Blog - What makes Amsterdam a great destination for groups?
'Make it classy, elegant and chic' she said. Famous last words.
I went for naughty and nice, so the hen party started in the Netherlands, Amsterdam to be exact. With a flight time of only one hour and fifteen minutes from London Heathrow flying with British Airways we were there before you could say Red light District. And if you are only staying for a short break like we were, BA also offers a competitive hand baggage only fare. This is extremely cost effective especially against some of the low cost airlines. With a complimentary onboard snacks and refreshment service a couple of G&Ts went down nicely whilst plotting the activities for the hen over our weekend away…
On arrival into Amsterdam airport Schiphol the airport is teeming with couples looking for a break away, hen parties and stag do’s. Suddenly we were quickly ushered into a corner by a tall dark stranger wearing what seemed to be an official uniform, badge and ear piece. 'Come with me girls, you are looking for a taxi, yes? Then we have one waiting here for you'. He quickly marched us out the airport and into the unknown. Ok, we are all far from stupid, all have professional careers and would like to think fairly sensible, but I can’t help but think it’s the bunny ears, sashes and flashing glasses that have confirmed our naivety in this instance!. But nevertheless, as we don’t know any different (and we are two g&t’s down ... ok maybe a few more) we carelessly follow his lead.
We are stopped numerous times whilst walking out of the airport by what seems to be airport officials and suddenly I am pulled by one who begs me not to go with the tall dark stranger. The stranger continues in his native language, one that I cannot understand telling he five of us 'Airport charges double the fare; come with me I have new air conditioned cars just down here'. It’s at this point we suspect his insincerity and decide to make the executive decision to walk back to the original meeting point and follow everyone else.
We later found out that they were illegal rogue taxi runners who solicit you from inside the airport or near the exits that promise you a cheaper rate. On average the licensed taxis at the airport that have to pay a fee to work from there are losing 170 rides per day to this ongoing problem.
The standard metered fare from the airport into Amsterdam centre is approximately 45 euros. However there are local bus companies who can take you directly to your hotel for around 17.
So lesson learnt we arrive at our hotel 'Notting Hill' in West Amsterdam, a trendy urban hotel which was only 2.7 km from the famous Anne Frank House and two minutes from the nearest tram station. As soon as we walked up the steps we were greeted by a beautiful reception area which was luxurious, contemporary and had a feature wall to die for. Fresh mints and lemon water were all on display for our enjoyment. The rooms are truly beautiful. Modern, fresh, clean with a minimalist design and the odd dash of colour.
Obligatory photo shoot finished on the bridge overlooking the canals and it’s time to visit the red light district. Ok, so brace yourselves it’s not as bad as you think, a maze of alleys and small cobbled streets the “De Wallen” is the largest and well known red light district. The area is busy with tourists and rife with pick pockets so keep your eye on your belongings at all times. There is a strict ruling in Amsterdam that prohibits the use of cameras in the red light district which is heavily enforced. It’s an eye opener but I can’t help but notice the beauty in Amsterdam past the prostitution and the museums. The canals are beautiful each intertwining with each other around the city. Look out for the tilted houses, you can’t miss them. They are otherwise known as 'The dancing houses'.
The day leads on to the night where I had arranged a special meal at the well-known 'Supperclub' and the place was nothing less than stunning. It was an exciting food concept where you dine cross legged whilst sat on white sumptuous couches watching live entertainment it was pretty spectacular. Also a contortionist, and an amazing pole dancer who performed for us whilst we ate. Dinner was a five course set menu at 69 euros. The menu consisted of delights such as King crab with coconut, watermelon and passion fruit with edible flowers, Angus beef, pangsit of kimchee, sweet n sour vegetables, lotus root and bamboo shoots. Once your food ends the room becomes a high end super club with famous DJ’s and fashionable and elite locals.
To sum it up, Amsterdam has a vibe that never switches off, i's a place you can easily fall in love with.
If your customers fancy taking a break in Amsterdam over new year to enjoy the fireworks over Dam square or want to take advantage of the festivities throughout the city, BA offer direct flights from LHR into Amsterdam over the festive period with group fares starting at £74 plus taxes, fees and carrier imposed charges. Based on a minimum of 10 passengers and subject to availability. For more information contact Stacey on firstname.lastname@example.org