Thursday, 30 April 2015

Hen Weekend - Amsterdam

I was the first of my group of friends to take the plunge and get married. Therefore I was very aware my hen do would be setting the precedent, as a result I decided to stay out of it and let the maids do the planning.

The girls did a fantastic job keeping the whole trip a secret for almost an entire year. I was given a short packing list and a pick up time and other than that I just had to put my faith in the best girls on the planet.

We flew from London Gatwick with British Airways direct to Amsterdam before jumping on the cheap and very convenient airport train straight into the city center. Our accommodation of choice was this bad boy apartment on top of a quirky cafe right in the heart of the city: Inner City Centre Loft Apartments, which was booked through Air B&B. There were enough beds for all of 13 of us, we had three bathrooms and a separate toilet, two kitchens and two lounge areas. Everything was clean and modern with great views.

After dropping our luggage the girls had arranged an amazing Prosecco Brunch at G's, which was a great little find by the group. It was there my sister (The Maid of Honor) presented us all with a personalized "Hen Do" bag from not on the high street complete with princess crowns, badges and a survival kit of sweets, chewing gum, plasters, blister plasters, paracetamol, lip balm, nail varnish etc etc. Fed and watered we decided we should do something cultural and hit the bus tour of Amsterdam relaxing and taking in all of the major sites.

It was back to the apartment for a shower and change before the amazing maids produced a supermarket shop of drinks and snacks to get the party started. First up was a video from one of my best friends in the world who currently resides in Hong Kong and couldn't make the weekend shenanigans. Needless to say the tears were streaming! Next up was a hilarious game of Mr & Mrs with a full on video from the hubby to be! I was actually better at this than most people expected, tick for me!!! We also played dress the best bride using toilet roll, which naturally my group had to win and my youngest sister had brought a Polaroid so I could have my photo taken with each hen and they could then write a little message along with a wedding wish as a keepsake of my weekend.

After plenty of Prosecco we took a taxi to the Supperclub, Amsterdam. This place is expensive but the tasting menu is good and the entertainment is hilarious. You sit on big beds all comfy and cosy in groups chatting and giggling the night away. The girls also had a neat idea to dress me in white whilst they all wore black so I stood out as the bride to be. Once the food and the little gimmick shows are over it's down to the basement to dance until dawn.

The next day the girls cooked a full English to cure the sore heads and fortunately had left plenty of time for recovering before hitting a Prosecco bike. This is an excellent idea for a hen weekend. It works out at 425 EUR for up to 17 people, which actually for a couple of hours entertainment and 10 liters of Prosecco isn't bad value. Book here through http://www.amsterdambachelorette.com/prosecco-bike-amsterdam/

Slightly tipsy we returned to the apartment, some via a cheeky "coffeeshop". The evenings game of choice was guess which hen from the humiliating and hilarious stories on offer. We then headed to Restaurant Red where we had an excellent set menu of half a lobster to start followed by fillet steak with fries and salad. Perfect evening and choice! After dinner we decided to catch a cab to take a little wander around the Red Light District and all try out a Peep Show for a few Euro's each, which was quite an eye opener!!! As we had gone a little over the top on night one from being way too excited we called it a night here and headed back to the apartment for some gossip in our PJ's before bed.

On our last day in Amsterdam we took our fragile bodies through the boat tour as it was raining and was a good way to see some of the city without getting wet. We then split, some for shopping, some to experience Anne Frank's famous house and the rest to grab some Amsterdam Apple Pie, which personally is a must do in this city! After our alone time we all met at The Sky Lounge at the Doubletree Hilton for a few more drinks, to share our memories of the weekend and to pass on my wedding wishes from the girls. It was then a quick cab back to the airport and our short flight home to London.

I could not have wished for a better send off into marriage, I had the most incredible time with my favorite girls. Everything was organised to a tee and not a single little bit of tackiness was in sight. For future "maids" a little advice, my girls had pre-ordered set menu's in all of the restaurants and taken money for all the food, a little extra for drinks and service so there was never any arguing about bills, we even had enough left in the kitty to buy a breakfast and round of drinks on the last day. I would definitely suggest everyone pays into a kitty in advance as it really saved so much hassle. Also factor in time for a large group of girls to shower and also recover after a big night the following morning (sometimes, less is really more).

Other fun things to do in Amsterdam from another trip I have been on previously are:

  • The Amsterdam Zoo
  • Madam Tussards
  • The Amsterdam Dungeon
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • The Sex Museum 
  • House of Bols cocktail experience
  • The Flower Market

Also a less fun activity but poignant is the Anne Frank House. It's a real eye opener and hard to understand what happened here and how these two families lived in the house, which is still intact today.

Happy Travels