On our 2nd full day in The Hague we rode to the Hoge Veluwe National Park, the largest national park in the Netherlands. After entering the park, it felt like we were on a safari as we headed across wide, open areas. A quick look to my left, and I saw hordes of bicycle riders pedaling leisurely… we were still in The Netherlands!
Kroller Muller Museum and Sculpture Garden
The Kroller Muller Museum was an unknown to me. But like The Panorama on Day 1, this is a site I am headed back to and will suggest to all my Netherlands travelers. We had a too-short stay – maybe two hours. I could have stayed here ALL DAY!
Inside you’ll find the 2nd largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world. Outside, there are many unique and thought-provoking sculptures. Having a guide (especially outside) makes all the difference in the world. I can’t imagine visitors wandering through this property without support – there’s too much they’ll miss. Fortunately Edwin had the contacts to make our stay interesting and memorable.
Inside the museum the art was also very impressive… and NO CROWDS like you have at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Another reason to put this Museum on your “to-be-seen” list.
Hundreds of white bikes – free to all – were available as entered the park. When we left two hours later, all the bikes were gone… in use by visitors exploring the huge park. A GREAT place for families!
De Waldhoorn Cafe
After our too brief visit at the Kroller Muller Museum we stopped for lunch in the village of Otterlo. We filed off the bus and into the De Waldhoorn Café. Here we enjoyed a brief respite and some local cuisine. Located just outside the National Park, it’s a great place to catch-your-breath. The food was certainly the “most Dutch” we’d eaten on our trip. It’s a good break after hours in the park… and to sample the local cuisine.
Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’
Our next stop was the Airborne Museum outside Oosterbeek. The villa that houses the Airborne Museum, the Villa Hartenstein, was the headquarters of the British Airborne Division during the Battle of Arnhem. As my father was in the military, I have been to many such museums and memorials.
Here, they do an excellent job informing, educating, and even entertaining visitors. If you have seen the movie or read the book, “A Bridge Too Far”… this Museum records that devastating Allied loss. There are plenty of authentic uniforms, weapons, posters and the VERY impressive (and realistic) award-winning Airborne Experience exhibition, located in the basement. If you have an interest in WWII military sites, this Museums and grounds should be on your travel itinerary.
Carlton Ambassador Hotel
For dinner on this second night, we were invited to the Carlton Ambassador Hotel, within walking distance from The Hilton, Hague. Recently this hotel was awarded the best European Luxury City Hotel. We had a very enjoyable dinner… and I wish we could have spent MORE time.
This hotel was a pleasant surprise and a great moderate budget alternative. If dinner is an indicator, quality and service will be excellent. I think all of the Travel Advisors in our group added this hotel to their list of “I could certainly see my guests here!”
It was a very relaxed, yet professional visit. Our hosts were gracious and welcoming and everyone felt at ease. Perhaps this hotel surprised me most of any on our trip. The hotel is currently being renovated floor-by-floor and we had the opportunity to see a few of the recently renovated rooms. They were not large, but certainly fresh and very much Dutch décor. The few pictures I took do not do justice to the renovated rooms, but you can see the Delft-style tile work!
I would not do an entry level room here due to the size, and with the price of the suites, why not select a suite? The Carlton Ambassador Hotel is less than 200 yards from Panorama Mesdag. Also, if you’re headed to Scheveningen and the beach, you can catch the tram at the nearby Mauritskade tram stop and be at the beach in 15 minutes! A huge THUMBS UP to the Carlton Ambassador Hotel!
The Hilton, Hague
We sent our last night in The Hague at the The Hilton. This hotel has a contemporary, modern décor. It felt like a business hotel, but a very polished business hotel! The staff was very professional and SUPER-efficient. The Hilton, Hague has an excellent location… Hilton Club access is also available.
I had an interior courtyard view, and frankly, with my view it could have been in any city in the world. Thus, I would suggest you ask for views of the city – otherwise the view is fairly bland… Excellent breakfast the following morning. I enjoyed my stay here.
copyright (c) 2014 by Ron Phillips Travel LLC – luxury travel and consultancy. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, Contact Ron Phillips Travel