-hostel property, but room quality varies widely, ranging from tiny units with cleanliness and maintenance issues, to pleasant rooms with private bathrooms and decent amenities. Basic continental breakfasts are usually available for a fee, and front desk staff can arrange bike rentals, but the hotel lacks common areas and reception closes at night. The similarly priced and nearby Boutique Hotel View is a good alternative.

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Scene

Basic, budget property with few frills and a quiet atmosphere

Set on a small, cobblestone street in the Canal Ring, The Golden Bear has a quaint, local feel. The property is housed in two 18th-century buildings with big windows, a small wooden door up a few steps from the street, and a few bikes chained to the railing. The Golden Bear is a budget property at heart, but partial renovations in the mid-2010s gave the property a fresher feel -- at least at first sight. The small lobby doubles as the kitchen, breakfast room, and only common space, and is decorated in a simple style, with laminate wooden floors, a gray-and-sage palette, and a big, glass lamp hanging from the ceiling. A sepia image of old Amsterdam pasted to the front desk adds some style, and large windows with potted flowers make the space appealing and light. Some other areas have also received facelifts -- including some hallways and a few rooms -- but there are few frills here, and the property has a hostel-like feel, with carpeted hallways, plain white walls, and some shared bathrooms. Guests with mobility issues may want to know that there is no elevator here, and there are incredibly steep, narrow stairs with minuscule steps to all rooms. 

Rates are average for a budget property in this part of town, but travelers who don’t need to be in the heart of the action can do better elsewhere. Though located a 20-minute tram ride from Dam Square, the upscale XO Hotels Couture is an excellent alternative, with lower rates, chic rooms with great amenities, a fitness center, and a restaurant. Travelers on a tighter budget may want to consider the easyHotel Amsterdam, which has tiny (albeit clean and contemporary) rooms with private bathrooms, and a quiet location in trendy De Pijp. The slightly more expensive Hotel Notting Hill is a great option for those who want to stay in central Amsterdam without the crowds. 

Location

In the heart of the Canal Ring, offering easy access to attractions, shopping, and dining

The Golden Bear is located on a small street in the Canal Ring, a block from both the Keizersgracht and the Prinsengracht waterways. The property is surrounded by cafes, bars, shops, and restaurants, and is ideally located for travelers wanting to explore the city center on foot. Most major attractions are just an easy walk away, including Dam Square, the Anne Frank House, the Albert Cuyp Market, and both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The hotel is also well-connected via public transport to all areas in town, with three tram lines right around the corner from the front door. It takes about 10 minutes to get by tram to Centraal Station, and the hotel is about a 25-minute drive from the airport. 

Rooms

Small rooms with basic amenities; some with private bathrooms

The hotel has 26 rooms divided into two categories: Standard and Luxury. They’re all outfitted with two twins or a double bed, but only Luxury units have private, en-suite bathrooms. Some rooms have been renovated and are simple but cute, with buttoned headboards in metallic hues, laminate floors, dark furniture with clean lines, and dark accent walls. Others, however, are in need of urgent updates, and have cleanliness and maintenance issues (think stained carpets, worn furniture, and rusty windows). Amenities are basic and inconsistent even within the same room category -- all rooms have small flat-screen TVs, hairdryers, and free Wi-Fi, but only some have mini-fridges and safes, and DVD players are only available in some non-renovated rooms. Heating is good and the temperature can be adjusted in each room, but there is no air-conditioning, and fans are only provided for a fee. 

Luxury Rooms have private, modern (albeit small) bathrooms with rainfall showers, stone-like sinks over live-edge wooden counters, and hand soap in wall-mounted containers. Standard Double Rooms, however, have shared bathrooms with small, basic sinks and shower stalls. Some guests have complained of average water pressure and strong drain smells.

Features

Continental breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and bike rentals

A basic, continental breakfast of cheeses, cold cuts, breads, cereal, pastries, and juices is available for a fee in the lobby. Due to the size of both the kitchen and the dining area, breakfast is not available when the hotel is fully booked, but there are dozens of cafes and bars nearby. Wi-Fi is free and good throughout the property, and bike rentals can be arranged at the front desk for a daily or hourly fee. Reception is unmanned at night, but late arrivals can be accommodated, and there is an emergency number that can be contacted 24/7. 

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Address

Kerkstraat 37, Amsterdam, North Holland Province 1017 GB, The Netherlands

Also Known As

  • Hotel the Golden Bear

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