Amsterdam is a city for the artists. From the old masters to modern-day hipsters, the creative-minded have always found the city to be a place to collaborate and socialise. Expertly designed hostels and budget hotels in Amsterdam are in abundance, reflecting the need for a space for artists while acknowledging their sometimes stretched wallets. Whether you are just passing through Amsterdam on an international trek or staying long-term on a personal journey, design-conscious but cheap hotels in Amsterdam can offer space for inspiration.
Price: Shared rooms start at €15 per night
One of the newest upscale hostels in Amsterdam, Generator Amsterdam offers travellers luxury at a discount. The building, once part of a university zoological department, combines the historical and the modern with amenities like the Auditorium - a lecture-hall-turned-bar which has kept its auditorium seating and repurposed quirky items left over from its school days. The Nescio Café gets visitors’ creative juices flowing with its locally-sourced menu and whimsical wall graphics created by local artists.
Choose to bunk with fellow travellers in shared rooms, or spend a little bit more to nab a view of the nearby Oosterpark in the Sky Suite, located at the very top of the hostel.
Price: Dormitories from €35 per night
Neighbourhood: Bos en Lommer & De Baarsjes
Designed with the artist in mind, WOW offers not only a place to stay but a community to join. Those who wish to experience the local art community of Amsterdam will appreciate WOW’s creative building, which houses art exhibitions and leads to the complex’s urban farm. Short-stay visitors mingle with artists-in-residence at WOW, allowing for a unique artistic experience. The hostel dormitories, boasting a bold primary-colour scheme, start at about €35 a night for a single bed. Two double rooms, featuring a view of the courtyard, are also available for those who want the community during the day but privacy at night.
Price: Private double rooms start around €100, but prices are lower for those willing to share their living space.
Neighbourhood: Nieuw West
Lively, busy and aimed at millennials, the Student Hotel in Amsterdam West offers the experience of student life for travellers. The minimalistic design carries throughout the rooms and the communal areas, even the complimentary gym. Students set up in the study and work areas, which are designed to minimise distraction but stimulate creative juices. The lounge and game areas are all about keeping the conversation going with bold colours and exciting décor.
Rooms are available for students as well as hotel and long-term guests, so the crowd is always mixed.
Price: Budget twin rooms (pictured) from around €86 per night
Neighbourhood: Oostelijke Eilanden
It’s right there in the name — this hotel is a cultural embassy. Lloyd Hotel, located in the Eastern Docklands, has gone through many transformations since it opened in 1920. It started its life as a hotel, then became a refugee centre, a juvenile detention centre, a prison and an artists’ studio.
It combined its past lives with its present to become a hotel that caters to all. The rooms, which start around €86 for a double room, are as unique as its history. Some feature exposed wooden beams mixed with modern art, while others embrace the hotel’s art deco roots. More than 40 artists designed the interior of the hotel, who were instructed to reflect the building’s history but embrace its future in their designs.
Price: Private doubles from €95 euros a night, dorms from €34.
If there were ever a place to be called a home away from home, it’s Cocomama. Designed to feel just like staying over at mom’s house — with plenty of strangers, of course— Cocomama bundles contemporary design with comfort in every nook and cranny. Each room has a traditional Dutch theme to evoke the history of the Netherlands in modern detail.
Surround yourself with the art of Tulips, Delfts Blue and Van Gogh (though quirkier Cheese or KLM themes are available for particularly creative travellers) in private double rooms or dormitories.
Price: Private cabins from €90 per night
Neighbourhood: De Plantage
A sister hotel to Cocomama, Ecomama combines conscious living with luxury. Each aspect of the hotel is designed with sustainability and connectedness in mind, with a green roof, water-saving system and commitment to repurposing everything it can. The rooms, stunning in their simplicity, seek to provide “just enough” of the basic amenities to encourage travellers to share spaces and connect with each other.
The communal areas evoke the down-to-earth spirit of the hostel, even featuring a real tepee for quiet conversation or a brainstorming session. Private cabins — advertised honestly as “not for everyone” — cost approximately €90 euro, but prices go as high as €150 for the more luxurious double superior room.
Price: Private rooms start at €70 a night, while a single bed can cost just €17
Neighbourhood: Noordelijke IJ-oever
Located in Amsterdam Noord, ClinkNOORD occupies the space where a 1920s laboratory once stood. The rooms are sparse, but it’s in the communal areas that the artistic design of ClinkNOORD comes through. Walk along the bright yellow staircase and path to the lounge area, which is decorated with a contrasting turquoise that stimulates the mind. The hostel has installed art features in and around the hostel to create conversations. A grand stained glass window looks over a staircase, while industrial knobs and pipes line a nearby wall. Outside, a picnic table painted in the style of Mondrian provides a place for likeminded creatives to eat and socialise.
Price: Doubles sleeping spaces from €75 per night
Neighbourhood: De Baarsjes
Every room at the Hotel Not Hotel is an adventure. Designed and created by a group of designers from the Eindhoven Design Academy, the rooms are unique not just in their interior, but their entrance, location and overall idea. Spend a night in a transformed tram cart in the middle of the busy communal space or hide behind a secret bookcase. Wherever you’re located in the hostel, all guests are invited to indulge at Kevin Bacon (the bar, not the actor). Some rooms, starting at €75 a night, are intended to provide as much interaction as possible with fellow travellers, while others let you maintain much-needed privacy.
Price: 'Miss Petite' economy rooms from €70 per night
Volkshotel, located in Amsterdam East, is truly for all people. Standard rooms range from the aptly named Miss Petite to the Mrs. Massive and everything in between. The rooms’ wood, glass and concrete décor acknowledges the building’s former history as a newspaper headquarters while keeping a streamlined, modern design. Those with a larger budget may try out one of the nine Special Rooms, each specifically designed with concepts such as a Japanese spa or a cabin in the woods. Wherever you want to go, you can find it at Volkshotel. On the roof, sweat out your troubles in the barrel-shaped sauna with a view of the city or party until sunrise in the basement bar, Doka. Miss Petite is the most economical choice at approximately €70 a night, while the Special Rooms start at €149.
Price: Doubles from €89 per night
With a bed so big it can fit even the tallest of Dutch citizens, the citizenM aims for comfort. And while the rooms are in fact very comfortable with their big beds, soothing rain shower and touchscreen controls for pretty much everything, they’re not for guests to hide away in. Instead the communal spaces are designed more like a living room than a lobby, with plush couches and electronics for guests to enjoy together. The eating area looks just like home too, with a kitchen that serves up breakfast individually and transforms in the evening to offer cocktails. CitizenM guests can find rooms that start at €89.Not quite the design hostel you’re looking for? Check out even more places to stay in Amsterdam.