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The Hyatt Regency Amsterdam is one of the brand’s newest European properties. The Pros: An interesting history, engaging décor, friendly staff and moderate prices. The Cons: Rooms and facilities are basic and the restaurant wasn’t interesting enough to make me want to dine there again.
I’ve been using Amsterdam as a hub for my European travels — mostly because of punctual operations and decent flight connections on KLM — and I try to plan a stopover whenever possible so I can check out any new hotels and restaurants. That’s how I ended up staying at one of the city’s newest hotels, the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam, which opened in April 2017.
I generally prefer to stay in the city’s higher-end properties, including those belonging to major chains, like the chic W Amsterdam and the classically elegant Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam. But my stay at the Hyatt Regency rated decently in comparison — especially considering it cost about a third less than those other two.
I found out I would be staying overnight in Amsterdam about three weeks before my trip, so that didn’t leave me a lot of time to shop around for a hotel. I did a few quick searches through Starwood, Hilton and Hyatt’s websites, where I discovered that the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam would be opening a few weeks before my visit. That fact was doubly interesting because the opening brought the number of Hyatt properties in and around the city to three — my choices now were the new Hyatt Regency, the Andaz Amsterdam and the Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport, which was too far from the city center for me.
The advanced-purchase rate for a standard King Room at the Hyatt Regency was 261 euros (~$290 at the time) for the night. The next highest category, a King View Room, was 288 euros (~$320) — for comparison, standard rates were starting at 290 euros (~$323 at the time) and 320 euros (~$357) for those rooms, respectively. The Hyatt Regency Amsterdam is a World of Hyatt Category 4 property with award nights starting at 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night, which translates to about 1.9 cents per Hyatt point, just slightly higher than TPG values them. However, since I would have needed to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from either my Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve accounts and I can usually get more value out of them with premium airfares or more expensive hotel redemptions, I decided just to pay for the room with cash.
Out of curiosity, I check out the prices at Hyatt’s other city center property, the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht. Rates there started about 105 euros ($117 at the time) higher than those at the Hyatt Regency, and since the Andaz is a Category 6 property, award nights start at 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night. It seemed the Hyatt Regency was my best option.
I don’t currently have elite status with World of Hyatt, so I would be earning just 5x points per dollar on my stay. The eligible points-earning spend was only about $253 (because of VAT and room taxes) so I earned 1,265 World of Hyatt points for my one-night stay. I was also able to earn 3x points per dollar by paying with my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.
Check-In and Lobby
My flight to Amsterdam arrived at 11:15am so I caught the train to Amsterdam’s Centraal Station and got to the city center in about an hour. From there, I walked across the plaza to the nearby metro station, hopped on the red line for three stops to Weesperplein and walked two blocks to the hotel. The Hyatt Regency is located in the city’s sedate Plantage district, where the Botanical Gardens, Oosterpark and Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo are — it’s also within walking distance of the Heineken Experience and the trendy De Pijp district.
If the building’s exterior has a bit of a clinical feel, that’s because it used to be Emma Children’s Hospital, originally built in the 19th century. Is it creepy to put a hotel in a former children’s hospital? A little. But what they did with it is pretty cool. The project was overseen by architect Fritz Van Dongen — the former Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands — and engineering firm Van Rossum. While much of the interior was demolished, they incorporated much of the original façade and even embellished part of the back exterior with bright green hand-glazed green tiles.
Stepping into the lobby is like walking into a greenhouse, thanks to a design scheme conceived by Amsterdam firm, Concrete. The entry vestibule is two stories, with the second-floor space clad in tiles of varying shades of green and draped with leafy plants. To the right are several seating areas with dark green sectionals and blond wood tables and chairs. Overhead are lamps with basket-like shades.
Directly in front of the entrance is another seating area with green carpeting, a gray sectional and some rocking chairs around a low coffee table. Behind that is a communal table with about a dozen chairs around it where people can plug in their computers and work. The matte brass fixtures and shelves around the lobby gave the space a touch of Modernist sensibility.
To the left of the central seating area is where you’ll find the reception desks.
Behind those was a small takeaway station called the Grab and Go Market, pictured below, with drinks, snacks and sandwiches. Finally, behind that was the hotel’s Mama Makan Bar, where you can grab cocktails, small plates and coffee. I especially liked the white-marble bar and the wallpaper with palm fronds — it reminded me of the jungly paintings of Henri Rousseau. All in all, the lobby is a bright, open space with a lot of activity and plenty of seating options to choose from. The ambiance is casual and professional without being tragically hip.
There were no other guests at the check-in counter when I arrived, so I was helped immediately. The two agents there were very friendly, saying they regretted that my room was not yet ready. They also asked if I’d like to store my luggage and have lunch or maybe go out and explore the city, offering me a map and some tips. I left my luggage there, headed out to De Pijp to window shop and get a coffee in one of the cafés there, and came back about 90 minutes later to have a bite in the hotel restaurant, at which point my room was ready.
The Hyatt Regency Amsterdam has 211 rooms — 196 guest rooms and 15 suites — all decorated by London-based studio Jestico & Whiles. Even the elevators were pretty.
The King Room I booked was on the (European) first floor.
I took the elevators, which are across the lobby from the reception desks, up one floor and turned down the hall to my room.
The walls are decorated with botanical prints in homage to the surrounding Plantage district’s horticultural history. My room was in the starter category, which the hotel’s website says starts at 23-30 square meters, or 248-322 square feet. My room seemed to be on the larger side of that range and felt spacious by European standards.
Just inside the door and to the left is the bathroom. To the right, you’ll find a closet with a safe.
There’s also a mini-bar stocked with a few beverages.
The main part of the room contains a bed, a small sitting area in the corner, a work desk and a credenza with a television on it. Like the hallways, there were botanical prints on the walls that looked like they had been taken from a botany textbook and blown up. The three in my room were an artocarpus (jackfruit), lilium (lily) and cactaceae (cactus).
I liked them, but they did look sort of random in the middle of the small wall that separated the bedroom from the bathroom. The print on the headboard over the bed, which was a colorful version of the three plants combined, was much more eye-catching and provided a splash of excitement in a room where the palette was otherwise muted. There were also wall-mounted lamps on either side of the bed and two flip-out reading lights embedded in the headboard.
There was also a narrow bench at the foot of the bed.
The other two dashes of color came from a blue armchair, a red ottoman and the desk chair, which was also red. It was nice to have somewhere besides the bed to sit, so I did some work from the armchair.
I also liked that the desk had a slim profile, which kept it from weighing down that corner of the room. At first, I was confused as to why there was just a single European-shaped power outlet and some USB plugs next to the desk…
…but then I saw that each side of the bed had its own power plug as well, and one side had USB ports, too.
I think Hyatt figures most people take their computers or other electronics into bed anyway, so it was nice that you could charge your electronics from a variety of locations.
The TV was just your average 42-inch flat screen.
The Wi-Fi was complimentary and easy to log into by using my name and room number. It operated at speeds that were just okay. You could also purchase high-speed Wi-Fi for 15 euros (~$18) per day.
The bathroom was actually pretty small, with brown wall tiles and a single sink. The mirror above it had embedded lights as well as a digital clock — but it was set to the wrong time.
There was no bathtub, just a glassed-in shower with a wall-mounted shower head and another rainfall-type one on the ceiling.
The bath products were citrus-scented and produced by Pharmacopia.
One aspect of the room I really liked were the large windows overlooking Sarphatistraat. They let in a lot of light, and though the street was busy, the soundproofing was good and the room was never too noisy.
Food and Beverage
Because I was going out for what I’d call a lavish dinner, I had decided to have lunch at the hotel. Its single restaurant is called Mama Makan and Hyatt bills it as a “Dutch Grand Café in Indonesia.” What I found that to mean, basically, is that chef Paul Verheul created a menu of Indonesian dishes with some European plates thrown in.
The space itself is pretty, with geometric floor tiling as well as wooden parquet flooring, wood tables and green upholstered banquettes. I especially liked the paper lantern-style light fixtures hanging from the ceiling.
The restaurant runs along the front and one of the sides of the building, so it’s got a pretty big footprint.
There’s also an open kitchen where the breakfast buffet is served, so you can keep an eye on all the action.
Among the Dutch dishes on the lunch menu were spring pea soup, crab bisque with braised cod, steak frites, roasted monkfish with lemon-thyme sauce and Dutch rookworst on leek compote. The Indonesian side of the menu included gado gado with vegetables, egg and tempeh; satay skewers; nasi goreng with shrimp, egg and chicken satay; mie goreng noodles with prawns and chicken; and poached white fish in turmeric sauce.
Based on the server’s suggestion, I got the tumis daging sapi, which was a dish of sliced beef tossed with mushrooms and chili in a sweet soy sauce, and served with a side of rice. It was light but filling, though I wouldn’t call it special, and along with a glass of wine, lunch cost me about 33 euros (~$39). Not what I’d consider a great deal.
Other than my lunch, I stopped by the Mama Makan bar for a nightcap. The artisanal cocktails there are pretty reasonably priced, ranging from 11-17 euros (~$13-$20) and are inspired by plants and fruits. The Pineapple, for instance, is made with aged rum, pineapple juice, Fino sherry and kumquat juice, while The Ginger is a mix of dry gin, ginger shavings, lemon juice, honey, papaya tea, clove tincture and cardamom essence. I felt like having something whiskey-based, so the bartender whipped me up a “Mantini” with Laphroaig scotch, sweet vermouth, citrus biters and a dash of pepper — it was smoky, spicy, and hit the spot.
The hotel has a Regency Club on the second floor, but I didn’t have access because I wasn’t staying in a Club room and besides, it hadn’t actually opened yet by the time of my stay. When it does, though, guests who do have access can head up there to enjoy continental breakfast as well as evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Among the amenities I did use was the gym, which is located on the ground floor at the back of the building. Its windows overlook a small street and the Singelgracht canal.
I thought it was pretty well-equipped, with more than a few cardio machines to go around.
It also had up-to-date weight machines, inflatable workout balls and a space to stretch.
Downstairs from the gym entrance is where the spa will be, but it wasn’t open during my stay. Nor were the four meeting rooms, including a 200-square-meter (2,150-square-foot) ballroom.
Although not all the features of the hotel were functional for my stay — the hotel itself had just opened a few weeks before — I still had a very good experience at the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam. Its central location made it a great option for getting to/from the airport on a short stopover so I could stay near some of the city’s main attractions. The rooms are nice if not luxurious, and the restaurant is a decent option in a pinch, though the cocktails at the bar are much more interesting.
It’s nice to have another Hyatt property in the city, especially one at a lower dollar and point price point than the Andaz Amsterdam. I’d stay here again, but would try to earn elite status before then in the hopes of scoring an upgrade to a nicer room. I’d also plan to eat out instead of dining at Mama Makan since this city has so many more interesting restaurants.
Have you ever stayed at the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam? Tell us about your experience, below.
All photos by the author.
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