PLACES TO STAY
Cocomama Hostel is a friendly boutique hostel whose private rooms represent superb value for money. Located in a tall, traditional house, there are plenty of stairs to deal with, but also wi-fi and Bluetooth speakers built into the ceilings of the private rooms. The hotel’s daily activity calendar is an excellent and sociable introduction to exploring the city (private rooms from £80; cocomamahostel.com). Hotel Arena is a stately four-star hotel built inside a former orphanage for Catholic girls, and still complete with its own chapel. The well-appointed rooms live up to the grandiose exterior, but the hotel’s best feature is its location: it looks directly onto the Oosterpark, making it feel like a natural oasis in the city. The Park café-restaurant serves excellent food (rooms from £120; hotelarena.nl). The Toren is designed with romantic getaways in mind. The hotel is centrally located in a 17th-century canalside building, and its décor is designed in the style of an 1890s French boudoir, with a black and red colour scheme throughout and plenty of mirrors. Many rooms come complete with double Jacuzzis and, in one case, a steam shower cabin. The chandelier-lit hotel bar is well-equipped (rooms from £175; thetoren.nl).