Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Amsterdam. How you give me delicious opportunities for accommodation to stay in your canal strewn streets full of charming bikers dodging rattling trams.
In the middle of December 2013, I found myself in the capital of Netherlands in the throes of the Light Festival that sparkled Amsterdam in its eclectic beauty. I was here on the #KLMSchiphol24 Project and I needed a place to rest my head in a luxury hostel. But how could I find one? I checked on to Hostelworld’s top ten luxury hostels guide and found the Cocomama listed within to represent the Netherlands.
With rave reviews online for this new boutique hostel, Cocomama lies in the centre of Amsterdam and boasts that it used to be once Amsterdam’s most famous brothel now turned into a Monumental Building. Stop right there. The advert had me. I’m going straight there. Bring on Cocomama!
As I got off the Number 4 tram (taking ten minutes from Amsterdam’s Central Station) on Westeinde, my biggest first impression was how easy to get to Cocomama. Only backtracking slightly from where the tram stopped on the same street, the building surprised you to be close by with its nondescript front building with an imposing door. As I was late at 9.30pm, I rang the doorbell and heard the key groan from turning in its lock from within. The heavy door opened and I was astounded to receive such an enthusiastic greeting from one of their staff…possibly the best yet!
Checking in was swift and the receptionist showed me up the swirling staircase to my 2 bed dorm room. I was impressed how the room was laid out in mezzanines offering the solo traveller some privacy on their own ‘floor’. She then left me to get acquainted with the room and the rest of the hostel.
There was thing that left me puzzled. This was a boutique hostel. I felt the walls were pretty bare and almost whitewashed. The doorways had paint peeling off and it did feel slightly cold. But perhaps that was the character of the hostel as intended.
Staff and Facilities
For the rest of the evening, the staff mingled with the visitors in their lounge on the bottom floor. Giving me a tour of the hostel, I was stoked to find a lounge/kitchen that you feel at home in rather than the canteen style places. With computer games, DVDs and sound systems available to everyone, I knew I would be able to relax fully. Before long, I would be chatting with the other visitors over free coffee, tea and milk provided. There was an honesty box for any purchases for beer and other drinks in their fridge.
A fully comprehensive guide display to Amsterdam was on hand and the staff in the evening was willing to answer any questions you may have.
In all, the living spaces of Cocomama, you could just treat if you were at home.
However, the next morning when I had to check out early to get back to my work, the situation was a different story. Ready at 8am, I was not impressed to find a sign at reception saying that it would not be open until 9am. What happens if there were arriving visitors from the early morning flights or buses? There was a phone number you could ring to get attention. Two thoughts crossed my mind, what if the visitor doesn’t have a mobile phone to use internationally and this is really not at all deaf-friendly. This put me off tremendously and at least reception should be open from 7am. As a result, I had to cope with ringing a number and be connected to a very sleepy and irritated staff who obviously just been woken up by it. I was unable to hear what the staff was saying and she can to come down to sort me out. I simply wanted to know where to leave my room keys as I didn’t want to leave them plainly on the desk in case someone breaks in and robs the other visitor in my room. Irritated, she waved at me to leave them on the desk and stomped back upstairs to bed without bidding me a good day. This, I was not impressed with at all and I left with a bad impression.
Breakfast and Location
I didn’t take advantage of the breakfast that you can easily help yourself to in the kitchen/lounge downstairs as I had to leave early but they did look like a yummy selection to have.
As I mentioned earlier, the location of Cocomama is very convenient connected on two frequent tram routes from Central Station (10 mins away). Situated on a main road, you do feel safe and it’s within walking distance to many of the main sights in Amsterdam although it’s best to walk during the day.
Room and Bathroom
I was very pleased with the space in my room where I could place any of my luggage anywhere. There are lockers available should you wish to store your valuables but remember to bring a padlock with you. The bed is a dream. With ironed quilt covers over big quilts, you do feel like you are tucking up in your bed and I slept uninterrupted. The view outside of the window of the main road shows a busy street with the quaint trams rolling by and definitely a taste of Amsterdam local life. You do have your personal lamp to your bed and there are plenty of power points to charge up your electronics.
However, I was a little disappointed by the character of the room it is mentioned in the guide that each room pays homage to a Dutch side of life. There was only a picture amidst the white-washed walls and it did feel decidedly empty. However, saying that, it was a comfy and private room that I did enjoy.
The en-suite bathroom was excellent and the walk in shower was immensely powerful so I enjoyed having more than three showers in there! The little things such as their unique hand-washing soap is brilliant and really gives a bit of uniqueness to the bathrooms.
The wi-fi was extremely brilliant and I’ve had no complaints. You can receive the signal everywhere in the hostel.
My verdict would have to be two stars out of five. I did enjoy my sleep and all my accommodation needs were met. However, I did feel indifferent to the hostel as I spent most of my stay wondering why I felt this way and couldn’t put my finger on it until I realised it was the lack of character in Cocomama. I would have given this three stars if it wasn’t for the bad treatment I received in the morning after and also how deaf unfriendly it was as well.
However, the bed was amazing, the wifi brilliant and the welcome good. Cocomama will need to improve on their decor and also ensure the morning routine is welcoming.
Would I come back to Cocomama? Regrettably, no.
If you want to know more about Cocomama Boutique Hostel, Amsterdam, here are their details:
Address: Westeinde 18, 1017 ZP Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Phone Number: +31206 272 454