Tag Archives: Central Station

Movenpick Amsterdam – A Hotel That Won Us Over

By Lakshmi:

A few years ago, we had made plans to spend Christmas in Amsterdam.  It is one of our favorite cities and we were very much looking forward to staying at Dam Square and found a great deal at the Swissotel.  But alas, an illness with a family member forced us to change plans and move our trip to peak Spring season and the best value we could get was away from Dam Square at a property on the water known as the Movenpick Hotel Amsterdam.

We had heard good things about the brand, but had never stayed there.  We were still saddened about not being in the heart of the city at Dam Square.  But we relented and decided to go for this property.

From our very first interaction over the phone to the support provided after we returned home, this hotel made our stay amazing and won us over.  Here’s how they did it.

– The hotel offers a shuttle pick up from Central Station.  We called from the station and due to construction were given explicit instructions on the right exit to take to the spot on the street where we would be picked up.  First handshake – success!

– The property is modern, designed beautifully and occupies prime real estate on the water adjacent to the beautiful Muziekgebouw concert hall.  We loved the aesthetics.

– The front desk staff could not have been any friendlier.  Given the girls excitement, they gave us a room facing the water that simply made each morning and evening that much more special.  And they always had pointers for us on things to do.

– Our concern about not being on Dam Square was more than addressed by these facts.  It is a short 15 minute walk or a few minute tram ride to the Square and most importantly being on the water helped us escape the bustle of the city whenever we wanted to.

– The breakfast was awesome.

– At the basement of the hotel is a bike rental place that we used to rent bikes and do a tour of the dutch countryside.  Great convenience.

– Now for the ultimate in service.  Upon getting to the airport, we realized that we had forgotten a key purchase at a locker in one of the city’s museums.  We called the museum, asked if they could ship it which they declined.  We called the hotel concierge and they immediately set the wheels in motion to help us.  Not only did they pick up our purchase, they mailed it to us without charging us a dime.  This despite our multiple offers to pay.

Amsterdam is absolutely one of our favorite cities in the world and we are glad to have found a gem to return to on future journeys.

To learn more about this beautiful property click here:


Shopping and Dining at De Bijenkorf in Amsterdam

Restaurant at De Bijenkorf
Source: http://www.architonic.com

By Lakshmi:

Who?  Anyone who is visiting Amsterdam and wants to explore a local department store or wants to shop and grab coffee and dessert or better yet, like us wants to shop, have coffee and then end with a nice dinner.

What? De Bijenkorf, a department store chain in the Netherlands whose flagship store is in the heart of Amsterdam.

How? De Bijenkorf is located at Dam Square and can be reached by walking from many of the area hotels or Central Station.

Why?  Whenever we visit a country, I always make it a point to visit one large department store to get a feel for what the locals are into and buying.  From clothing to housewares to furniture, it is always fascinating to see what another place offers.  Since we have been to Amsterdam many times, we always pass by De Bijenkorf’s flagship store.  The first time, we actually walked through the ground floor and sat to grab coffee and dessert.  On another visit, after walking through the store, I noticed shoppers walking out with really nice neon green bags with the store’s logo.  I really wanted that bag and since I was not about to spend the minimal amount warranted to get the bag for free, I went to someone to ask if I could purchase it.  The sales person went away for a few minutes and upon her return handed me “the” bag saying that it would be a lovely reminder of my trip.  I could not be more elated with the service and my find.  On our last trip, we discovered that the store offered a restaurant with a plethora of food choices at the top-level.  So, off we went one evening, working our way through soup, pasta, sandwiches, noodles, juice, wine, coffee and dessert over the span of a few hours.  The very modern and stunning decor provided the perfect backdrop for a relaxing meal and the view of the Dam Square area seen from the windows was lovely.  The most welcome surprise was the quality of food which matched any good restaurant or better.

So, if you happen to be in Amsterdam with family or friends and each of you is in a mood to eat something different, the dining area at De Bijenkorf is a lovely choice.

Malmo Central Station – Creative Video Art on Display

By Lakshmi: (Updated September 15, 2014)

Who?  Anyone who is visiting Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city or is transiting through Malmo’s Central Station.

What? The video landscapes on display on the platform walls.

How? Malmo’s Central Station is centrally located to start or end all journeys into town.

Why?  I arrived early to catch a train from Malmo to Gothenburg and with lunch and a drink in tow decided to wait on the platform for the train.  And that’s when it caught my attention.  There was no train at the platform, but instead I saw a series of moving landscapes on the wall.  At first, it seemed a bit strange.  It was almost like I was sitting in a train watching the landscape pass by through the windows…except I was not on a train and yet had this visual illusion.  After overcoming my slightly confused state, I started recognizing some of the world landmarks on display.  Turns out that what I was witnessing was artiste Tania Ruiz Gutiérrez’s video installation intended to show waiting passengers visuals that they would see on train journeys around the world.   It is actually a very creative work of art which draws in the viewer, engages them and puts them in a frame of mind to enjoy their train journey.

I was surprised that soon after my return home from Sweden, the NY times featured my accidental discovery as a “to do” in Malmo.  Another fact I learnt from the same article is that you can take the train every day for five years and not repeat a scene displayed!  You can read more about this art installation at