Beyond The Red Light District: Hyatt Regency Amsterdam With Our 5 Year Old Daughter

My wife, daughter and I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam for the first week of the year. Combined with business class awards on KLM’s non-stop from Austin and back, this was a great way to spend a week of an extended Christmas break.

The Hyatt Regency Amsterdam isn’t as flash as the Andaz, and I would normally prefer the Andaz aesthetic, but standard suites at the Regency are larger and staying with my wife and daughter I prefer the extra room so we picked the Hyatt Regency. Both had availability when I booked.

The Regency is a category 5 hotel, costing 17,000 – 23,000 points per night for a standard room. The hotel was pricing at the high end of the range even though rates were in the low $200s when I booked (they went up as the stay got closer). I choose to book with cash, and applied a confirmed suite upgrade at booking.

We arrived at the hotel around 11 a.m. That’s before check-in time, but Hyatt offers priority early check-in to Globalists. If there’s a room available, they should give it to you, and if there’s not they should give you the first one in your room category that opens up.

Our suite wasn’t ready. The previous guest had checked out, but it hadn’t yet been cleaned. They didn’t have an estimate of when that might happen. 1 p.m.? 2 p.m.?

I did ask about further upgrades. This hotel is known for being generous with upgrading Globalists to suites and even into premium suites. I’ve seen plenty of reports of elites being given a Presidential suite here. Unfortunately nothing was available and I confirmed this when testing out a revenue booking. The agent at the desk did mention that a Regency Executive Suite (about 50 square feet larger) would be available for a portion of the stay if I didn’t mind changing rooms? The hotel was nearly sold out.

Changing rooms didn’t seem worthwhile, and that room wasn’t available yet anyway. Not wanting to leave our bags and go off for a few hours – I preferred that we take a nap for a couple of hours early to be refreshed and on local time – I asked if they might be able to make a day use standard room available while we waited for our suite?

The agent at the desk told me, “Sure – just go to and book it.” Ok, that wasn’t quite what I had in mind, not least of which because (cost aside) there’s no good way to actually do this. I asked the agent if she wouldn’t mind showing me how this was possible, and she went in back to speak to a manager, and returned offering me a standard room to use until our suite was ready – complimentary.

Temporary Room

We brought our bags up to the temporary room and there were a couple of things striking about it. First, it was small. I was grateful we’d secured a suite. Second was the steps up from the entryway into the room. That was kind of cool but also inconvenient, and I just knew that if we were staying in that room for six nights that one of us would wind up tripping.

For a few hours, though, it was perfect. My wife took a short nap. I ordered my daughter a pizza from room service, since she’d slept through meal service on the plane. And we relaxed until our room was ready.

Regency Suite King

A couple of hours later a phone call came that our suite was ready. My wife was napping, and I let the front desk know we’d come down for the key in an hour or so.

After awhile, my daughter and I went down to pick up the key, and check out our suite, before we moved our belongings to the new room. We also checked out the club lounge because they’d keyed the temporary room for second floor access as well.

She accompanied me while I grabbed some photos of the new room. She was excited to see it! We also stopped by the club lounge so she could have a juice, and I could bring my wife a coffee. Then we all grabbed our stuff and moved it to the fifth floor suite.

The basic suite was actually perfect for us. It didn’t feel small at all. There was room for a rollaway bed next to the window in the living room, where it was out of the way and didn’t require moving furniture around. Just like at the Hyatt Regency in London several weeks earlier it did take several calls to get the bed delivered, however.

The entryway had a coffee setup and complimentary bottles of water, which were replenished at turndown daily.

There was also a box of snacks with a welcome note, and a welcome letter detailing elite benefits like club lounge offerings, restaurant breakfast, and late check-out.

Here’s the living room of the suite:

The room had a bit of an angled canal view, which was nice.

And the bedroom:

This was the bathroom:

And the walk-in closet:

Club Lounge

The club lounge at this hotel is strange. It is large, bright and beautiful – and completely deserted for most of the day.

Breakfast offerings are meager, but anyone with access to the club receives complimentary breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant. I liked going up to the club in the morning for to go coffees – and for a spekkoek (Indonesian layer cake) which was fantastic.

Sometimes there was a staff member at the desk when you entered. Often there wasn’t. But they just ignored you as you walked in, or acknowledged you with a smile. Access to guest floors is controlled by key card, and you needed to have your key programmed to give you access to the second floor where the club lounge is located. Anyone staying on that floor has access. We were on the fifth floor, but our Globalist status gave us club lounge (and breakfast).

In the evenings there was a more substantial spread, and that’s the only time that there were any or more than one or two other people in the lounge. Even then it never got too busy.

Restaurant Breakfast

Amsterdam is probably the best breakfast or brunch city in Europe, so it isn’t surprising that the hotel’s breakfast offering is quite good. You can order both off of a menu and choose items from their buffet. Premium coffees were included, and they never brought us a bill to sign.

Mama Makan is the hotel’s Indonesian restaurant, though there were only a few Indonesian items at breakfast. I never tried the restaurant for dinner, though I’d planned to, since Indonesian food in the Netherlands can be quite good – The Dutch East Indies Company began trading in Indonesia and later colonized it as the Dutch East Indies, with Indonesia under Dutch rule for over three centuries until 1949.

Public Spaces

Public spaces in the hotel were nice, and comfortable, though a bit dark for my tastes.

It’s important to understand that while this hotel is generally nice and upscale, the guests are very much a mixed bag.

Eating And Doing Around Amsterdam

Weather in Amsterdam was generally in the low 50s for a high each day, and stayed in the 40s at night. Most days it rained, at least somewhat. But it was chilly back home while we were there. It wasn’t busy. And we had a great time.

There’s plenty to see and do, like the Van Goh Museum, Rembrandt House, and Anne Frank House. My daughter especially loved the NEMO science museum and microbe museum. There were playgrounds for when it wasn’t raining. And the food was generally really good.

When we first arrived we booked a cruise around the canals, to have a commitment for the evening. We wanted to see the holiday light shows, and wanted to make sure we didn’t give into temptation and go to bed too early!

We also took in a circus, which was phenomenal in an old European theater. It didn’t matter that the narration was all in Dutch. The performers were absolutely world class. Most impressive, and underappreciative was the woman who supported a man that performed feats with little support – because she was the support. When she laid down on a balance beam, and he placed a ladder on her, she had to hold both him and the ladder perfectly still with her body and he did tricks. Unbelievable strength.

Among the more archetypal dishes in Amsterdam is bitterballen and croquettes, and boy they’re addicting.

Surinamese-Chinese food is a thing here, and much better than you’d imagine (or as good as you’d imagine).

Of course there’s what Amsterdam is known for, even though locals will immediately remind you that things aren’t as permissive as reputed (and that much of the U.S. has become far more permissive).

Maybe some things are a little too influenced by that, even the food?

And fish! Pickled fish!

Meanwhile, what frequent flyer doesn’t love stroopwafels, but boy they are so much better when they are freshly made and not packaged.

And then of course we brunch.

And cheers.

The canals, and the homes beside them, are just so picturesque.

I really enjoyed Theater of Fish one night for dinner, although I wouldn’t call the service good. You are shown the fish that’s available for the evening to pick your meals. Then you move on to consult on wine and cocktails before being seated, including an opportunity to taste anything you’re considering.

All in all it was a perfect way to spend a week – one overnight flight and six nights of hotel – during my daughter’s extended school break.. to do something different, mix things up, all while a non-stop flight from home in Austin thanks to Flying Blue and with a confirmed suite at booking thanks to World of Hyatt.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What ? You didn’t go for a brisk swim in the canal in January ? You missed the highlight of the season .

  2. Totally understand wanting the confirmed suite upgrade, but the Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam is truly exceptional. Definitely worth the points next time!

  3. Thank you, Gary! This is the kind of content that I want to see. Not politics. I view the GH as a possibility. We have stayed at the Radisson Blu, on our last 3 trips. Generally it is very high quality hotel and much better than most Radissons. But time for a change.

  4. Seemed like a great trip! Thanks for sharing the experience, pictures and helping to inspire 🙂

  5. On this trip did you find any Indonesian restaurants which you would recommend? And if so, I’m curious what menu items you all ordered and what was the takeaway each of you had from what was ordered.

  6. Thanks for an excellent review. This looks like a really good Regency, all things considered. I’ll definitely have to try staying here next time I return to Amsterdam.

    I’ve had the same issue at numerous Hyatt properties lately when requesting extra towels or a rollaway bed or anything from housekeeping. It often takes many calls and sometimes I end up going to the front desk myself. Sometimes it’s understandable: recently, an ice storm ripped through our city leaving tens of thousands without power for days, and with everyone flocking to the hotels, I can imagine housekeeping being overwhelmed. But I also see it often when the hotel is not that busy. It’s clearly a combination of Hyatt cutting housekeeping staff and difficulties hiring back after COVID at higher rates. Still, it can be frustrating. Does anyone have a good strategy on how to manage this? By the third or fourth call, I start to fell like I’m being a PITA.

    Also, side note – I think you meant to say the woman at the circus was underappreciated, not underappreciative. (Though wouldn’t surprise me if it was both!)

  7. Cahn’t make this stuff up…

    @scott: waldorf sucks in Amsterdam.

    — Issac jones

    No one in their right mind or who knows the first thing about historic WA Amsterdam (look it up because you’ve clearly never stayed there) would make such an ignorant statement. Inform yourself next time before commenting to avoid making a fool of yourself…

  8. I wonder how many people are in 2024, really associate Amsterdam immediately with “the red light district”, with all the other wonderful things, that the city has to offer. Maybe it’s an American thing.

  9. Given that according WoH T&C (quoted verbatim):

    d) Club Lounge Access/Breakfast Benefit. When staying at a participating hotel or resort that has a Club lounge, Globalists will receive access to the Club lounge. When staying at a participating hotel or resort that does not have a Club lounge (or if Club lounge is closed), Globalists will receive daily complimentary full breakfast

    or according to the program’s succinct and explanatory Overview of the benefit

    Club Access or Breakfast
    Relax in the Club lounge with continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres daily. Or, enjoy complimentary full breakfast daily for each registered guest (up to 2 adults and 2 children) at participating Hyatt hotels and resorts without a Club lounge.

    I am surprised that @Gary was allowed to have full restaurant breakfast at this property that has a club lounge. It would seem that while Hyatt promises a full restaurant breakfast onlywhen there’s not a club lounge, overseas some Hyatt hotels do go above and beyond and offer Globalists a full hot restaurant breakfast even when there is a club lounge.

    That is in contrast to Hilton hotels overseas where the default is for HH Gold and Diamond members to receive daily complimentary full hot breakfast in the hotel restaurant, with the option to have continental breakfast in the exec lounge at hotels that have one…

  10. Wow… what a needy person you are/were.

    Tip for first-time visitors: If you want to ‘experience’ Netherlands (or just A’dam) you won’t find that staying in exclusive American-owned hotels.

  11. I would have liked to hear your opinion of how easy it was to get around. I liked the Andaz location, but the HR location looks a little isolated.

  12. @DCS – this hotel offers full restaurant breakfast to all guests with club access, because they prefer not to offer a full qualifying breakfast in the club lounge.

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