When I saw the Zaandam Inntel hotel online, I wasn't quite sure whether I loved or hated the funky, modern, and more than slightly weird exterior design. But it was cheap (by the standards of Amsterdam & environs), fairly new, and had fantastic reviews, so we booked ourselves in for a couple of nights.
The rooms were spacious and bright, with big windows and distinctive murals - it was slightly disconcerting to have the Verkade biscuit lady looking down on us as we slept! Having a double bed made of two singles pushed together is never ideal if you move around in your sleep (as I do), but the mattresses were comfy and the sheets were good quality. Instead of the €16 buffet breakfast, we headed across the street to Delifrance for decent coffee and cheap croissants. We had a lovely stay and would happily use this hotel again... but I still don't know if I like the outside!
Zaandam itself is a few minutes from Amsterdam Central by train, but we had plans to visit Zaanse Schans which is north of the city, so it was a perfect location for us. The town was in the middle of major rebuilding work, apparently to restore the old canals (long ago filled in), which will be a great improvement to the environment when it's finished - meanwhile, a large part of town feels like a building site.