Tag Archives: Holland

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:


The Beauty of Keukenhof – In Pictures

Seven million flower bulbs, close to a million visitors every season, and a sight that cannot be described in words – that’s the draw of Keukenof.  In these pictures, we present our discovery of this Amsterdam attraction.  You can read more about our visit in prose at http://pauperswithouttravel.com/2012/07/02/keukenhof-gardens-amsterdam-from-bollywood-screen-to-reality/

Keukenhof Gardens, Amsterdam – From Bollywood Screen to Reality

Keukenhof Gardens

By Lakshmi:

As a kid growing up in India, my first exposure to exotic locales was through Bollywood movies.  It is in the darkened halls of movie theaters that the fun of Disneyland, the scenic beauty of the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland and of course the romance of Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam all came to life.

I don’t know if it was the lovely couple romancing on the screen among the tulips or the jaw dropping beauty of the acres of flowers that made me want to get there some day.  Unfortunately, my first two trips to Amsterdam did not coincide with the blooming season.  On my third visit, we were finally able to experience this slice of Dutch life.

We took the train from our hotel near Central to Schiphol airport from where we boarded the special buses that would take us to Keukenhof.  Connexxion bus company’s all-in Combi-ticket enabled us to take the bus and visit the gardens for a single fee.

As we entered the largest bulb flower park in the world, we had no idea that there was a whole world of tulips and beyond.  The first thing to catch our attention was a huge musical instrument that was playing some beautiful tunes.  We joined the crowds and spent a chunk of time right in that spot.  As we started walking through the gardens, we saw a multitude of trees, flowers, streams and fountains.  The park houses over 2,500 trees in 87 varieties.  Soon we came upon a little petting area with several animals and the next 30 minutes were spent watching the animals and of course the kids playing.

The park was full of surprises.  We were greeted by a huge exhibit made of coke cans that looked like a playful piece of modern art.  We clicked a few pictures and went to sit by a fountain just people watching and laughing.

Finally we came upon the piece du resistance.  The acres and acres of tulips in every color imaginable.  The layout of the bulbs and kaleidoscope of colors made it appear like a painting that had come to life.  Yellows, oranges, reds, blues, the colors were endless.  And the very long carpet that these blooms created took our breath away.  We were grateful for a picture perfect day to take in this sight.  There were many a visitor and local who had a much better idea than us, to rent a bike and experience the tulips up close.  We failed on that one.

Instead, we sat on several bales of straw and people and flower watched some more.  We ended our day at a play area in the park, swinging on tire swings bringing our day to a perfect close.

The Keukenhof Gardens will reopen next year on March 21 and stay open till May 2013.  To learn more and plan your visit, click here: