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Holland and Belgium

Considering RS Holland and Belgium tour 2023. Looking to see what hotels were used for this trip. Any other comments would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by
14157 posts

I did this tour in 2019 so not sure if the hotels are the same or not.

Here are my hotel notes from my Trip Report:

Ghent, Hotel Harmony. This was a great canal-side location and a really, really nice hotel. I had 2 nights ahead of the tour here and my room was huge and fabulous. Did not have to move after the tour started which was really nice. Gorgeous breakfast. Fairly quiet room even though it fronted the street and canal. Adding: I've since been back to Ghent on my own. I chose to stay here again because I liked it so much. Still had a great breakfast even after Covid.

Bruges, Hotel Adornes. Excellent location, very nice hotel, very quiet room. Much smaller room than the Ghent hotel but adequate as a single. Nice breakfast. Lovely staff.

Delft, Hotel de Plataan. Yikes. Nicely located but so glad a forum friend warned me that the rooms are weird. Very large but individually decorated along some theme. Mine was Eucalyptus Tree/Australia, painted orange, orange fuzzy bedspread on the round bed, mural of an aboriginal child staring at me in the shower and a giant snake over the bed. Room was large but dark so I didn’t unpack much as I didn’t want to have to hunt for stuff. Stairwells and entrance area could have been cleaner but my room seemed clean enough. In spite of the weirdness, the bed was comfortable, shower hot and hotel quiet.

Amsterdam, Hotel Espresso. Basic business type hotel. Well-located near the Vondelpark and Museumplein. I spent my free time at the museums so this location was excellent for me. Pretty quiet in spite of it being on a main thoroughfare. Adding: I'd probably not choose to stay here again as it was fairly charmless but it was fine for a tour hotel, had elevators and AC, lol.

Here's a link to my Trip Report. I went in April because I wanted to make sure I saw Keukenhof Gardens.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tours/trip-report-rs-belgium-holland-4-6-4-16-2019-plus-time-in-paris

This is a wonderful tour!!!!

Posted by
771 posts

We just did this tour in September, and all the hotels were the same ones as Pam mentioned, and I agree with her descriptions. They were all in good locations.

For the hotel in Delft, we had a tropical decor. Blue/greens, with large seabirds painted on the ceiling. Different, but fine.
Hotel Espresso in Amsterdam was fine for the tour, but after the tour we moved to NH Museum Quarter, where we met up with some friends for several nights.

It's a very interesting tour, both from a history perspective and an art perspective.

We spent two nights in Brussels pre-tour, and four in Amsterdam post-tour.

Edited to correct the source: Pam, not Jane.

Posted by
6362 posts

VA from VA, did you mean Pam?

We did this tour about 10 years ago, before the tour began in Ghent. At the time, it began in Brussels, and only did Ghent as a day trip en route to Bruges.

Our Bruges and Delft hotels were the same as Pam's, and were fine. In Amsterdam, we stayed at the Alexander, which we enjoyed very much. The rooms were quite small, at least ours was, but the location was great and the staff helpful and friendly. The hotel was near the Vondelpark, in walking distance of major museums, and very close to the airport bus stop.

Posted by
771 posts

Oops! I did. Thanks for catching that, Jane!

I'll edit my post. Sorry, Pam.

Posted by
14157 posts

Haha..I’m honored to have been confused with Jane. We do joke that we are possibly sisters!!

I’ll message you with a question about your post tour hotel choice in AMS.

Jane, good to know where you stayed too. I like the Vondelpark area as it’s less frantic than some parts of Amsterdam.

Posted by
1389 posts

“ Any other comments would be greatly appreciated.”

Well, since you asked…. I will admit I was a bit miffed seeing my country referred to as Holland instead of the Netherlands. But then I checked the itinerary for this tour and indeed it’s only Holland that’s visited on this tour. What a shame! Please don’t get me wrong, the cities you’ll visit on this tour are beautiful, but there are equally beautiful cities outside Holland. Just like there are beautiful historical cities in the French speaking part of Belgium.
I can only hope that this tour gives people a taste of the Netherlands and Belgium and inspires them to come back to see more of our countries. I’m more than happy to help those interested plan their trip.

Posted by
14157 posts

"I can only hope that this tour gives people a taste of the Netherlands and Belgium and inspires them to come back to see more of our countries."

Yes, I think this is the point of many of Rick's tours. They give a quick buffet of what might be available to pique people's interest. I had a lead guide and an assistant on this tour in 2019, one from Netherlands and one from Belgium and they did talk about other parts of their countries. And they did explain the terms Holland and Netherlands as well as Flanders and Wallonia.

I believe the guides in UK have a similar gripe...one of those tours is called Best of England when it really should be Best of Britain since it includes time in Wales.

Posted by
1389 posts

“I believe the guides in UK have a similar gripe...one of those tours is called Best of England when it really should be Best of Britain since it includes time in Wales.“

Well, my gripe is quite the opposite really. Since this tour completely skips Wallon, I believe a more correct name for it would be “Holland, Flanders and Brussels”. But that’s probably taking the whole confusing institutional structure of Belgium a step too far :-)

Posted by
14157 posts

Actually, it doesn't go to Brussels except many people fly in to there and make their way to the tour start city on their own.

Certainly didn't mean to offend. Just pointing out that others have issues with the naming of tours.

Posted by
1389 posts

I know see it indeed doesn’t even go to Brussels. What a shame and in that case it should definitely be called “Holland and Flanders”!

Sorry OP for taking your topic off topic. If anything I hope this inspires people to look into the parts of the Netherlands and Belgium that this tour skips.

Posted by
6362 posts

The tour used to start in Brussels. The year of the subway bombing there (2016) they had to make a last minute change, and moved the first group meeting and stay to Ghent. (I have a friend who was on that tour, and had already arrived in Brussels for some pre-tour sightseeing! She and her husband had to do some last minute plan changing.) Evidently, starting the tour in Ghent seemed to work out well, and as far as I know it has started there ever since.

When I took this tour, Ghent was only a day trip of a couple of hours (or would have been, if two of our tour mates hadn't decided to go shopping.... Long story there.)

Posted by
111 posts

I am on this tour scheduled for April 24, 2023. The last hotel is Hotel Die Port van Cleve which is near Dam Square. This will be my first time in Amsterdam. I will probably stay another 2 days after the tour. Any thoughts about just staying in this same hotel?

Posted by
14157 posts

@Lori...interestingly (or not, lol) I had my return Covid Test in May done literally around the corner from this location on Molsteeg. There was quite a bit of road construction in this location as they replace sewers or something so the tram stops were slightly messed up but it will have been a year by the time you travel so things might have been sorted out.

I'd go ahead and book as long as the cancellation policy is acceptable then that will give you time to figure out your plan. This looks bigger than some tour hotels so you might not run into the problem with them being booked out with tour members but that can be an issue. On this last tour a couple were changing hotels for 1 night at the tour hotel was booked for an extra night.

Posted by
418 posts

Jersey Joe, I took this tour starting March 30, 2022. It was the second Holland and Belgium tour of the season. The first tour started 2 days earlier. We had a glitch with the first hotel. The hotel staff made a mistake and they didn’t have enough rooms. There were about 6 or 7 of us in a different hotel. We stayed in the Pillows Boutique Hotel. It was VERY nice. We loved our room. It was a 5-10 minute walk to the Hotel Harmony.

The Hotel in Bruges was Hotel Aragon. Nice hotel, good location, but our rooms were pretty tight.

Delft was the De Plataan hotel. We had the Australian Outback room, complete with kangaroos and snakes painted on the wall.

Amsterdam - our hotel was “Die Port van Cleve”. It is right across the street from the palace (which was closed when we were there). The hotel is very convenient to the trolley system. Our room was small but well laid out. We stayed an additional 3 nights and moved to a larger room. It was very roomy with a seating area in addition to the bed and bathroom.

I have a pretty detailed trip report that I posted on May 2, 2022. You might look at that. We enjoyed this trip. The weather was terrible, with lots of rain, wind and even snow. If you decide to visit during Keukenhof season, you will love it. We were a little early. We had lots of beautiful hyacinths, but about 1/4 of the tulips were not open. Every year is different, so its hard to decide when to plan to go.
I hope you decide to take this tour. We enjoyed it.

Posted by
734 posts

I am on this tour scheduled for April 24, 2023. The last hotel is Hotel Die Port van Cleve which is near Dam Square. This will be my first time in Amsterdam. I will probably stay another 2 days after the tour. Any thoughts about just staying in this same hotel?

I just learned that the construction outside the Hotel die Port van Cleve and tram #2 was completed at the end of January! All done - kudos for the fast work. I also learned that the hotel itself is undergoing some renovation that is supposed to be complete by April 1.

Posted by
14157 posts

@ Silas Marner, that is great to know that the construction is done! It was kind of a mess with temporary sidewalks etc but whatever the project was (sewers??) needed to be done.

Posted by
734 posts

@Pam, yes I believe it was sewer replacement and more projects will follow. I know several people had difficulty walking around Hotel die Port van Cleve and crossing the road. The completion there will be helpful to the RS tour groups staying there.