Here’s a small list of fantastic accommodations that are largely locally operated, have some unique character and happen to be kind to the budget. Scroll down for recommendations for higher-end hotels in Amsterdam and Brussels hotels by popular request.

Amsterdam Hotels

The Backstage Hotel is for music lovers into rock-themed accommodation, nearby Leidseplein’s nightlift and Museum Quarter with a great bar and incredibly fair prices: singles from €59 to five-bedded rooms from €197,50 for the entire band.

Blue Moon Bed & Breakfast might be on a tram line route, but its location near the Rijksmuseum and option to breakfast on the rooftop terrace makes this stylish place worth considering, especially the rates: €105-€165.

Citizen M Hotel near the WTC of Amsterdam truly impressed me with its self-serve check-in process, grab and go cafe, free wifi and movies, and Vitra furnishings in comfortable lobby lounges that seemed more like a modern home than a lobby. Prices hover around €100 a night.

Hotel V  is simply modern, perfectly located in the old center just south of Rembrandtplein, has style and a lot of heart. €69 – €199

The Lloyd Hotel must be my favourite hotel in town. Its haunting history, powerful modern design, weekly cultural events, and 117 rooms ranging from one to five stars (€95 – €450) can please every taste.

Mauro Mansion is a unique accommodation minutes from Cetraal Station and on a pretty canal. If you are sick of hotels and want style and warmth, go with these guys. It’s near Chinatown and around the corner from Amsterdamsel!

Hotel Nes has a superb location steps from Waterlooplein, the flower market, and the Amstel River with simply-appointed rooms from €115.

The Rembrandtplein Hotel caught my eye because it lies within a 17th century building on a small gorgeous canal away from most noise but amidst all the activity. Older but richly decorated rooms range from €55 – €160.

The Seven Bridges Hotel is on one of the most gorgeous canals, the Reguliersgracht, just south of Rembrandtplein and furnished with antiques and a lot of character, ranging from €95 – €235.

The Toren Hotel behind the Anne Frankhuis and on a UNESCO World Heritage canal looks like a bordello, and continues to be locally run by the son of the couple who started it over 40 years ago. Back then they were touting for backpackers at the train station, and now it’s a sexy four star charmer with rooms starting from €90.

Budget not an issue? Here are Amsteramsel’s choice posh picks: 

The Amrath Hotel across from the Central train station is housed in the fabulous old headquarters of six shipping offices and is a brilliant example of Amsterdam Style architecture. Deluxe rooms, cozy bar, nice restaurant, and even a pool. The highlight is the stained glass in an upper atrium with a nautical theme.

The Dylan on the canals is my choice for lush sleeping on the elegant Keizersgracht. Interior design is at its finest, and the food is top notch. From standard rooms at €300 per night to luxury canal suite at €795.

The Grand is located in the old center inside the former city hall. It is elegant through and through, on a quiet and old canal. So calm in its surrounds, you wouldn’t believe that nearby lie some University of Amsterdam buildings  on one side and the Red Light District on the other.

Brussels Hotels

Touring in Europe as much as I do, I’ve come to enjoy these hotels in Brussels:

The Hotel is posh. Cartier is next door and the Sablon is its backyard. Yet it’s a 20 minute walk through the parts of central Brussels you should see anyway that are en route to the Mennekin Pis and Grand Place. €89 and up.

Hotel Bloom is unique in that each room is painted fresco style by a different artist. Trendy and modern, yet unpretentious and affordable in a great part of the center. €75 – €165