The Best Hotels in Leiden, the Netherlands

Traced with small canals and speckled with green parks, Leiden is a photographer’s dream
Traced with small canals and speckled with green parks, Leiden is a photographer’s dream | © Magdalena Bujak / Alamy Stock Photo
Giovana Fleck

Near the sea in the west of the Netherlands, Leiden is a city of venerable architectural sights, housing museums and galleries. It is also the perfect place to discover the real Holland, beyond the international goings-on of The Hague, to the south. With some of the best hotels in the country, we’ve drawn up our list of Leiden’s top places to stay.

1. Steenhof Suites

Hotel

Cosy double bedroom at Steenhof Suites with wooden vaulted roof and naturalistic brown and blue colour palette
 Courtesy of Steenhof Suites / Expedia

This is a real boutique beauty in the heart of Leiden, casting 21st-century modernity inside classic Dutch gingerbread architecture. With a facade of stunning stepped gables, each interior detail is a style tip to take home, from the drum chandeliers to riots of animal print on otherwise subtle chairs. Artfully book-lined, with moody, magical lighting, Charly’s Lounge bar is the place for a whisky tot or a revivifying post-gallery red wine, before you head out for dinner.

2. Boutique Hotel d'Oude Morsch

Hotel

Stylish bedroom at Boutique Hotel dOude Morsch with minimalist colour palette
Courtesy of Boutique Hotel d'Oude Morsch / Expedia

This one is the hotel choice of the history aficionado: a mod-trad head-turner that occupies the former guardhouse of the 19th-century city barracks. Standards and Superiors are stunning, sparely furnished spaces, with sloping ceilings and trunk-like supporting beams. The Superior Deluxe, with its boxy tan sofas, is special-occasion-sexy, like an architect’s apartment. You’ll need to go out for dinner (Delasoul, opposite, is good for meat, fish and vegetarian), but they serve an excellent breakfast in bed for under 15 euros.

3. Ex Libris Boutique Hotel

Hotel

Small double bedroom at Ex Libris boutique hotel with lilac, blue and yellow soft furnishings
 Courtesy of Ex Libris boutique hotel / Expedia

The Kloksteeg is one of Leiden’s most picturesque streets, connecting the chic Rapenburg canal and the Pieterskerk which dates back to the 12th century. There, a carved-wooden door in a brick house leads to Ex Libris. The eight double rooms are shining examples of how stylish a stay you can have in the Netherlands: superbly clean, angled rooms, fully stocked minibar with Dutch treats and a luxurious bathroom with a rain shower and underfloor heating. All that and you’re near major sights including the Hortus Botanicus and the Academy Building.

4. Golden Tulip Leiden Centre

Hotel

Large double bedroom at Golden Tulip Leiden Centre with warm colour palette and a seating area
 Courtesy of Golden Tulip Leiden Centre / Booking.com

Right at the centre of Leiden, this is a four-star base for both business and leisure travellers, facing its sister hotel, Tulip Inn, across the Central Station. Rooms really push the envelope for a corporate property, with intriguing murals and pops of colour injected via cushions and chairs. Restaurant Rubens is a high-stooled, lively-patterned affair for a post-conference Negroni. Bicycles are yours for a fee and you’re able to use the facilities of a gym partner operating nearby.

5. Van der Valk Hotel Leiden

Hotel

Two double beds in room at Van der Valk Hotel Leiden with blue crushed velvet blankets and cushions
 Courtesy of Van der Valk Hotel Leiden / Expedia

Known colloquially as the Valk, this hotel is loved by locals and repeat customers for its cosy and timeless atmosphere. Rooms are, frankly, built for comfort rather than daring design, but they include private balconies for a ringside view of the street life below. In the immediate vicinity you have countless cycle paths to follow, perhaps to the dunes and the beach, for a blast of sea air; all the better to conjure an appetite for wine and potato fritters at the hotel restaurant, Het Haagsche Schouw, right by the Rhine on a warm day.

6. Hilton Garden Inn Leiden

Hotel

Basic double bedroom at Hilton Garden Inn Leiden with red floral carpet, a desk and small sofa
 Courtesy of Hilton Garden Inn Leiden / Expedia

From the outside it’s a striking slab of corporate cool, like a cubic caterpillar walking on spindly white legs. Inside, in contrast, the carpeted, thick-curtained bedrooms spring zero surprises. No matter – with Hilton’s seal of approval, they’re comfy places to lay your head, and the drinking/dining spaces are far funkier by design, all low-slung lighting and post-box red furniture. You’re right by the CORPUS Museum and the Congress Centre, two must-see spots, and you can pedal (by hotel rental bike) to the luscious Botanical Gardens if you need a gentle workout.

7. City Hotel Rembrandt

Hotel

Stylish double bedroom at City Hotel Rembrandt with minimalist wooden decor, wicker chair and round mirror
 Courtesy of City Hotel Rembrandt / Expedia

In town for the Museum De Lakenhal, the Volkenkunde ethnographic museum or the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave? A hop from them all, City Hotel Rembrandt is your base. Even the smallest of the 20 rooms are bright, big-windowed and beautiful, with spotless tiled showers. And DÚO Food & Wine Bar next door is the biz for wine, aperitifs, lunch and dinner, yours to savour in its quirky, plant-filled space.

8. City Hotel Nieuw Minerva

Hotel

Double bedroom at City Hotel Nieuw Minerva Leiden with blue and green peacock feather wallpaper
 Courtesy of City Hotel Nieuw Minerva Leiden / Booking.com

With its unmissable red awnings, this is a slice of true historic Leiden: it’s the oldest hotel in the city centre (from the 1940s), occupying six connected 16th-century canal houses. The 35 rooms – from small (Comfort) to expansive (Luxury) – are delightful jumbles of mismatching wallpaper and fairy-tale furniture. Book the Rembrandt Room and you’ll sleep in a replica of the timber box-bed favoured by the artist, who was born in Leiden. Breakfast is extra, but unmissable: a banquet of rolls, cheese, cold cuts and muesli, with fortifying tea and coffee before you depart to sightsee.

9. Ibis Leiden Centre

Hotel

Small double bedroom at ibis Leiden Centre with warm lighting and view over city
 Courtesy of ibis Leiden Centre / Booking.com

Bang in the city centre, next to the station, this hotel won’t win a beauty contest on the strength of its concrete-box exterior. It is, however, super-handy for the tourist sights, on foot or by bike (rentable close by). What’s more, the signature Ibis rooms are calm, compact cocoons, with sink-into, comfy beds. The showers are reliably invigorating, the breakfasts are tasty and filling, and Bar Rendez-Vous is open daily for all meals, with cocktails rattled up at your command.

10. Hotel De Doelen

Hotel

Small double bedroom at Boutique Hotel De Doelen with large headboard and yellow and white walls
 Courtesy of Boutique Hotel De Doelen / Booking.com

Facing onto the Rapenburg, one of the most beautiful canals in the Netherlands, this lovely hotel delivers a classic Dutch experience, with a breakfast to match. It occupies a building from 1638, built in Dutch classicist style. Notice the stucco work in the hallway and the flower art in the breakfast room. This is a traditional family business; classic rooms have exquisite blue-and-white hearth tiling, and there are modern rooms, too. You’re walking distance from the central station.

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