As I had failed to book a hotel room more than 24 hours in advance of arriving in Amsterdam this past summer, I had few options when it came to accommodations. I didn’t want to splurge on a hotel in the city center, so I went a little outside the main ring that comprises the city center and found this gem one railway stop away from Centraal Station, the main station for travels within and outside of Amsterdam.
I stayed at the MEININGER Amsterdam City West for two nights and opted for the cheapest option, a co-ed 7-person room. The setting of the room was quite cozy, like a hotel room or a room in someone’s home, and much unlike the dormitory/cabin-feel I’ve experienced at many of the other hostels I’ve stayed at. The beds are available on a first come first serve basis, so if there are multiple open beds when you arrive, you’ll have the option of selecting a top bunk, bottom bunk, or no bunk at all. Unfortunately, there was only one bed available when I arrived, so my options were limited. Fortunately, I had no preference at all to begin with and was happy with the clean sheets I found on the open bed, so I was a happy camper.
As you can see from the photo below, the rooms are equipped with lockers, but the lockers in my room did not lock. I was a little nervous about this at first but quickly made friends with my co-residents and was assured that everyone has been laying their belongings out in the public and there have been no issues. There were two guys in my room who I ended up spending quite a bit of time with, an Aussie and a Brit, both in their early 20s. Ironically, I had no trouble understanding the Aussie but only understood (at most) 50% of what the Brit said. Aside from the two guys, there were three Irish girls who seemed a bit younger and had been traveling together, and a French girl who mostly kept to herself.
The hostel also had a pretty spacious bar/dining area downstairs that I unfortunately did not have the opportunity to take advantage of, as it was my first time in Amsterdam and I wanted to see more of the city. The bar seemed to be well stocked, but the food options there are quite limited. I would recommend taking your meals in the city center, or if you want to stay closer by, going to one of the restaurants near the Sloterdijk railway station or utilizing the kitchen in the hostel to cook your own meal. Apparently there is also a game room with a foosball table that I also did not get to take advantage of, but if you decide to stay longer than I did, these seem like fun options while hanging around the hostel.
The check in process was efficient, and the front desk staff were extremely friendly and helpful. I arrived in the evening without having made any plans for my time there, so I asked the lady at the front desk for suggestions of cool bars or cafes to check out. She directed me to a totally hip, beach-like spot in Amsterdam Noord that I never would’ve found on my own. If you want to go where the locals go, don’t be afraid to ask the staff for their favorite spots around the city.
One final tip I have for staying here is to rent a bike. While it is extremely convenient to take the rail or bus to the city center, it is a lot more fun (and you’ll feel more like a local) if you bike. The hostel is a short bike ride away from the city center, and the hostel will give you a bike lock when you rent from them, so you can lock up your bike wherever you end up venturing out to. This was a great way for me to see more of the city, including its outskirts.
Overall I would definitely recommend staying here. If you’re looking for something in the city center, this is not for you, but if you’re looking for very affordable accommodations in a nice, safe area and are willing to travel a bit (10 minutes) to get to the heart of the city, then this is the spot for you.
Author: Diana Chen
Recently left my job as an attorney to pursue the work-from-anywhere/travel-everywhere life. I blog about traveling the world with a full time job, confronting your travel addiction, and pursuing your passions without going broke. Traveled to 21 countries on 4 continents since March 2017 and 48 countries total. Next big adventure is hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro in February 2018.
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