While winter in Europe is in full swing, the days being short and dark, everyone prepares for Christmas and I work a lot in the restaurant (December is busy. Lots of functions, end-of-the-year dinners and a huge wedding) we found it time for a tiny tiny 1 day and 1 night-holiday in Groningen. This beautiful, old city, is located in the very northern part of the Netherlands, not far from the border with Germany. This part of Holland is less crowded than the busier Western part and the areas around the 4 big cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, Utrecht) is. Although I love to live in a city, I miss the days in sleepy and quiet Franschhoek (South Africa) too. Therefore a city with the surroundings of farmer’s land, meadows and cows is perfect for a little getaway! This, plus the fact that good friends of us live in Groningen, made us make our way toward the high North recently. We enjoyed our stay in the beautiful Prinsenhof Hotel during a very cold (freezing!) weekend so much. Today I will show you some photos of pretty Groningen and De Prinsenhof.
Martinikerkhof and De Prinsenhof hotel. Dreamy, just like a fairytale.
The Martini Tower is the icon of Groningen. With it’s 96,8 meters it’s the highest tower of the city, and connected to the Martini Church.
This statue next to the Martini Church and tower, facing the Prinsenhof Hotel and Martini Square.
Opposite the Martini Tower and Church, on the other side of the Martini Kerkhof, you will find the Prinsenhof Hotel; a five star hotel in a historical building, with all comforts, luxury and facilities of the modern world.
There are 34 rooms in the hotel, which are all different in size, setting, historical details. The common thing is that they are all comfortable, luxury and cosy. In most hotels you miss home immediately, but not here. You will feel at home. We stayed on the ground floor, with our ‘own’ entrance from an old city alley, connected to the Martini square, and with views of the tower. The bed was super comfortable (I slept like a baby) and we even had a little (gas) fire place. Lovely! All rooms offer free Wifi, free stocked minibar, Acqua di Parma bathroom products and an iPod docking.
In the morning we woke up like this: because of the frost (no snow yet) there was a thin layer of ice and hoar frost on the grass. What a surprise!
And blue skies, sunshine, with lots of (royal?) birds singing their song on top of the Prinsenhof roof.
The famous Martini tower seen from the courtyard of the Prinsenhof.
Restaurant à la carte, situated in a city wing of the Prinsenhof hotel (views onto the luscious garden!) offers an upmarket dining experience with fine wines, and is open from Wednesday until Saturday evening. One can try the exciting dishes from Chef Gabriel van der Wal, together with the selected wines (both open food-pairing wines – as well as fantastic wine list) of maître-sommelier Mark Lubbersen. All days of the week the Grand Café – next door to the à la carte restaurant – is open for breakfast, lunch and (more casual) dinner. Scroll down to read more about this area of the hotel, and about the delicious breakfast.
Back in the old days (Middle Ages) the building of De Prinsenhof was built and owned by a religious group of people. The Grand Café and breakfast area now, was a church from the early 15th century. Other parts have been built later on. From the end of the 16th century the building was used as hotel/residence for the ‘Princes of Naussau’, a Dutch title for ‘city governors’. That is where the name Prinsenhof (Court of the Princes) comes from. During the same period, they also landscaped the Prinsentuin (the Garden of the Princes). The garden is fantastic all year around, open for guests from the hotel ánd visitors from outside. In the summer months one can visit for tea in the ’tea garden’. In winter, now, if you are just as lucky as we were: you can spot frozen roses! From 2005 onwards the historical building is the Prinsenhof Hotel, a place with 34 rooms, the grand café, the a la carte restaurant, garden, courtyard with terrace and several function rooms and halls.
I was lucky to make this shot of a frozen rose.
The ‘house bubbles’ of Prinsenhof is Ruinart, my very favourite Champagne.
From the courtyard of the Prinsenhof you enter the oldest part (the old church), which now is the Grand Café. We had just breakfast here this time, but one can have lunch and dinner too on a daily base.
The breakfast is fresh, tasty and diverse. One can choose from the continental breakfast and can order eggs (without extra costs) too.
We had fruit, thick organic farm yoghurt, juice, tea, farm bread, cheese, croissant and eggs. Yum! Couldn’t eat any more the rest of the day!
Gardeport (Gate of the guards), where the entrance (that door) to our room was. I loved the fact that we had to go outside first from the main building, to get back to our room! It felt like our own little house in historic Groningen.
De Prinsenhof is located on the Martini Kerkhof in Groningen, the Netherlands.
It’s about 2 hours drive from Amsterdam, and the surrounding of the provinces Groningen and Friesland are breathtaking: lots of space, meadows, cows, lakes, space and farm land.
More information about Prinsenhof can be found on their own website.
Note: I have not been asked, invited or sponsored to write about Prinsenhof or Groningen. It was my own idea as I like the place. All images are mine, made with a Canon EOS M3 camera.