Set in the beautiful eastern part of the Netherlands, De Bloemenbeek is a Garden of Eden to those in need of a break. The soothing and nostalgic Dutch style of the estate hotel washes a sense of tranquillity over you, especially during an Indian Summer. “The beautiful colours of the trees, the seasonal food, the culture in the surrounding cities; it’s like you are living in a fairytale,” says Raymond Strikker, owner of the family business.
TEXT: MICHIEL STOL | PHOTOS: DE BLOEMENBEEK
Given its location in Twente, the green buffer between the Netherlands and Germany, busy city life seems a world away. “The nature here does not look typically Dutch. The landscape isn’t as flat here, sometimes it’s even a bit hilly,” explains Strikker. Major cities, brimming with rich culture, are just a stone’s throw away. For example, there is Enschede, a lively city where you will find art, festivals and music. “A must-see there is the Rijksmuseum Twenthe, with classic works of Jan Steen and Pieter Brueghel,” enthuses Strikker. “And close by, in Delden, the No Hero Museum is also definitely worth a visit; visual arts from five continents, from a world history perspective. It’s amazing.” If you are a fan of the holiday season, then you should hop over the German border to Münster. From late November, you can visit the famous Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Markets). “The whole of the old inner city is a sea of light. With over 300 market stalls selling mulled wine, food, jewellery and craft items, it is a day well spent.”
A beautiful season
The autumn months are also wonderful for wandering through the nature reserves that are scattered throughout this region. “It is the perfect place to enjoy an Indian Summer. The area is full of woodlands. Their colours changing with the seasons provides wonderful panoramas.” Walk on amazing pathways through the forests and meadows, and stop at one of the many estates, like the Singraven Estate or Twickel Castle. “This castle is still occupied, but you can take a look inside.” In October, the area hosts the biggest outdoor event in the country: The Military Boekelo. This equestrian extravaganza is attended by over 60,000 people. “It is where business meets pleasure. Here, you can have meetings in our hospitality unit, enjoy the ‘joie de vivre’ and watch Olympic medallists compete afterwards.”
The season is also a culinary highlight due to harvest time. In the De Bloemenbeek restaurant, you can discover the Michelin star-awarded gastronomy of chef Michel van Riswijk. “Van Riswijk has been working here for 31 years already, but keeps surprising us. Together with chef de cuisine Matthijs Mulder, he combines French-Mediterranean cuisine with plenty of local products and delicacies. At this time of year, the deer rack is exquisite. Actually, many delicious things, such as herbs, naturally pop up on the domain.”
After a busy itinerary, a comfortable room is what you will crave the most. “We don’t like the sterile, modern interiors which most luxurious hotels swear by today. Instead, we opt for a contemporary classic vibe. We just stick with the romantic style our guests expect here and adore. Today, we are the best hotel in the region, the seventh-best service-providing hotel and the 12th-best hotel overall in the Netherlands, according to TripAdvisor. That means we must be doing something right, no?” smiles Strikker.
The nostalgic style suits De Bloemenbeek like a glove. The building has a 110-year history of offering top-notch hospitality. 53 years ago, Strikker’s father took over the business and turned it into the personal yet luxurious oasis it is today. “We keep investing in our infrastructure to ensure no chance of deterioration.” Recently, artist Maureen Knobben redesigned four of De Bloemenbeek’s suites. Her work is well renowned and part of the Dutch Historic Art Archives. “Each suite has its own unique, colourful style, based on her own work. Truly masterpieces in their own right,” asserts Strikker.
If the rooms and the restaurant are not enough, you can always re-energise yourself at the fully equipped spa. “If the pool, the saunas and the steam room don’t do the trick for you, a visit to the in-house beauty parlour will surely help you get rid of that last bit of stress.”