After my retirement as a TV-director and a documentary-maker I am pleased to welcome travellers in our quiet guest house BB10 Amsterdam. We offer lodgings and provide all kinds of information on where to dine, drink or club, on what to see, what to avoid and what to visit. And, upon request, we'll give you an insight in the rich history of Amsterdam or its surprising surroundings. As I have travelled the world professionally for many years, I know exactly what is needed and appreciated by weary travelers in a strange city. Comfort.
Theo & my wife Béanke
1 • Do you have only one room to let ?
• Yes and no.
• Yes. We have only one double room on the groundfloor of our 1881 townhouse, available for two guests for a minimum of 2 nights.
The -easy accessible- Garden Room.
• No. We offer something even BETTER than a room, a complete and spacious, luxuriously-designed apartment occupying the entire 2nd floor of our house. The Deluxe Apartment is suited for two guests (or a third, who can sleep on the living room sofa), the apartment is available for a minimum of 7 nights.
2 • How about privacy ?
• Our guests' privacy -as well as our own- is paramount to us at BB10.
The Garden Room on the ground floor, as well as the DeLuxe Apartment upstairs have a private separate entrance, apart from ours. You will have your own set of keys to the front door and the apartment door. So you can come and go as you please, at any time.
But you are not alone, we, your hosts, or our caretaker, live on the same premises, only one (wooden) floor apart, and will be present most of the time and available for assistance, help, house keeping, information and directions.
• 'Privacy' means as well, consideration of others; not bothering one another with noise or nuisance. We won't be loud, slam doors, run the stairs, thump the floor, quarrel, or play music, radio or TV loudly, and we'll expect the same consideration from our guests, as a matter of course.
3 • Are we sharing the lounge/library on the ground floor with other guests ?
•No. Since we have only ONE guest room, the Garden Room, on the ground floor, our lounge/library is virtually at your and our disposal only. As is the veranda overlooking the back garden.
You might share it with us, your hosts, from time to time. Since we live in the same premises, one flight up, we make use of our office/library/storage on the ground floor and enjoy the porch/back garden for leisure occasionally.
4 • What does the room rate include ?
• The Garden Room rate is for either single or double occupancy (meaning a two adult guest maximum) Babies and toddlers may stay for free (as long as they fit in the baby cot we provide for free). In the low season, with single occupancy the basic/lowest rate is applied. Bed- and bathlinens, coffee, tea and taxes are included. As is the final cleaning, except if you've made a mess of the place, break or loose things, then we'll charge you an extra fee.
5 • Can we pay by credit card ?
•No. In general, we ask for a 20% deposit of the room/apartment rate to be made through PayPal at the time of the booking to guarantee your reservation. The balance of the sum should be paid in cash directly upon arrival. (If you don't like to carry too much cash; there is an ATM at the supermarket, just around the corner).
!!!: Credit cards are not popular nor are widely accepted in the Netherlands.
6 • Do you charge any extra costs ? Do you request security deposits ?
•Yes, there is ONE extra charge that will be added onto the flat room rate which is the PayPal-fee (the same amount as charged to us, the innkeepers).
LESS; if you book directly with us; meaning 1% of the total rent.
MORE; if you book through FlipKey/Tripadvisor Peace-of-Mind schedule, then they'll charge 3% of the total rent. If you use the latter, we will request that you reimburse us.
• No, but sometimes and if you want to bring a pet, we do ask for a security deposit.
In general, because our guests are so neat, we refrain from requesting prior deposits for lost keys, damaged properties, ruined or stolen belongings, since we expect our guests to report those mishaps and reimburse us accordingly -we might even forgive. However, officially, we can and do hold you liable for damage to, or theft of, our property including excessive cleaning costs incurred in order to return the room/apartment back to its previous condition.
7 • Do you serve breakfast ?
• No and yes.
• No, as we have found generally that most guests prefer to cater for themselves.
• Yes, upon prior request, we can offer breakfast to Garden Room guests on the ground floor for an additional 10 euros per day. Of course, the complimentary tea and coffee is always available free of charge
• No, the upstairs Deluxe Apartment is considered self-contained.
•Yes, as an extra service. Upon prior request and if we can, it is possible for either the Garden Room or Deluxe Apartment to be initially supplied with basic foodstuff and beverages. For instance: If you arrive too late to dine in a nearby restaurant or shop in our neighborhood supermarket (which is open all week: 8:00-22:00 hours and Sundays: 10:00-18:00 hrs).
8 • May we cater for our selves ? Does the room have a kitchen ?
• Yes. Of course you may cater for yourselves. And we'll provide for the amenities.
• The Garden Room contains a fridge, a coffeemaker, a kettle, a toaster, cutlery, glasses, and plates. It also offers courtesy coffee, tea and delicious Dutch cookies known as 'stroopwafels'. So it is fit for self catering a breakfast and lunch.
• No. Cooking a meal in the Garden Room is not possible, since this room DOESN'T come with a kitchen or a hot-plate. (And please, don't bring your own)
• Yes. The apartment upstairs is self-catering and comes with a fully equipped KITCHEN, including a dishwasher and a microwave.
• !!!: Around the corner you'll find the AH-supermarket to buy your food stuff. Open all week from 8:00 till 22:00 hours. Sundays: 10:00-18:00 hours.
9 • Is the Garden Room really 'easy accesible' for elderly or handicapped ?
•Yes. And that is not only because we say so. A handicapped guest wrote from experience:
"I needed wheelchair accessible accommodation in Amsterdam and this was one of the only ones that provided that. Moreover, Theo was very eager to make it work for me. He even made two little ramps to get over the thresholds to the bathroom and patio! There are no stairs and no front stoop to enter. The bedroom provides enough space for someone in a wheelchair to move around and to be able to transfer to the bed. We managed fine in the bathroom but it may be difficult for someone who needs space to transfer to the toilet or tub”
10 • May we smoke ?
• No. Yes.
• No. Not in the room. Not in the apartment. Smoking in the room is strictly off-limits (the smoke alarm will activate) as we must keep the room smoke/dust/perfume-free as a courtesy to sensitive future guests.
• Yes. You may smoke on the veranda overlooking the back garden or on the bench in the front yard. No one will bother you -my wife Béanke might even join you.
11 • Do you have air-conditioning ?
• No, we don't. And you really won't need it. Perhaps one week in a year Amsterdam 'suffers' temperatures, like 30º C /86º F. And then we'll open the windows. Or keep them closed and use a fan.
• In winter we have central heating. The Deluxe Apartment has its own so that the guest can regulate the room temperature with a thermostat. The central heating in the Garden Room is connected to the innkeepers quarters and is controlled there. (Don't hesitate to ask us for an adjustment, if need be).
• As an extra feature we might light a log fire in the lounge/library on the ground floor in winter -for decorational purposes only...
!!!: Lighting a log fire is the exclusive right to the owner of the house. We are and will be hold responsible. So don't light it when we are not present. Never!
12 • Are towels and bedlinens provided for ?
• Yes. At no extra costs. And we'll give you a clean set as soon as you ask for one ! So please, do.
• And we'll also give you slippers and robes to use. And there are cotton-balls and paper tissues to remove nail polish and make-up, so that you won't have to use the towels. We also provide toilet-paper, soap, bath foam, shampoo, lotions, shower caps, toothbrush sets, a razor set, a shoeshine set, et cet.
13 • Do you have a washing machine to do our laundry ?
• No, not when your renting the Garden Room downstairs. However, there is a neighborhood launderette, at Kastanjeplein.
• Yes, if you rent the Deluxe Apartment, which is equipped with a washer / dryer.
And please: Use the collapsible drying rack for drying your laundry and do not hang moist clothes on chairs or window sills.
!!!: You don't need to worry about clean towels and linens. We'll provide clean sets, the minute that you ask for them. So we demand you specifically NOT to wash those items (and hang those to dry) yourself.
14 • Is a hairdryer available ? Do you have a magnifying mirror ?
• Yes. The only drawback is that you may not use a hairdryer in the bathroom itself, since regulations prohibit electrical outlets in damp areas.
• Yes. A magnifying mirror is mounted on the bathroom wall, so you can comfortably put your lenses in and safely shave.
15 • Are you gay friendly ?
• Yes. We are very friendly, happy and merry with gays, straights, deviants, drag queens, men, women, gender-benders, bears, butches, body-builders, bikers, dykes, leather-fetishists, fairies, gothics, stamp-collectors, and all other homo- mono- metro- hetero- or non-sexuals alike. As long as you're not noisy doing it.
16 • How about pets ?
• Due to an allergic condition, we don't have any pets; so the house is really very hypo-allergic with its cleaned, mopped, and polished wooden floors and non-perfumed air (including fragrance aerosols, candles, or incense).
• Upon request and after approval, you can bring a -small- pet. Provided it won't bark, bite, piss, smear or chase and ruin anything. And of course if you'll take full -financial- responsibility for all damages to living or dead matter. Also, we ask you please not to allow it or to sleep on the couch, sofa or bed.
17 • Can we park a car in your street ?
• Yes, you can. It is easy and safe. Most of the time, you can even find a place to park your car nearby. HOWEVER, DON'T DO IT because you'll pay a massive amount in parking fees from Mo-Sa 9:00 till 24:00 hrs -as in most Amsterdam streets. (Payment by bank/credit card only, in a meter on the corner of our street). And you'll pay 10 times more if you don't pay your fees and get fined. Actually, you don't need a car in Amsterdam because it is a very small metropolis with abundant and practical public transport widely available. And of course, you can cover the entire historical center by foot.
• So your best bet is to park your car in a P&R Parking facility (at a cost of 8 euros per 24 hours). The nearest P&R: AMSTERDAM BIJLMER ARENA. There you can park your car safely for a maximum of 4 days + 4 days extension (except when big football matches are scheduled) and you'll get free return metro/subway tickets into town as well.
Metro/subway line 54 brings you almost to our doorstep; get off at WIBAUTSTRAAT, exit: GRENSSTRAAT
18 • Can we rent bicycles ?
•Yes. But not with us; there are several bicycle-rentals in town. The nearest around the corner, next to the AH supermarket, or at Amstel (train) Station.
!!!Unless you are a seasoned cyclist, reconsider renting a bike, after you've seen the Amsterdam bicycle locust.
19 • Is BB10 near the historic center and the museums and other tourist attractions ?
•Yes. As a matter of fact EVERYTHING is near BB10, because of the available public transport and because Amsterdam is really small. It is a very well kept secret that Amsterdam isn't a metropolis at all, despite its fame. It is a town with a population of 850.000 only. From BB10, you can stroll along the beautiful Amstel River into the historic center and reach the Hermitage Museum, the Opera, the Rembrandt House, and the flee-market in just 20 minutes. If you choose to use public transport, you can reach these same destinations in a 3 minute ride with the metro/subway from WIBAUTSTRAAT-station located at the end of our street. Apart from the metro, Amsterdam also offers a dense web of additional public transport such as frequent trams (streetcars) and busses within and out of town, with its hub being CENTRAAL STATION, the main train station located on the Amsterdam harbor. Regular public transport service is available from 6.30 in the morning until midnight, with limited bus service at other times to/from CENTRAAL STATION.
20 • Is Amsterdam safe ?
• Yes. Amsterdam is very safe. It is considered to be one of the safest cities in the world. Even the Red Light District is safe. And public transport is safe and so is the subway. And the 'coffee-shops' are safe. And the streets at night are safe. However, this doesn't mean 'incidents' can not happen and we cannot guarantee a 100% safety! Amsterdam is and has always been a very unique city filled with a population of really diverse people crowding its streets. Although most of these people contribute to Amsterdam's one-of-a-kind atmosphere, be aware that some might be out to trick a naïve tourist and/or steal his money. Others might be homophobic or racist for example, just as in any other major city. If you act normal, vigilant, streetwise and don't get involved in any street tricks, bets, or 'bargains' while visiting Amsterdam, you will be fine. For instance, never believe someone who identifies himself as a plain-clothed police officer asking for your papers or money. Be aware that there are quite a few pickpockets active in the city, especially on public transport. Don't flash your money, or prominently display your jewelry and cameras. Be careful when using your smartphone in the street or on public transport.
And finally, the best way to avoid loss is to leave the things you don't need to carry in your room at BB10, like credit cards, driver's license, tickets, passport and pearls! Carry some cash,to get around and hide some banknotes in another pocket .(And carry one of our BB10 calling cards, with our address and our phone numbers, for when you get lost or wasted)
• The only real nuisance is the Amsterdam taxi-industry. Especially for tourists. Apart from the fact that even the regular taxi-rates are among the highest in the world, many of the Amsterdam cabbies will try and trick you out of even more money than they're already entitled to. The most popular method is to make huge detours on the way to your destination.
So our advise to you is to avoid cabs. However if you desperately need a cab, only use TCA-taxis, which are the most reliable. Check for the TCA sign on its roof. (Don't be intimidated by people saying that you should take the first cab in line: go for TCA). When you get in, know where you are and where you are going! (You may even want to lie on your maiden-trip to Amsterdam and pretend that you've been here before) Check if the meter is on and then only pay the final amount shown on the meter. Ask for a receipt which they are obliged to produce and remember the taxi-number. That way, you will be probably fine.
21 • Can we check-in/out late or early ?
• Yes and sometimes no.
In general check-out is 11:00 hrs (AM).
This might be flexible depending on our calendar, and the hours other guests are planning on arriving and departing.
• Always let us know the time of both your arrival AND departure.
• For arriving guests: ALWAYS keep the agreed time of arrival, since we or our caretaker is not always in. Please notify us if you delayed!
• Most of the time, it is possible to drop your luggage early or pick-it-up late upon prior request.
22 • Can you provide for airport transfer ?
•No. Not when you are arriving. (The timing and location is too complicated). The best (and most economical) way to travel to Amsterdam from Schiphol (AMS) Airport is by train. Trains from Schiphol Railwaystation leave every 15 minutes for Amsterdam Centraal Station and the ride takes 15 minutes. From there, it is just a short metro (subway) ride to our place.
!!! The trip from the Airport to BB10 has NO bus transfers, is done only by trains, served by escalators and/or elevators to the different levels.
• Yes, when you are leaving BB10 for Schiphol (AMS) Airport. We'll call TAXI MELODY, a very reliable company, who picks you (and your luggage) up, punctually at any time day or night, for a set rate (now: 35,00 euro which is approximately 15,00 euro less than the rate you will pay in regular taxis).
!!! Remind the MELODY driver, when you get in, that you'll pay the set rate and not the metered rate.