The Duke Hotel
This time, I’m taking you to a city the name of which is a real tongue twister for foreigners…’s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch for short)! But don’t let this scare you off, for it’s a great city! And Mrs. Local Hideaways would know, having lived here for ten years. As you will understand, I have lots of sweet memories, of which living together for the first time and the birth of our first child are the absolute highlights. And to think that I am actually from the northern half of the Netherlands and insisted on a trial period before definitely wanting to move to this city in Brabant! And, yes, people often made fun of my pronunciation of ‘houdoe’ (the local dialect for goodbye) and my rolling ‘R’ ;-).
Den Bosch has all the ingredients for a wonderful city trip: a gorgeous old city centre with the intriguing river the Binnendieze and St. John’s Cathedral, a magnificent highlight. And the Bossche Broek, a beautiful nature area is also a mere stone’s throw away from the centre. But it is the wonderful atmosphere in the city centre, which is dominated by quaint and lovely little boutiques and a multitude of bars and restaurants, that makes den Bosch a particularly unique place. For this is where you will find that genuine Brabant hospitality and warmth, and where everyone, whether young or old, goes out for a nice time in one of the city’s cosy establishments. The one thing Den Bosch was lacking was a Local Hideaway…for none of the many hotels met Local Hideaways’ requirements. Until, one day, I read about a new hotel in town; The Duke!
Its location is phenomenal, right across from St. John’s Cathedral, around the corner from the Parade (Den Bosch’s large, central square) and right in the middle of the shopping heart of the city. You have to look carefully where to go, for the building also houses a luxury gym, and you may think you have come to the wrong place. But the clear and very cool directions inside the building show me where to go. Check-in is quick and easy and I’m taken to my room….the St. John Suite. And then I fall silent. Boy, in the ten years I have lived here I have obviously seen the Cathedral many, many times, but never from this perspective. So very cool, a genuine room with a view. The rest of the suite is also gorgeous, lovely colours and high-quality fabrics determine the atmosphere. There is a wonderful king size bed and a stylish sitting area with some great rough industrial elements that were preserved after the extensive renovation: this building used to be the post office. The room comes with a spacious bathroom with separate bath and large rain shower. The brass taps stand out in particular, as do the organic toiletries, especially selected by Floraa.
The contents of the minibar are also surprising; rather than the standard contents, it is filled with a lovely choice of organic bites and drinks. All rooms are equipped with an Illy espresso machine and tea making facilities…..always an added bonus! And if you’ve had enough of staring out the window at the lovely Cathedral , there’s also a docking station for your favourite music and a television with Netflix.
Now, I can hear you thinking: “hmm, they will of course have booked Mrs. Local Hideaways in the best room….but what about the standard rooms?” Well, let me tell you, they have been checked and found highly satisfactory, for they are all equipped with a wonderful bed, especially designed for The Duke, a lovely bathroom with similar bath amenities and brass taps, television with Netflix, minibar, coffee and tea making facilities…..but they are somewhat smaller and don’t have the John Suite’s spectacular view. There are also two junior suites, one of which has a balcony, and a mega large The Duke Suite, which, in addition to a separate bedroom, has an extra living area with kitchenette. The glass walls in this Suite provide a stunning view of the city.
Den Bosch is full of wonderful places to eat and, that evening, I enjoy a lovely dinner at Bistro Tic tac. This restaurant, that belongs to The Duke’s owners, specialises in Black Angus Steak and rotisserie…..delicious and in such a cosy little narrow room! And the next morning, a generous breakfast awaits me…..all sorts of tasty organic foods and, if you wish, a fresh egg to go with it.
The Duke is a real asset for Den Bosch, not only because of its gorgeous and original decoration, but especially because of the ambitious entrepreneurship displayed by the young owners and their staff. They represent a new movement in the established restaurant business in Den Bosch and have a cosmopolitan view of how to run their hotel, displaying a keen eye for detail! They have enthusiasm and energy in spades and this is what makes The Duke a genuine Local Hideaway!