Review: Stadhouderlijk Hof Hotel in Leeuwarden

Photo by Moniek Bloks

A hotel review on a site about historical royal women? Indeed! This hotel once served as a royal palace and was in the possession of the Dutch royal family until 1971.

The original building dates from 1564, and it was built for Boudewijn van Loo, who was the rentmaster-general for King Philip II of Spain. It became the residence of William Louis, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg (known as Us Heit or Our Father in the province) and his wife Anna of Nassau in 1587. It continued to be owned by the stadtholder family through inheritance for a while. The so-called Dekama-house was added in 1603, and in 1709 it underwent some reconstruction under architect Daniel Marot. For the arrival of Anne, Princess Royal, it also underwent some reconstruction. In 1743, Carolina of Orange-Nassau was born there, but she and her family moved to The Hague not much later.

The most radical change happened in 1881 under architect Stoett, and most of the original facade disappeared. A new entrance with a balcony was added, and the original bricks were plastered in white. In the 20th century, it was the official residence of the King’s or Queen’s commissioner before it was sold to the county of Leeuwarden in 1971.

The Fletcher hotel settled into the building in 1996.

I stayed in one of the royal suites for two nights, and my room was the one directly above the entrance with the balcony overlooking the square. The hotel also has a newer part with more modern hotel rooms. I paid €424,30 for two nights, which includes €36 for one night of room service. As opposed to the newer rooms, which come with electronic keycards, the older rooms still have an old-fashioned regular key and a rather flimsy lock. Unfortunately, my first impression was not that good as the carpet in the hallway and the room was filthy. At first, I thought, maybe they just haven’t had time yet to clean it up or replace it, but the reviews on Booking reveal that comments about the filthy carpet go back to at least October 2018, so they’ve had three years now.

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The suite itself is pretty big at 48m2 (516 ft2), and it is divided into the main living room, a bedroom, a separate toilet and a bathroom with a bath. The bath was supposed to come with bubbles, but the mechanism to turn that on was covered in mould and did not appear to be working. This, too, appears in the reviews as far back as March 2020. I liked the size of the bathroom, though, and there was plenty of room to put all my beauty stuff. Unfortunately, the complimentary toiletries mentioned on their site were not present, unless they mean the pump with the hair/body wash that you can find in every single hotel room.

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The bedroom was a good size, and it had a lovely soft mattress. There was space to store my suitcase and a large closet, though it did not have a locker like most hotels seem to have these days. Some of the netting around the bed was hanging loose.

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The living room was by far the largest space, and I had brought my book about Carolina with me to “take her home.” Sorry, still a history geek at heart! The couch was pretty comfortable, but it could have used a few cushions; I don’t usually sit upright like a Princess when trying to relax.

Photo by Moniek Bloks

The other side of the room had a glass table and two chairs, which seemed far too modern for the room, but they were comfortable at least. There was also an espresso machine which came with four free capsules, but you could buy more if you wanted to (how generous of them!). Finally, there was a huge empty cabinet beneath the TV, which would have been perfect for a little mini-fridge or mini-bar, but alas, neither was provided.

Photo by Moniek Bloks

On the second night of my stay, I ordered room service. The hotel worked with an app, which seemed very convenient to me, but unfortunately, the app continually cancelled my order, so I ended up having to order over the phone anyway. This went well, although I was momentarily confused by the simple “Hello” after reception connected me to the restaurant. I would’ve gone with, “Hello, this is the restaurant” or something. However, the employee was quite friendly otherwise, and the two employees who brought the food were friendly and cheery as well. I ordered a salmon filet, which was delicious.

Like the salmon, the breakfast was delicious as well. There was a buffet with plenty of choices, though if I did have to mention something I noticed, it would be that there were no markers in place with vegetarian/vegan or common allergies. The employees were very friendly, despite the early hour.

Overall, this hotel, or perhaps more particularly this suite, did not live up to my expectations. I would’ve expected a bit more luxury and maybe a bit more focus on its royal past for the price. My suite was supposedly called the “Anne of Hanover” suite though there was no mention of this anywhere in the hotel or the room itself. The filthy carpet and broken bubble bath mechanism should have been fixed when the first reviewer mentioned it. The other historical spaces in the hotel did not appear to be in use for hotel guests, and the breakfast room was in the bistro in the newer addition of the hotel. The best part of my stay was the food.

If you still want to stay here, I’d book one of the newer rooms. Perhaps these are better value for money.

About Moniek Bloks 2734 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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