One big hotel choice for organisers on the Dutch coast is the long-established five-star and family-owned and managed Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin, perched up on the beachside dunes at the seaside resort of Noordwijk am Zee (pron. Noord-vike) Noordwijk is close to Leiden, destination for the bulbfields and the famous Keukenhof flower gardens, and within 40 minutes travelling from Amsterdam and The Hague, as well as Schipol and Rotterdam airports. It lacks the overt drugs and prostitution scenes of Amsterdam, which many organisers will see as an advantage for their events.
The Huis ter Duin offers a total of 254 modern bedrooms, including 20 suites and four penthouses, and many enjoy stunning sea views. Those craving the fresh ozone hit and heady uplift of the sea air (always a good reason for choosing a seaside venue) have 13 kilometres of attractive beach walks to choose from in Noordwijk alone, which will be warm and welcoming in the summer months, bracing in the spring and autumn and sometimes freezing cold in the winter, with the possibility of stimulating gale-force winds and sandstorms stinging the cheeks, as we found on our recent visit last month. For organisers wanting more bedroons the adjacent Palace Hotel, now a Radisson Blu, has another 100 which can be used.
Conference spaces number 19 in all and give nearly 30 combinations, from a boardroom for 12 to the first-floor Picke Suite for up to 1050, divisible into three with the combinations also giving spaces for 250/250/300/650/650, and featuring a car lift for those big automobile events. Other large first-floor spaces are the Kaiserzaal for 400 and the Tappenbeck Foyer, which can cope with up to 600 for a reception. On the second floor are eight Panorama meetings rooms for 40/40/40/50/60/60/80/80, all capacities for theatre-style unless otherwise stated. There is also a nightclub in the basement for 150 for a buffet dinner and 250 for a reception.
One other notable room is the Van Herwaarde Lounge, based on the ground floor and accomodating 40. This was dedicated, in 2009, to the Dutch artist, designer and fashion photographer George Stanislaus Van Herwaarde, 1938-2011, who specialised in painting bright and colourful pictures of the sad 17th century Italian clown Pierrot, sometimes using himself as a model, and with an animal such as a dog or cat. Pierrot’s big heart was broken by his love Columbine, who he foolishly trusted, when she dumped him for Harlequin, or so the story goes. The hotel’s owner, Marian Noorlander started collecting the sad Pierrots in 1991 and now has around 30 canvases, most of which are displayed in the hotel’s public areas and the dedicated lounge, including the artist’s last work, left unfinished when he died in 2011 and hanging over the fireplace in the bar. The hotel decor is now themed around the bright paintings, with reproductions of detail in the bedrooms. Music fans eating in the hotel;s La Terrace restaurant might notice The Seeker’s hit ballad “The Carnival is Over” on the background music CD playing, with the lyrical couplet “For the joys of love are fleeting/For Pierrot and Columbine”. Doubtless they’ll wonder, like us, if it’s deliberate and listen out hopefully for “Cathy’s Clown”, “Tears of a Clown” and “Send in the Clowns”.
Note Two of the hotel’s three restaurants will be reviewed in the March and April issues of Event Organisers Update. To visit the hotel, either on an individual basis or as part of an invited group please email to Coen van Veen, Area Sales Director at [email protected] or telephone +31 (0)71-365 1215. Web: huisterduin.com