As my boyfriend had received a Bongo voucher for a hotel stay as a Christmas gift we decided to try it out for a weekend getaway. Browsing to the list of available hotels on the Bongo website we didn’t encounter many interesting properties. In the end we settled with the Paping Hotel & Spa in rural Ommen in the Netherlands as it offered a pool and wellness facilities.
Getting there was a bit over two hours by car and there was easy and plenty of parking at the hotel. It was also located right next to the Ommen train station, so a visit by train is also perfectly possible.
On the outside it looked like a typical Dutch post World War II rural villa. Check-in was swift by a very friendly girl behind the counter, explaining us everything we needed to know. We already could make reservations for a single time complimentary use of the hotel’s pool and wellness facilities and could get some pool towels from the hotel reception.
Even though I had mailed in advance for dinner reservations in the hotel restaurant and received a mail to confirm this, not only did we find out this wasn’t the case but also that the hotel restaurant was closed and that we had to have dinner at the sister hotel ‘De Zon‘ near the riverside further down the street. Luckily the girl at the reception managed to quickly set things straight and got us a reservation for dinner.
For dinner we picked the chef’s five-course menu, the food was delicious but we felt as if we came from the ‘cheap’ hotel and service treated us like second tier customers.
At the reception we received news that we were given a complimentary upgrade to a Junior Suite, which we thought was a nice gesture, until we got to our room. The room was relatively spacious and had everything you needed, a comfortable bed, a TV, some seats and tables but everything was put in there to be put in there but not really featuring a thought through concept.
The design itself was dated and had the charm of a hospital room. Further more there was an air-conditioning unit in the room but it wasn’t very effective in getting in to cool down, there were two ventilators in the closet however. No coffee or tea facilities where provided.
The bathroom was also a very basic affair, everything was very off-white. There was a nice and big bath tub and an acceptable shower, just the sink could have just more and better designed storage space to put your toiletries.
The bathroom, just like the room just felt like it hadn’t been updated since the hotel’s construction in 1979. The hotel did however do the effort of trying to improve by using upscale looking Zara Home toiletries in multi-use dispensers, which had a nice scent. Unfortunately the ones in our room where empty when we arrived, a slight oversight by housekeeping who should have made sure they were replenished. Luckily a quick visit to the reception desk solved it as the very friendly girl immediately fetched us a new set of bottles.
Of course we were looking forward to make use of the hotel’s spa and pool facilities, getting there was not the most straightforward as you first had to go down to the basement to climb up to ground level again. They surely are not disabled accessible.
The pool was a saltwater pool, which surely was interesting. There was a built-in whirlpool but as the general water temperature was rather low it was not very inviting. The pool itself also had seen better days as the stairs where beginning to deform and made it tricky to get in and out. The infra-red sauna was ok, we tried it for a few minutes. The sauna and the steam room where in a different area where there were also a number of loungers to relax. We didn’t try either as the smell coming out of the steam room really did not us invite in. Just like the rest of the hotel the wellness facilities where in a sorry state and really felt like a return to a few decades back.
The hotel is doing its best to improve as the bar and restaurant area have been freshed up in a newer, more contemporary style and peeking into other rooms along the corridor some seem to have been refurbished a bit.
In the morning breakfast was served in the restaurant area, it was a rather basic affair but it had some hot items like eggs, bacon and sausage, some breads, coldcuts, fruitsalads and yoghurts. There were of course also juices, tea and coffee. It was nothing special but it was good.
In the end we had an okay stay at Hotel Paping, it just left us with a feeling that a Bongo voucher is a poisoned gift.
If it weren’t for the voucher we would never have selected this hotel in the first place, as it is not really our taste, yet know we were kind of forced to pick the least bad from a list of mediocre properties. The Hotel Paping surely isn’t the worst place to stay, it is immaculately clean and the staff is very friendly and caring. The hotel just could use a thorough freshening up and it could be so much better, it isn’t a lost cause.
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