One of Amsterdam's most unique accommodations is the Sofitel, which occupies a secluded stone building (formerly a convent) located mere steps away from the Red Light District and Chinatown. Its enclosed circle drive and quaint courtyards provide a private and intimate setting especially conducive for al fresco dining.
While the common areas exude old world European charm and elegance, the 178 rooms could use a facelift. Décor is colorful but furnishings are stuffy and somewhat dated. Bathrooms are tiny, even by Amsterdam standards. Surprisingly, despite its heart of the city locale, overnight noise is minimal.
Sofitel's gym is a small, hardwood-floored room equipped with a few appealing cardio machines and woeful weight options. Your muscle groups will be better served by push-ups rather than the meager multigym and 3 dumbbells. However, the Life Fitness treadmill, upright bike, and two ellipticals are top notch and save Sofitel some athletic-minded face.
Joggers should consider an outing to the fabulous Vondelpark greenspace (figure 10-15 minutes jogging from the hotel).
Lap swimmers should take a taxi or tram to Het Marnix, the only legitimate lap pool near downtown.
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