This post is also available in: German
This houseboat honestly saved my day and made my week.
As you know, the weather in Amsterdam has been absolutely miserable with heavy winds and a lot of rain. After trudging through that wretched weather with luggage for half an hour to get from one accommodation to the other, having my umbrella maltreated and getting thoroughly drenched, my mood was taking a bit of a dive.
During the trip I had to stay indoors a lot more than I’d usually have chosen to and the prospects of spending another two days in a room – and a boat at that – wasn’t sending me into a frenzy either. It was either going to be a hit or miss.
But the Houseboat Alternatief turned out to be one of the most amazing hostels I’ve ever been to. Walking wet, disheveled and cold, I was immediately greeted by a warm fireplace in the corner and our amazing hostess. Joanne lives in the boat next door and explained where everything was and how it worked. She made me feel at home immediately. So at home, that I didn’t even feel my usual need to leave and explore more of this rainy city. I would have been happy to just spend my days on the boat.
I usually get extremely seasick whenever I’m on boats, and given the choice, I’d pick a plane over a ship any day. Therefore I was worried the movements of the houseboat would make me queasy. But I barely even noticed that I was on the water. There was no movement and no swashing sounds. In fact, the houseboat was perfectly still and I felt fine the entire time.
The Houseboat Alternatief has two bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with a double as well as a single bed. I only tested the bedroom with the double bed, which was amazing though. The whole room is filled out by the bed, which makes it tight but very cozy and everything you need is available. There are plugs and reading lights in the room and a closet to stow your belongings.
The Houseboat is very spacious. Additionally to the two bedrooms there is an open kitchen and living room with a TV, as well as a bathroom, a toilet, and a laundry room with a washing machine and a dryer. Everything is well stocked and clean. There were even two cold beers and some food in the fridge and cabinets, there was also fresh fruit on the table. This is amazing if you arrive at an inconvenient time or are just too exhausted from travelling to go shopping immediately.
Additionally to the stove, the houseboat also has central heating. Therefore the interior of the boat is always toasty, even in the dead of winter. For the lazy among us, there is also a dishwasher and the internet is fast and reliable.
Atmosphere and Fun Factor:
The atmosphere can only be described as both incredibly comfortable and cozy, as well as airy and spacious. There is a lot of room to spread out, but the whole place is just really comfy and chic. It was cool. And come on, the hostel is on a boat, so the fun factor is pretty damn high. If a boat alone doesn’t entertain you, the red-light district is only a short walk away.
Houseboat Hostel Alternatief is located on a peaceful and quiet canal and only a 10-15 minute walk from Amsterdam’s Central Station. If you don’t feel like walking, there is also a tram stop right next door and there are bikes available to use. Compared to other places right in the city centre, it is a bit out of the way, but this actually only bothered me a bit because of the pouring rain.
The hostess Joanne was incredibly friendly and helpful and is always available to answer questions of give good tips. She makes sure that everyone is comfortable.
The Houseboat Hostel Alternatief seems to be mostly suitable for couples, small groups and families. Families with kids will find the living room well stocked with toys, coloring pens and there is some other baby/children equipment around. I wouldn’t say it’s unsuitable for single travellers, but there aren’t really any possibilities to meet people and go out without a walk into the city centre.
For more information, visit Houseboat Hostel Alternatief’s Website: houseboathostel.com