My Dorm in Amsterdam – The Student Hotel Amsterdam City: An Honest Review

In this post I want to do I big review on my semester stay at The Student Hotel Amsterdam Center. As you might already guess, this post will be super loooong and picture-heavy. Anyway, I hope I can help out anyone who is looking for accommodation in Amsterdam!

Why not a regular dorm?

First of all, I don’t do regular. That being said, I just wanted to have a nice place to live in for my (almost) half a year abroad since I had been working part-time next to studying for almost 3 years, still living at home to save money. I really did not want to stay at any run-down dorm. I also do not like the fact that most dorms require you to share bathrooms etc. I don’t mind sharing a kitchen, but bathrooms are a very private space to me. The Student Hotel offers a private bathroom for each room.

Aside from that, the AUAS offers a service for signing you up for a dorm, but they don’t guarantee that you will get a room. The Student Hotel, on the other hand, instantly confirms your booking.

Update after my semester abroad: Biggest mistake ever!! Stay at Prinsengracht or Plantage Muidergracht housing organized through the university if you can! The housing corporation is called DeKey.

The Booking Process

The booking process was super easy and quick. It’s just like booking a hotel online, you fill in your data and get an instant confirmation. Be sure to book as soon as they are open for bookings though! I even had myself put on the notification list, so that I would not miss out. I really recommend you book the day this mail is sent out! Just mail them saying you would like to be put on the mailing list.

The Rooms

There’s different room types to choose from, I opted for the Standard Plus, which was the cheaper alternative. I think I booked the morning after the notification mail for the opening of the booking was sent out and I only had two options to choose from left. Amsterdam is a hell of a town when it comes to a lack of living space!

Anyway, my room is really small but the way it is laid out and the arrangement of the furniture really makes the most out of the limited space. I have my own bathroom and even a TV in my room. The whole facility is really clean and modern so I really can’t complain about anything when it comes to my dorm.

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Laundry

We have a seperate laundry room, but the thing is: 5 washers and 5 dryers don’t really do the job for 200+ students and additional hotel guests. Aside from that, a process of washing and drying is 5€ in total, which honestly is a lot. I guess they just know students will have to do their laundry at some point and they take advantage of the situation. Sucks, but that’s what it is.

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Laundry today or naked tomorrow!
The Kitchen

Honestly, the kitchen looks a lot better than it really is. I mean it’s ok but nothing more than that. The appliances are kind of meh and we don’t even have a proper seating area, except for a small table with four chairs.

  • The kitchen is thoroughly cleaned once a month, but every Monday the countertops are cleaned.
  • There’s a small closet in the back that has some cleaning stuff and a vacuum, which can be used for the rooms.

Update: So, the kitchen has proven to be a major disappointment. The fact that we only have 4 proper chairs for 12 people on one floor speaks for itself. Also, my floormates were not to keen on hygiene and frequently left their stuff in the sink or dishwasher. At one point someone even put regular soap in the dishwasher and the whole place turned into a bubble bath. Honestly, I don’t think that’s a rookie mistake, at an average age of 20 that’s just plain stupidity.

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I got the kitchen starter pack because I didn’t want to spend extra money at HEMA or IKEA and for about 50€ it was a good deal. The items are ok but also, that’s all there is to it.

Update: Ok, it really wasn’t worth the money. The pot was okay, but I never even used the pan and they only give you one fork… Decide for yourself whether that is really worth 45€.

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The Service

I emailed them a lot before I arrived and I always received answers quickly. They are really friendly and give you a lot of useful information.

I had a rather big problem though when I moved in that I didn’t even realize until day two: I didn’t have any hot water in my room! Anyway, they fixed it in a day and I was glad this issue could be solved so quickly.

I had some more minor issues after this incident (my mailbox key not arriving for two weeks, my shower drain got clogged up quickly…) that I think really should not be happening considering the amount of money you pay. After all, it was just some little things, but after all these years they should have gotten a hold of them!

Update April 2019: Ok, the maintenance service is fast and helpful but there’s certain things that should really not happen when you pay 1000€ in rent.

  • My key didn’t open up my room at some point and and also started weird when calling the elevator (and you have to use the key to get into any room at TSH).
  • Then, the kitchen lock stopped working and we couldn’t get into the kitchen for a full day… after the night of the TSH party! Can you imagine a bunch of hungover students starving cause they can’t get into the kitchen?! It was honestly so ridiculous, it took them a day to just remove the lock. They put on a new one and… my key didn’t open the kitchen anymore. I had to walk downstairs twice to have it rebooted but it didn’t help. They just left the lock opened afterwards. Honestly, this should not be happening.

Update June 2019: The service at the reception sucks ass. Honestly, the people working there do not even greet you. They blocked the water for a day to repair something… which obviously didn’t work out as planned cause the water in my room still wasn’t working as it should have been. They didn’t even announce the cleaning day on the app, the guy was knocking on my door and I was lucky to notice and tell him to come back later. They only clean empty surfaces, so even if you juts have a pack of tissues on your desk, they won’t clean it! Thank God I noticed and put everything away.

Also, as I left a little earlier than my rent contract ends, I asked them about giving my room to a friend of mine. The thing is people search for others who look for rooms or offer them on the app all the time, so I figured this wouldn’t be an issue. I thought! They let another girl from my floor have her room taken over by someone else simply because it was for a full month. I would have needed them to do the same for three weeks and they didn’t give me permission.

Location

The location of The Student Hotel Amsterdam Central is in fact very central. The Metrostation Wibautstraat is literally in front of the Student Hotel and there’s a Albert Heijn grocery store just across the street.

Aside from that, the area surrounding the Student Hotel is rather calm and I have the feeling that only locals really go here. I hardly ever see any tourists around, the only people from abroad are us students!

There are also some great restaurants and bars in the area, for example:

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Community

The community at the Student Hotel is very international! This was one of the main points why I wanted to stay here. The first few days after I had moved in were kind of weird though, as I didn’t see a lot of people on my floor or in the kitchen. However, after about one week everyone started settling in and making it their home for the semester. We made a WhatsApp group and often chat in the kitchen.

Update June 2019: Ok, the fact taht they picture TSH as a perfect dorm online kind of lured my into thinking that a lot would happen at that dorm. I was soooo wrong. There was only one kitchen that hosted parties sometimes, but it’s nothing like what they are trying to sell to people.

The Bikes

The bikes that come with the semester package are honestly the best part of it. First of all, they are almost brand new and look super cool! Secondly, you get to rent them for free and they come with two locks that can only be opened and closed by using the TSH app. Apparently they are designed by Van Moof and are almost indestructible. The seat is made out of some type of special material, as it repels water – which is a blessing in rainy Amsterdam.

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Mijn fiets!
Pro and Con about The Student Hotel Amsterdam City

Pro

  • The rooms are super nice and have everything you need
  • Each room has a bathroom, which is new and clean
  • Each room has aircon
  • the bikes are very well-maintained and free of charge
  • the laundry works very well and doesn’t damage your clothes
  • There’s always someone at the lobby, even if you return at 4am after a night out
  • The neighborhood is really cool and very central.
  • The metro stops right across the building.
  • Albert Heijn and Gall & Gall are also right across the street.

Con

  • The community coaches don’t do anything, they really just intervene when there’s severe issues (like not being able to enter the kitchen)
  • Generally, the service at the front desk was not helpful, I often had to insist on something being done… like just checking the mail for any orders of mines
  • I never got the email notifications when a package for me arrived at the lobby. When I asked for it, because I had already seen it had arrived on the Amazon tracking, the blonde girl at the reception just said she didn’t have anything for me and I had to ask her TWICE to check in the back. It was there.
  • The keys often just didn’t work, which sucks a lot. Image not being able to open your room when you carry something heavy or the garbage station not opening when it’s super cold outside.
The Final Verdict – Is it worth the money?

No. I really don’t think so. The amount of money you pay just does not justify the additional costs and the mess of a kitchen. Here’s more reasons:

  • You don’t have your own bike, you pick a different one each time you rent it. And no keys or anything like that for the locks – it only works using the buggy app…
  • The laundry is too expensive and takes too long. 5€ for one round of washing and drying is just way too high. Aside from that there’s only like five washers and five dryers for around 200 students and another 100 hotel guests… During the busy season I frequently found my laundry taken out the dryer/washer and put in front of it because someone wanted to use the washer so bad. The app has a timer function to remind you to pick it up but it never worked.
  • The community guides are a big joke, they are basically just hotel clerks. I only saw my community guide once during an initial meeting in February or so. They never took care of any issues happening on our floor.
  • There were a couple of technical issues too: my room wasn’t ready yet when I moved in so I had to stay in the hotel part for two nights which cost an additional 130€, when I got my room I only had cold water, they test fire alarms during certain days, my key didn’t open up my room at one point… decide for yourself wether that’s really worth the 1000€ a month.
  • Honestly, the blonde girl with the drawn-on eyebrows at the reception (I hope she reads this or gets fired soon!!!) … what is your problem? She never greeted me, she never does anything you ask her for unless you ask her three times and never even says a word! I have never encountered a lobby-worker with such low motivation in my entire life. I don’t know whether they don’t pay her enough or maybe she seriously has a mental illness but I am not paying 1000€ a month to experience her horrible service. Seriously, I am not someone who asks to speak to the manager but I think by the end of my stay I will ask for her name and write a letter of complaint.

 

So, this was my review of my stay at the Student Hotel Amsterdam Center! I hope it was helpful to some of you, and I kind of hope it makes the Student Hotel realize how marketing is not the only thing they should focus on.

I still loved my time here in Amsterdam, but I honestly wish I would have just opted for a regular dorm organized through the university.

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