I don’t tend to stay in “normal” hotels when we travel. You know the kind I mean. The standard chain hotels that offer a basic room with a comfy bed and a clean bathroom. Nice, but no pezaz. I usually go for something that’s a little more out of the ordinary. Somewhere that is fun and quirky, with unique rooms and beautiful designs. An independent hotel that has personality; somewhere that will make our trip a whole lot more enjoyable and that we’ll remember for a long time after our visit. And of course it has to be child friendly.
This is exactly what we found when we stayed at the Lloyd Hotel. Fun and quirkiness in abundance, this place bursts with character. Our room was like nowhere I have ever stayed before and most definitely somewhere that both Evie and I will remember and would stay at again on any future trip to Amsterdam.
The Lloyd Hotel can be found along the riverbank on the east side of the city, just a couple of tram stops from Centraal Station. The historic building is a former prison, a hotel for emigrants, a place for artists to live and work, as well as being used as a refugee camp for Jewish people during the war, and the corridors and stairwells still retain some of the building’s history. But the modern decor, artsy designs and quirky atmosphere are far from what you’d expect when you think of somewhere with so much history.
What makes this hotel so unique is that every room is different in shape, size and design. It is the first 1-5 star hotel in the world, catering to everyone from families, business travellers or backpackers. You can either choose the specific room you’d like or you can choose your star rating when you make a booking and wait to be surprised with the type of room when you arrive. And I can guarantee you will be pleased.
We were treated to a little tour of the hotel during our stay so we got to see a selection of the ridiculously cool rooms they have on offer. There’s a room with a 7 person bed (Evie was thrilled when she was told this was Snow White’s room where the seven dwarves sleep), a traditionally Dutch room where the bed is hidden away inside what looks like a cupboard, or a room where the bathroom door – or I should say bathroom wall – opens out into the rest of the room like a doll’s house. Each and every room is unique and I have never seen anything quite like it before.
But our room was, of course, without a doubt the best. We were on the 6th and highest floor, wooden floor boards and a beamed sloping ceiling giving it a rustic authentic feel. A desk with a coffee machine and some cosy sofas were at one end of the room while a ginormous king size bed sat at the other end. We may not have had the 7 person bed, but ours still felt so big that during the 3 nights we spent here, not once was I kicked in the stomach by the 3 year old nor did I ever wake up to find a foot or bum in my face. Now that is what you call a holiday!
But what caught my eye first was the huge standalone bath tub that sat invitingly in the middle of the room, rays of sunlight streaming through the window above it, tempting me to climb straight in for a soak.
Which I did. Several times. With a glass of wine.
Evie’s eyes, on the other hand, were immediately drawn to the swing that hung down from the beamed ceiling in the centre of the room. Because as much as she loves a bath full of bubbles, what child wouldn’t go straight for the swing?
She ran straight over and threw herself onto the swing in thrilled excitement while I simply stared around in awe at our new home for the next few nights. As soon as I arrive in a new place I’m usually eager to dump our bags and head straight out to start exploring right away but for once neither of us wanted to leave the room. This is the most epic room we have ever stayed in!
I have to admit that me and Evie did have several fights over whose turn it was to go on the swing. Yes, I am the parent. Also yes, I am still a big kid at heart.
From our room on the top floor, we could watch the sunset from the window, Evie telling me that the tall bell tower was Rapunzel’s tower and the pirate ship on top was Captain Hook’s boat sailing off into the sky to Neverland. What more could a little Disney obsessed girl wish for on an adventure?
A delicious breakfast buffet was included in our stay where I was delighted to find some of the most freshly baked flaky croissants along with, among other things, smoked salmon which I don’t often find in European buffets. There was plenty of choice for little ones and fussy eaters including eggs, pastries, meats, cheeses, fruit, yoghurt and even some sparkling bubbly for the grown ups.
We also tried lunch and dinner in the Lloyd Restaurant as sometimes it’s easier to have food right there to hand when travelling with a toddler. The atmosphere was casual during the day, more relaxed and serene during the evening – but not so serene that I felt out of place dining with a sometimes noisy child! I found the service to be wonderful throughout our whole stay – the staff were smiley and friendly, bringing Evie some colouring, playing games with her every time they’d see her around the hotel and she was even gifted a beautifully illustrated children’s book about the history of the hotel.
On our last morning here we ordered room service for breakfast so that we could enjoy a more relaxed morning in the room before our flight (in other words so we could enjoy the swing for longer). A huge beautiful platter of croissants, bread, eggs, fruit, yoghurt, coffee and juice arrived for us at the time I’d requested so we had a lovely leisurely breakfast in bed while I finished packing the case and Evie had some last minute fun on the swing.
A city break with a little one is not my idea of a relaxing holiday (as I’m sure any parent in the world, ever, would agree), so I was extremely pleasantly surprised to find myself feeling relaxed throughout this break and I put that completely down to our wonderful stay here. I quite literally soaked away my troubles in the bathtub and the two of us had so much fun and laughter together. It’s the perfect place to unwind amid the buzz of Amsterdam.
Thank you to the Lloyd Hotel who hosted our stay. The hotel is currently open and welcoming guests, following guidelines to keep all guests and staff safe during the current Covid 19 crisis. The restaurant has limited capacity and reservations should be booked in advance. You can find out more and book your stay by visiting their website here.
Have you ever stayed in such a cool room? Let me know in the comments below or at: