Ron Phillips Travel recently had the opportunity to spend nine days touring The Netherlands. Our host for this Educational Trip was Edwin Groeneweg, owner and operator of The Dutch Travel Advisor. Edwin was joined by his wife, Miranda van Emst, Ralph Verhoef, and Mark Quint. Together they provide visitors unique opportunities in The Netherlands.
The Dutch Travel Group specializes in customized tours, tailored to the needs of the guest. Through their relationships with site, museum, transport, and hotel contacts, they specialize in off the beaten path tours through the Netherlands. They also have the ability to create tours in Belgium. Their primary clients are individuals and groups from the USA and Canada. They can create an itinerary for a day, or a week.
Through Edwin’s connections his team is able to get special perks for your clients – like an early, private entry to a museum, behind-the-scene access to the Anne Frank or Rembrandt houses, or a private tour and meeting with a flower grower. He has access to skip-the-line options at most sites and understands American tourists like convenience!
For our group of 20 agents, Edwin hosted a well-planned and well-executed Educational tour. The cities we covered were a mixture of the “must-sees” and the rarely seen. I have been to The Netherlands many times and saw sites I’d seen before, yet with a different – and enjoyable – perspective. Despite the diversity in our group, Edwin and his team were adaptive to all members.
ARRIVAL and TRANSFER
Our party arrived at Schiphol Airport (AMS) after an overnight flight from Atlanta. Schiphol, perhaps my favorite airport in Europe, is easy to navigate but be prepared… the taxi across multiple runways is matched only in duration by the long walks in the terminals! Our plane landed on Runway 5 and it was a 20+ minute taxi to the terminal. Then, another 20 minutes to reach baggage claim. It is a VERY spread-out airport.
We were met by a driver coordinated by Edwin… The airport also has excellent bus, taxi, train, and rental car options. After an all-night flight, the private car was certainly a welcome sight. Our first EDU destination, The Hague.
The Hague is a charming and delightful city. About 30 minutes by car or train from Schiphol Airport (AMS), it is the seat of the Dutch government and parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Council of State. More than that, it’s quite picturesque! The third largest city in The Netherlands, it did not feel busy – or big. The Hague would be a good starting (or ending) point to a Netherlands itinerary due to its proximity to the AMS Airport, Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam, and the sea – all within 40 miles of the city center!
The Hague is an easy town to walk in – or bike – unlike the more challenging streets of Amsterdam! For stylish shopping, intimate dining, and a cosmopolitan feel… go see The Hague!
Hotel des Indes
Soon, we arrived at our first hotel, The Hotel Des Indes. It’s ideally positioned in the heart of The Hague, surrounded by numerous embassies, museums, antique shops, and numerous shops. This 5-star deluxe hotel is a Starwood Property.
Built in 1858 as a city palace, the Hotel Des Indes became a hotel in 1881. As you would expect, it is quite traditional. It has a wonderful location, surrounded by multiple Embassies, a wooded park, old-town streets, and close to the Parliament.
Famous for High Tea, and a restaurant where locals meet, it’s a place where you can relax after a long day of sight-seeing. There was a wedding during our stay so service was inconsistent… Other concerns: the gym is very small if you have clients who need to work out and guest parking (directly in front of the hotel) can fill up quickly.
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