Owner Saskia Hurd wanted to open a hostel in Amsterdam, but she couldn’t find the right place. Then she happened upon a quartet of empty buildings in Haarlem and snapped them up. The result is an exceptionally pretty hostel with 12 rooms, all with private showers (although some do share a loo).
There are simple doubles, and also two with a typical Dutch bedstee (a bed in a cupboard with doors you can close). The biggest room has no fewer than 14 bunk beds, perfect for a group of young friends or as somewhere to offload the children. It’s all very lo-fi, without any televisions and only old-fashioned board games in the lobby; for chilly nights there’s an open fireplace on the terrace. Meals are served in the living room; breakfast options include the ‘local Dutch’ – two cheeses from the region served with artisan bread – and for the sweet-toothed, the Zoetekauw: bread with jam, chocolate sprinkles, apple spread and krentenmik (raisin bread with brown sugar).
The hostel is a five-minute walk from the town centre and the young, enthusiastic staff are always happy to make recommendations. From here, you’re only 20 minutes from Amsterdam by train, and the beaches of Zandvoort and Bloemendaal are close at hand.