As Timothy and I had been planning to take a ride on the Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik for a long time we decided to do this in the weekend of 11th November.
As Hoorn is located north of Amsterdam it is quite far from our homebase in Antwerp and to be able to make the 10:40 departure of the Stoomtram from Hoorn to Medemblik we decided to stay the night in Hoorn. This allowed us to combine it with a visit to the Dutch Railway Museum in Utrecht the day before.
Being only a small city there was not a big choice of hotels in Hoorn, and as we like a bit of modern comfort we decided to stay at the Van Der Valk hotel, a famous Dutch chain of hotels. The hotel is located along the A7 motorway, just north of the city centre and station, while the main entrance is facing the motorway we walked there through the housing estate and sport fields at the rear of the hotel, also entering by its rear entrance.
Nearby you have an indoor skating rink and on site the hotel offers a range of facilities like a cinema, a casino, a bar, a coffee shop, a restaurant and of course some meeting rooms.
Upon check-in the lady behind the counter also kindly asked whether we wanted to eat dinner in the restaurant and made us reservations as the restaurant was really busy that night with also lots of locals coming to eat dinner there. She handed us our roomkeys which we also needed to call the elevators on the lobby level as well as opening the hallway door to allow us to enter our hallway, thus avoiding unwanted guests in the guestroom hallways.
Our room was located on the 7th floor, providing us with a magnificent panoramic view of the nearby fields. It was decorated in a nice contemporary styling. There were not a lot of storage facilities, just some cupboards integrated into the bathroom wall. There was a big desk with two easily accessible power plugs, on the desk was also a paper room directory and the coffee and tea making facilities (without cookies as is the norm in The Netherlands).
At the opposite end of the room along the window was a leather coach and a small table which could be used for lounging. There were two single beds put next to each other, each featuring their own duvet and only one pillow (no plethora of several pillows as you can sometimes find in hotels nowadays). At each side of the bed you had night table with a lamp, light switches controlling all lights in the room and a power plug (which is very welcome to charge your phone overnight). Even though there was a pool up on the 14th floor the hotel didn’t provide the guests with bathrobes and slippers but these could be rented if you asked for it.
The bathroom was a huge and clean affair, having but a huge walk-in rain shower and an even bigger bathtub (taking ages to fill).
Towels where not provided in abundance, only two same size towels per person. The toiletries where of their own brand with each different product in its own distinct colour. While they also offer sanitary pads, shower caps and a comb there were no tissues provided, something that usually is a standard hotel offering so that was quite odd.
When leaving the room and taking out the key card from the holder near the entrance, the power was cut immediately, so you had to make sure you had everything with you, otherwise you were lost in the dark.
The fitness and spa area
Up on the 14th floor you had the hotel’s ‘spa’ area. There was a mini-gym with some basic equipment, a male and a female dressing room (where you could also find the pool towels), a sauna cabin, some showers and a pool. The pool itself was not very big and it was only accompanied by three loungers which could not handle the influx of people coming for a swim when we were there. The pool area was very nicely heated and the pool had some nice waterjets with which we could play and spray all over the pool, this also explained why the entire pool area was soaking wet. While the pool area might have been very small, it was nice to have it and being able to warm up after a cold day outside.
In the evening we went to eat in the restaurant, as mentioned by the lady at check-in it was quite busy that night and we had to wait a bit for our table to become available. Our table had a an armchair and a fixed bench to sit on, while both sat comfortably unfortunately the table was a bit too high, which provided for an uncomfortable way of eating.
The à la carte mains on the menu where all quite expensive, hovering between €25 and €30, the autumn set menu however was an excellent deal, at slightly under €38 for a four-course meal.
We opted to try out the Autumn menu, both starting with a salad with some cheese croquettes, followed by a sweet potato soup with cheese toast, as a main we were served a game stew with red cabbage and mashed potatoes however for the dessert we both decided to try something different while Timothy tried out the stewed pears I went for a more classical tarte tatin.
Usually if you choose a menu the different courses are smaller to allow for an easy digestion, we were surprised however that here they served full sized portions so we were really stuffed by the end of the evening, not even able to completely finish up our desserts.
Another oddity was that we were served three extra side-dishes along with the main, boiled potatoes in their skin, fries and some more red cabbage. Even though this appeared to be standard along with every meal it did seam off to us as we already had sides on the main plate itself and as the portion sizes where very generous we were not able to finish up our extra sides.
Another fun gimmick was their tablet to select wines, you could enter the parameters of the meal you were having and you were given some wine options to choose in between that would fit your meal. Thanks to this we had a nice bottle of rosé wine which we enjoyed drinking.
Breakfast was served in the main restaurant, luckily in the (relatively) early morning when we went for breakfast it was very calm. The buffet offered something for everyone, there were a number of different types of bread and pastries at the entrance, a bit further on you had a cold area with different types of cold cuts, cheeses, salads and spreads.
In the back there was a live kitchen where you could order eggs your style as well as a number of pre prepared hot dishes like scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, hash browns, American pancakes and typical Dutch ‘poffertjes’. A bit further there was a display with different juices, smoothies and yoghurts, some more Dutch sweet cakes and Timothy’s favourite item, a fresh orange juice machine.
All in all we had a very nice stay at the Van Der Valk Hotel Hoorn and if their other hotels are of the same standard I surely will be looking into them on a next visit to a Dutch city.
Are you planning on visiting some place in the Netherlands soon? And have you stayed at a Van Der Valk hotel before? And if so how did you experience it? Let us know in the comments below!