Park Plaza Vondelpark
This is a review of the Park Plaza Vondelpark hotel which I visited back in 2014, the reason this review has only been published now is because back then I was associated with a blog of which Club Carlson was a potential sponsor and they did not want any negative publicity. So here’s my honest story…
I had scored a fair amount of Club Carlson Gold points by staying at the Park Inn hotel in Leuven and with a flash sale where I got a 75% bonus when purchasing points. Because of an event in Amsterdam I was on the lookout for a good hotel and decided to book a reward night at the Park Plaza Vondelpark hotel.
All of my trips to Amsterdam start by taking the train from Antwerp Central Station, and after a journey of about 2 hours in a first class coach I arrived in Amsterdam where rain was absolutely pouring down. I had been to Amsterdam plenty of times but was unfamiliar with the area where the hotel was located so decided to take a taxi. After waiting in queue for about 15 minutes I finally managed to get a ride and told the driver where I was heading. He said: “Yes, yes I know the way!”…Well apparently he didn’t cause I was dropped off at the wrong Park Plaza hotel in the city center as there is another one besides the one at Vondelpark! Off to the next taxi where I explained the situation to the driver and he was kind enough to stop the meter half way through the ride. Nice gesture!
The lady who helped at the check in desk was friendly but apparently there was some confusion about my reservation. I had booked a superior room for 44.000 Gold points and afterwards upgraded the room to a jacuzzi suite for another 33 Euros. It seemed like the paid upgrade was registered in their system. Same thing with the breakfast as that wasn’t showing either, but luckily it all got fixed and after swiping my credit card I got the room key so I could head towards the elevator.
“Uhm, where’s the elevator?” Apparently I head to go out the building where the reception, down the stairs, then follow a little pathway and arrive at the adjacent building… But after swiping my room key twice, the door still wouldn’t open! “This really isn’t my day!” I thought to myself while I walked back to the reception area. The receptionist activated a new room key and then walked with me to check if the card worked this time.After entering the building the search for the elevator began, unfortunately there were no signs indicating where it was located. In fact it was so hidden that I walked right by it the first time. Usually it’s the first impression that counts, but up until this moment it wasn’t very good but there was still hope for the jacuzzi suite!
The room was located right opposite to the elevator and while swiping the room key I had visions of a beautiful jacuzzi suite, but oh boy was I in for a disappointment! Maybe I got spoiled too much in other hotels but this room was just badly maintained. As soon as I got into the room I noticed the state of the door frame and several stains on the carpet.
The seating area of the room was ok with a very comfy lounge chair, couch and table, the only detail that was overlooked was that you couldn’t turn around the TV towards the seating area. This meant you could only watch TV from the bed.
The bed was good for one night as the matrass felt worn out and this was noticeable on my back the next morning. Maybe I’m just nagging, but I tell the things as I experienced them.
I couldn’t help but notice a foul odor throughout the room which made me want to open a window to get some fresh air in. I was glad to see that the windows could be opened as that’s not the case in most hotels these days, but as soon as I grabbed the handle it almost came off!
The initial reaction was “Oh it’s just for one night”, but that thought was soon gone as I found even more flaws to this room. It’s not in my nature to complain a lot or make remarks quickly, when I do it means something is really not right… This was the case when I saw the inside of the fridge, it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in ages.
From the main area of the room, where the bed and seating area were located, you could go into a walk in closet and then head into the bathroom. Unfortunately the ceiling of the walk in closet was in a bad shape as well, there were cracks in it and there was some kind of black mould…
Even mould on the ceiling
I had my fingers crossed that the bathroom would be in good condition and at first sight everything looked to be ok and there was plenty of space. There was a toilet, a bidet, 2 sinks, a shower and the jacuzzi bath tub. Just too bad that the jacuzzi was badly maintained as there was rust on the bottom, some of the buttons were missing which caused it to malfunction!
As I had to head out to an event, I didn’t have the time to go back to the reception and complain about everything. And coming back to the hotel late at night, I was so tired that I went into a deep sleep.
The next morning while being on my way to the breakfast area, we couldn’t find the restaurant which was kind of odd as there were signs for it in the elevator. The signs pointed out that it would be located on the first floor, where I walked around but couldn’t find anything. I then went back to the elevator but it was blocked by 2 big wooden doors? Apparently the fire alarm had been set off, but I didn’t hear any alarm or see any flashing lights, worst thing was that the hotel staff didn’t even inform the guests about it! Luckily it was a false alarm…So I took the stairs to get down, proceeded to the next door building and asked the staff at the reception where the restaurant was. “Oh we get that question a lot, the breakfast area is located in the basement of this building.” Maybe you should inform your guests about it then!
When finally reaching the breakfast area, I had to wait there for 5 minutes before a staff member came to check, there was nobody around. I gave the room number, only to be told that I was entitled to breakfast?! So I headed up the stairs and back to the reception, this was getting ridiculous! I checked with the front desk manager on duty: “Oh yes, you are on the list mister Jansen but my colleague didn’t pass it on to the staff in the restaurant, I’ll call downstairs so you can go and have breakfast now.”
To be short, the breakfast was the only thing that made me happy during my stay. During the check out process I mentioned all the issues that I encountered, filled in a form from Club Carlson about it and after getting back home I send an email with all my frustrations to the general manager. I never received any feedback from anyone about it!
So this was the first and last time that I booked this hotel, I could have spent my 44.000 points somewhere else!