Depending on the city, Airbnb has become one of my new favourite options for finding accommodation.
You stay in the home of a local (they usually are not there except to give you the keys) so you end up with a much more genuine experience of the culture.
Many times you will find that your host will give you great advice on the area – where to eat or explore – that you wouldn’t have found on your own.
In Amsterdam, Leslie, Carolina and I set up camp for a long weekend at the Art House B&B on Zandstraat, right in the centre of the city, within the inner canal ring.
Turned out we made a great choice.
It was clean.
It was bright.
It had the right mix of eccentricity and convenient location.
It also had two lovely cats who made our weekend and who enjoyed our lavish attention.
The house is spacious and airy, a converted warehouse style building.
There are huge glass windows at the front.
The cats hang out downstairs and greet you when you leave for the day.
We were woken early each morning by the sound of church bells next door, which wasn’t ideal, but it got us up and moving pretty early!
Ray was a great host and gave us some suggestions on places to go.
In this case, the host lived there, but he stayed in a separate part of the house from where our rooms were.
And that was fine because it was a huge place!
He even brought up tea and some snacks one of the nights we were there.
He did play classical music loudly throughout the house all day, which could have been a bit much if we were there a lot, but we were mostly out and about.
The music added to that slightly eerie art house atmosphere.
The best part of the the experience was Ray’s eccentric art collection which he has gathered from a variety of places.
There were nods to all different religions – Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism and others.
That was mixed with erotic sculptures and other decor with an element of sexuality.
It had a modern feel with a gothic twist.
Some of the decor would have suited a medieval castle.
We walked up a winding staircase to get to our rooms.
All in all, it was a really fun place to stay – very different from anywhere I’ve stayed before and way more interesting, quirky and creative than a hotel.
I think all of us would agree that we’d stay there again.
Let me know your favourite place to stay in Amsterdam in a comment or if you have a great Airbnb recommendation in any other city!