Having only ever visited Amsterdam previously, getting to know other parts of the Netherlands this month was quite a (cold, but wonderful) treat. Until earlier this year, the most I knew about Rotterdam was everything The Beautiful South had taught me (read: not a lot bar some lyrics that my dad gets intense pleasure from repeating during any impending visits), and The Hague was somewhere completely new to me altogether. So, although it was short but sweet, I’ve pinned down some of my favourite hubs from each place, to hope to maybe inspire any future visits!
Our first stop was a night in The Hague, the ‘5 minute city’ (as several people referred to it to during our stay)- with near to everything (including the beautiful blue coastline) being all but a 5 minute ride away (which makes a 20 minute walk along Oxford Street feel very long indeed). The city is the home the the Dutch royal family, government and embassies- making, as you may imagine, the architecture incredibly beautiful and regal (great for those Instagram shots when the buildings look like perfect dolls houses)- and it’s history rich and hugely fascinating. As well as nods to incredible culture, The Hague boasts a brilliant art and design scene, with The Mauritshuis gallery home to golden age artwork, including Rembrandt and a certain Girl With The Pearl Earring (with it’s decor reminiscent to the beautiful Wallace collection, too)…
But let’s talk food! We also squeezed in a dinner at the amazing Mama Kelly, which is every bit as amazing as it’s branding and typography let’s on to (yup, I’m that guy). With it’s menu being based around a Lobster/Chicken option (similar to Burger & Lobster), everything on the menu is freshly homemade- and accompanied with an interior to rival it’s second-to-none sticky toffee pudding- there’s no wonder this place is booked up every evening. Finally, if you’re looking for a place to rest your head in The Hague Marriott Hotel couldn’t have been more perfect. Although I’ve mentioned before about big hotels feeling a little corporate and old fashioned, this central hub was everything other than that. With each bedroom decked out in Scandi-inspired minimal furniture (there’s some serious #lampgoals here, if you’re interested)- the hotel rooms oozed a boutique feeling with the comfort of a large hotel (knowing you can grab some room service, or a drink at the equally beautiful bar is always a charm)- and I’d seriously recommend a visit to anyone planning a little weekend around The Netherlands.
Next, was a trip to Rotterdam- certainly a more modern city (there’s plenty of more new and contemporary buildings here), but another thriving city in design- and one absolutely worth a stop by. I’ve always solely (and probably a little ignorantly) only considered visiting Amsterdam when in the Netherlands, but knowing how close everything is (you can pretty much get from Rotterdam to Amsterdam by train in a couple of hours)- I’d definitely consider doing a little round tour of Holland next time- and recommend anyone to do the same too. We stayed in The Manhattan Hotel Rotterdam, a Marriott hotel opposite Centraal Station (yup, it’s very convenient), but also hugely luxurious, with possibly the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in (so much so, Kristabel and I both stayed in bed for an extra half an hour as to not leave it’s ‘cloud-like’ dreaminess). Also, although a small feature- it’s breakfast buffet was possibly one of the loveliest I’ve had (with a fresh herb garden so you can prepare your own mint tea too- such a cool idea)!
In terms of exploring, lunch was hosted at the delicious Bazar, a North African/Middle Eastern restaurant, boasting incredible sharing plates (think hummus, falafel and fresh Turkish breads) and a wonderful, vibrant atmosphere- perfect for whiling hours away. We also visited pop ups of both Dr Rotterdam (an amazing speakeasy underground bar all themed around traditional prescriptions and remedies with their cocktails, ahem) and The Harbour Club– both of which were pop ups during our visit to the tennis (another part of our adventure), but both have amazing bases in central Rotterdam and are absolutely worth noting down. Now, although I sadly didn’t have time to visit the below, I’ve also added a handful of recommendations to some other must visits below too if you ever fancy swinging by- I’m already planning another visit so I can tick these off!