Water Home

Oud West, Amsterdam, Holland Book from Book from £254 per night

A family-owned Dutch canal boat offering funky, well-priced canalside accommodation in the Oud West residential quarter (sleeps 2-4)
Moored in a tranquil residential neighbourhood 10 minutes' walk from the heart of old Amsterdam, and very near the buzzy new cultural/food centre of Die Hallen, this beautiful canal boat is both a comfy base for a city break and a novel insight into Dutch canalside living.

Inside it feels fresh and surprisingly spacious, with splashes of warm colour, handsome furniture from the owners' home (including a piano), and quirky artistic touches, such as the distinctive wave in the roof. With a living room, kitchen and proper bathroom, it's a calm, relaxing, homely space; a retreat after a busy day sightseeing. The waterside deck, surrounded by a soft green plant screen, is perfect for breakfast, reading, bird-spotting or for lounging on a warm summer’s evening with a bottle of wine and candles.

With 1 private double bedroom and 1 double bed off the living area, we think the houseboat would be great for a couple, for 2 friends, or for a family of 4 (whose kids don't mind sharing a double bed).

Highs

  • A unique and fun place to stay in northern Europe's capital of canals
  • Tranquil setting among tourist-free waterways and tree-lined streets
  • We arrived to a warm welcome, a cup of tea and helpful advice (including city map) from the friendly owners - who live just 5 minutes away
  • The kitchen comes well-stocked for breakfasts, and towels are changed daily
  • Ideal from May to September, when the flower-fringed outside deck doubles your living space

Lows

  • The owners use an office at one end of the boat - but is is separate from the accommodation and has its own entrance
  • 1 of the 2 double beds is in an alcove off the living room, with just a sliding door for privacy
  • Don't expect a handsome old boat: this is more of a floating home i.e. bigger and boxier
  • Not ideal for younger children, with buggy-defeating steps and an adjacent canal (though the deck itself is enclosed)
  • There's a big modern block behind the boat, and this area will not suit those looking to stay in the heart of the action

Best time to go

Amsterdam is a popular destination all year round, but really gorgeous in the spring, early summer and autumn - which are also the best times to enjoy the canal boat. It can feel a little bleak in winter, although the boat is a well heated haven to return to, and the warehouses and bridges look beautiful all lit up; and you may encounter mosquitoes in midsummer.

Our top tips

Outdoor shoes are not to be worn inside the boat, so the owners kindly provide a range of slippers for guests to borrow. If you'd prefer a sense of homely comfort, pack your favourite pair of slippers or cosy socks. But don't bring too much: storage space on the house boat is limited.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Houseboat
  • 2
  • Self-catering (walk to restaurants)
  • Best for older children
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

The open-plan living area is peaceful and homely, with wooden floors, white walls and welcoming touches like flowers, fresh fruit, even a piano and guitar. Besides the sitting area, it encompasses the dining space (table for 6) and galley kitchen, as well as access to the deck.

The main, private double bedroom is cosy (15 sq.m.) with olive green décor and canal-view windows. There are 2 large, handmade wardrobes, which also store a range of comfy house slippers (in all sizes) for guests to borrow during their stay. It's very tranquil, with only the occasional tring of a passing tram and the whisper of the breeze in the bamboo to disturb you. And, being fixed, the canal boat does not rock at all with the waves (in any case, there is very little canal traffic).

Within the main living area is a second double bed set into a magenta-coloured recess behind a sliding door.

There's 1 bathroom which is small, clean and modern. with an ingeniously installed bathtub which half extends into an alcove, and a shower attachment. There are piles of clean towels and a hairdryer.

The real ‘wow’ factor is the lovely outside deck, surrounded by a jungle of green plants and purple, which almost doubles the boat’s laid-back living space.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • CD player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • DVD player
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Kitchenette
  • Oven
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • TV
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

The green wooden galley kitchen is well-equipped for preparing breakfast and simple meals: there's a kettle, a toaster, a gas hob and a fridge, but no oven or microwave, so not it's ideal for cooking dinners. There's also a washing machine and dryer which comes in handy for longer stays (or for winter downpours).

The friendly owners welcome you by stocking the fridge with key breakfast items like cereals, bread, ham, cheese, eggs and milk as well as teas, coffee and condiments - all included in the price.

For tasty local shopping, head to the eco-supermarket ‘Natuur Winkel’ (Elandsgracht 118) or to the Saturday-morning organic food and flower market by the Noorderkerk (on Prinsengracht in the Jordaan). It's fabulous for fresh, locally-produced fruit, bread, cheeses, juices - so take a big empty bag and stock up for a feast!

You'll not need to travel far to find restaurants and cafés. Within a short walk are the exotic flavours of Thailand, Surinam or Indonesia, as well as classic Dutch seafood. For delicious Lebanese, try Beyrouth, an authentic-ethnic restaurant on the Kinkerstraat (no. 18). And for family-friendly coffee and lunch, try the corner Café Toussaint on leafy Bosboom Toussaintstraat.

Features include:

  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • In house cook
  • Kitchenette
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Welcome hamper
  • Fridge stocked for breakfast
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • You're on the edge of the canal belt, so the old centre is within 15 minutes’ walk, or less by bike or tram. You can even hire a pedalo (known locally as a 'waterbike') and explore the city via its network of concentric canals; it's great exercise, though bear in mind that it's quite slow
  • A couple of blocks away is the buzzy food and cultural hub of De Hallen, with deli stalls, fashion outlets, an arthouse cinema and a weekly indoor craft market - all housed in a historic former tram depot
  • The chi-chi and picturesque Nine Steeets area, 10 minutes’ walk east, is a grid of small streets that cross the grand canals between Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht and Herengracht. Packed with quirky shops, funky bars, vintage clothing boutiques and curios, it’s a wonderful way to while away an afternoon
  • The Woonboot Museum (Houseboat Museum - near Prinsengracht number 296) is actually on a traditional houseboat and gives you another peek into canal life in Amsterdam
  • Further north up the Prinsengracht canal is the impressive 375 year old Westerkerk church whose 85m tower can sometimes be climbed for fabulous rooftop views. It is thought that Rembrandt was buried here in 1669 although there is only a plaque in his memory
  • The house of Anne Frank (Prinsengracht 267), one of Amsterdam's most cherished residents, is open to visitors and provides an excellent overview of the historical, political and social context of Anne's brief life
  • Indulge your curiosity for things shiny and old at the indoor antiques market ‘Kunst & Antiekcentrum’, Elandsgracht 109
  • Amsterdam, of course, is famous for its art galleries and museums: the Stedelijk, Rijksmuseuam and the van Gogh Museum are the best known, and all within 30 minutes' walk
  • Further afield, the charming Vondelpark is a popular venue for street theatre and circus skills performers, and perfect for a summer picnic
  • The bulb and flower market is a bloom of exotic colour, and only 10-15 minutes’ walk away

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome, but you should bear in mind that, while the canal boat terrace and access bridge are protected, in Amsterdam the surrounding canalside is not - so it is not ideal for younger children. Also there are some steps to get on board, which makes it less practical for buggies. Having said that, the novelty will definitely appeal to older children, and the location is very safe. A cot is available on request.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The canal boat sleeps 2-4; bear in mind that both beds are doubles.

Baby equipment:

  • Cot

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Water Home is self-catering but if you want to stay in and avoid the cooking, you can easily get food delivered. There are plenty of restaurants and cafés nearby as well as an eco-supermarket.

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Anne Frank huis
  • The many museums: Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum
  • Marnixbad pool
  • The Vondelpark is great for a picnic and for street theatre

Families Should Know:

Mosquitoes can be a nuisance; bring repellent or citronella for the evenings. It's not buggy friendly - there are too many steps - so we're not recommending it for toddlers and younger children. The canal is the most obvious hazard.

Distances:

  • Airport: 15 minutes
  • Hospital: 10 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Everything about this Water Home was wonderful, from the couple that own the home to the location it is in. The place is immaculate, the breakfast food, coffee and tea are great. The location is a 10 to 15 minute walk to both the tourist area and the museums as well as right by a tram. The birds wake you up in the morning and then you can enjoy your morning coffee on the deck. We even gave up a day of touring just to enjoy the home itself.

10/10,

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Rates for Water Home