image ClinkNoord: A Hostel Run Like a Hotel

I typically do quite a bit of research on the accommodations of where I choose to stay & ClinkNoord was no exception. The fact that they have not one, but two different locations in Europe looked very promising.

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

When choosing a Hostel these are the things I look for:
  1. Reviews on 3 different sites: Booking.com, TripAdvisor, HostelWorld
  2. Read several reviews on each site (typically 5-6)
  3. Pay particular attention to the cleanliness rating, anything below 2-3 points from the highest score, knocks it off my list as a potential place to stay. I had that one bad experience with bed bugs and still have scars.
  4. Do they have free Wifi and how reliable is it – this is very important, not only so I can communicate and edit material for my blog, but also plan the trip and last-minute changes if there is inclement weather or an emergency at home.
  5. Breakfast – European travel can get quite costly in some areas so I love me a good solid breakfast that doesn’t cost more than 6-7 Euros
  6. Activities: if there is inclement weather, do they have things to make my stay enjoyable still

I’m happy to say that ClinkNoord passed this first test with flying colors. So I booked a stay with them in a 4-bed dormitory room with a private shower and bathroom. I find the 4-bed dormitories are quieter for me. Being a very light sleeper and the people who stay in said 4-bed dormitories often tend to be so as well, they are quieter and more respectful when coming in late at night. I would be staying at Clink Hostels Amsterdam location (their other location is in King’s Cross in London–also a must visit for me).

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

The Greeting:

When I arrived at ClinkNoord, I had been kept awake by the dreaded screaming child the entire flight to Amsterdam (luckily it was a non-stop flight). I was grumpy, tired, and my 2 bags felt like I was carrying 5,000lbs. I figured I would be turned away and told the room wasn’t ready yet as it was only 9am.

I approached the counter with reluctance, promptly greeted with a warm contagious smile and told that they think they had a room ready for me right then…..at 9AM…..WHAT!!!! That never happens, even in the biggest Hotel chains! I told the receptionist I felt like crawling over the desk and hugging her. I even was able to get a bottom bunk! OMG! I can’t tell you what a relief it was to walk right in and get a little bit of shut eye & Wifi to tell my family I arrived safely.

Traveler Tip: Wifi here is free and very reliable, it was very useful during my stay in Amsterdam.

I was never so grateful to lay down for 2 hours. After I awoke I promptly started exploring the city, the staff were so friendly, and gave me recommendations on where they liked to visit and explore. Their recommendations were different than what a hotel concierge would give, it felt like I was talking to a long time friend that was giving me the inside scoop on the city.

The room:

4 dormitory bed at ClinkNoord 4 dormitory bed at ClinkNoord

There is an elevator to all levels of the building so getting to my room with my baggage was no trouble. I found my room easily with signs colorfully displayed on all of the walls. There are ART PIECES EVERYWHERE in this place! Being an artist myself, this made me smile from ear to ear despite my fatigue.

Upon entering the room I noticed how clean it was, the crisp bed sheets were placed on my pillow, the bedspread neatly folded – hooks on the side of the bed for a towel or a coat. It was also very quiet…..HEAVEN! I noticed there were two other beds that were made, of the 4 that were in the room. There is always a sense of excitement when I come to Hostels because I truly never know who I will meet. I often meet those who are adventurers, like myself, who regale me of their travel tales and what to see when visiting their home countries. This is one of the main reasons I LOVE to stay in Hostels, to meet people & to have activities to participate in available in order to do so.

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

Upon further exploration of my room, I was very pleased to see a mat for the shower, towels for each bed, soap in the bathroom (which was a separate area from the shower), as well as small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. In my sleep-deprived state, I actually questioned if I was staying in a Hostel or in a Hotel….but no my friends, this is a Hostel fit for even the pickiest of people.

I really loved that the bathroom was separate from the shower room & both rooms had doors that could lock as well as lighting and an exhaust fan. When you stay in a hostel with 4 other women in the same room things can get a little dicey with getting ready for the day. With my dorm being filled to capacity during my stay, there were no issues with access to the bathroom, nor the shower.

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

I promptly inspected and made up the bed. In doing so I discovered some very nice amenities. Each bunk bed has a power strip at the head of the bed, with a personal reading light, an electric plug, a shelf above the power strip for glasses/contacts or other paraphernalia you may like to keep within reach at night. If you lay down on the bed, each bed has a decorative piece of wood that shields you a little more from both ambient light and light that may come from the neighboring bunk beds.

To get electricity in the room, you must insert your card into the slot near the door and keep it there. This is not a problem for me, but I also leave quite early every morning to go and explore. When arriving back to the room I noticed that in removing the card it also turns off the heat to the room. Each room has it’s own thermostat equipped for both heating and Air Conditioning. After inserting the card to turn the heat on at the end of the day, it would take about 20 minutes for the room to warm up, but the heat and humidity produced from my nightly shower helped accelerate this process.ClinkNoord Travel Shop ClinkNoord Travel Shop

This Hostel was actually a former laboratory and was tastefully transformed into a vibrant place for travelers of all ages to catch some shut-eye during their adventures. This is why most rooms have their own thermostats and the windows don’t open. For those who like to do laundry in the room during your travels, the windows not opening could create an issue for you. There are, however, hooks in the bathroom to hang wet clothing, as well as laundry services available at the front desk for about 6 Euros (self-serve) – they also have the laundry soap available, which is included in that cost.

Security:

Each room has an electronic card reader outside the room with correlating cards to allow the guest inside. The facility has a security guard on duty as well as security cameras everywhere!

There are lockers in each room to secure any valuables you may want to have protected.

Traveler Tip: Be sure to bring your own padlock to each hostel you stay at. ClinkNoord does have Padlocks available for purchase should you forget your own.

I personally kept all my things unlocked and checked out with every item. It is a rule at Hostels, in general, of ‘don’t mess with my stuff and I won’t mess with your stuff’ — if they do, well then, put on your pranking thinking cap on and have at ’em 😉

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The facility itself closes its doors around 7pm every night. You can still access the building with a card scanner on the side with a buzzer for the front desk to be let in. I really appreciated this, as there was a new nightclub literally within a few hundred feet of the Hostel & it made me feel incredibly safe to have this feature.

If you arrive early you can utilize their locker system for your luggage which is right at the front desk. They have padlocks for sale or you can use your own.

Traveler tip: When staying in Hostels it is much easier to travel with and store luggage when only traveling with a backpack and a carry-on.

The Food & Bar:

The Zinc Bar at ClinkNoord is a where you order both your food and your drink. In the offseason, it is not hard to order things & the bartenders are very friendly. They have so many options to drink, including rose and red wine that is pretty decent (aka no headaches in the morning). In the summertime and the high season for tourism, the ZincBar is reportedly VERY BUSY and hard to get an order in.

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

As I am one who does not like the large crowds, in particular, I really enjoyed a little quiet time and some conversation with the bartender to learn his story (hint: it was the cutest love story – insert BIG aaawwee – to find out more about this story shoot me an email below).

The food from the Bar is typical Bar food – potato wedges, burgers etc… Nothing to write home to your mom about, but it is cheap and fills the belly after a long day of exploring the city.

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

Breakfast in the morning is one to rival any fancy hotel chain. There are both carnivorous and vegetarian options available. They have some of the best orange juice I have had in a very long time. Consuming a large breakfast in the morning saves on my budget. Breakfast at the Hostel is often so much cheaper than what you would find in a city. (Sample breakfast plates below).

Cleanliness:

Beyond the crisp and clean sheets for the bed, each blanket has a duvet over it, as well as fresh pillowcases. Towels were provided for the 4-bed dormitory, and are available on request for the other dormitories for a small fee.

There was no carpet in the bedrooms, which is great for sanitation, and I also saw someone cleaning the hallway floors the next day as well with one of those big machines you see going around at hospitals. The staff do not change your sheets daily, but you can ask to have your sheets changed daily at no extra cost. Extra sheet and blankets are also available for those who need it. When asked how often they change the mattress, the staff did not know at that time. I also asked them about Bed Bugs and I am happy to report there were no signs of them on my mattress, and housekeeping reported that there were no infestations within the building at any time. Carpetless rooms really help with this issue actually.

There is also extra shampoo and conditioner available at the front desk for those who need it.

Who Can Stay At A Hostel?

There really is no age limit to most Hostels, unless it says ‘Youth Hostel’. ClinkNoord actually had quite a range of people there. I saw whole families staying there, older, younger,  and the staff explained that there are no age limits to those who can stay. There are rules (for safety reasons) that if you bring children (younger than 16) you have to rent an entire room. If the children are under 18 they have to be accompanied by an adult and cannot stay in the 14-bed dormitory unless a parent is with them.

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

There are too many people (especially in the States) that do not realize that Hostels are for EVERYONE! The atmosphere is soooo fun to be in, the breakfasts are amazing, there are activities at night that can help really bond a family together. The best part is, this is a perfect way to save on the vacation budget, so you can do really incredible activities and visit destinations further away — because the money is going further.

ClinkNoord actually offers musicians a ‘stay for play‘. IF you perform 1-2 nights during your stay, you receive a free room and board (offers may vary).

The Staff:

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands There is artwork around every corner

The staff at ClinkNoord are incredibly kind, helpful and love to just chat with you and listen to your story. While interviewing them, one of the things that really struck me was when I asked how it was working for ClinkNoord. This staff member responded, “I will never forget when I first started working here, how nervous I was. The manager came up to me and told me that I shouldn’t be, because the most important thing while working at ClinkNoord for her, was to be myself. When my manager said that, I knew this was going to be a great job”.

What is the best time to stay in Amsterdam?

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

Amsterdam is beautiful all year round, with plenty of activities in each season. If you want to be outside, ride your bike through tulip fields and climb 12th-century Cathedrals to see the massive bells — well Spring & Summer are for you. If you like cooler weather and less crowded streets, museums & Christmas Lights – well then Fall and Winter are good for you. ClinkNoord’s offseason is from November to February, they do get incredibly busy almost every other time of year so be sure to book in advance. I personally stayed with them at the end of November and still found the area stunningly beautiful.

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

Festivals:

A good time to plan your trip to Amsterdam is around one of their many Festivals. When asking the staff at ClinkNoord they recommended: Festival of Lights, Amsterdam Music Festival, King’s Day, and the Gay Pride festival.

The city itself and virtually all surrounding cities to Amsterdam have amazing things to both see and be a witness to. Amsterdam is full of Art, Engineering feats, Culture and much much more. Stay tuned for my full review of Amsterdam, a City Guide, and I will also be offering my full itinerary with pricing I encountered at each juncture.

Activites at ClinkNoord:

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

There are so many activities at ClinkNoord, there is no way I could fit them all into this post. Some of the ones that I was able to attend (and even participate in) were Karaoke, Solo Traveler Meetup, Air Hockey, Foosball and much much more.

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

The activities change each night and all are listed on their website. If your day of sightseeing or walking has worn you out, well there is a reading Nook for you as well.

Other tidbits:

Gender for the rooms is based on self-identity gender. There is access to all parts of the building for wheelchairs. The staff at ClinkNoord do not expect to be tipped for their services. There are no rooms with views of the canal. The staff recycles everything they can and grocery stores will actually offer 25 cent euro for every plastic bottle that you bring back.

The Takeaway:

If you like to find amazing deals at incredible prices, then ClinkNoord is going to be your best bet while staying in Amsterdam. They literally have it all – a 3-minute ferry ride to the Central Train Station, Concerts, Karaoke, Games, Full Bar, Food, Fun, Bike Rentals, Amenities, Free Walking Tours, friendly staff, sleeping arrangement options, safety and most importantly, they help you craft an itinerary that ensures you make the most out of your stay & create those memories we all crave. I will personally be back to ClinkNoord as often as I can and was truly sad to leave the staff there, they were so kind in helping me celebrate my birthday while I was there.

This was one of the best Birthday’s I have ever had, and I owe that to the staff at ClinkNoord. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to review your Hostel and spend this special time at your facility and with your amazing employees.

Culture Trekking in the Netherlands

**This stay was in Collaboration with ClinkNoord for a discounted stay. Read my Full Disclosure for more information. All views are my own, as I value truth more than money**


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4 comments

  1. I watched the video and this hostel looks amazing! Defitively in my radar when going there 🙂

    • Perfect!! I really wanted to just live there because the staff were so fun and friendly 🙂

  2. Hi Janiel,

    Looks like checks across the board. Excellent. I am stunned by what hostels have to offer these days. Gone are the days where most hostels were OK, but a little dodgy. Seems like this niche upped their game over the years with all the options available, including Air BnB and even house sitting as a viable way to live rent free while circling the globe. I know how you felt too, on arriving to the place. Those long haul trips can drive you mad.

    Ryan

    • Thanks Ryan! Im glad you thought it was a detailed review 🙂 I hope it helped in choosing a Hostel, should you visit Amsterdam

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