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RS Belgium & Holland Tour

We are considering the abovementioned tour for July or August 2020. Any info or comments on the hotels used for this tour would be appreciated. Also, how does RS tours compare to the larger escorted tour companies [Pros / Cons] ?

Thanks, Jersey Joe

Posted by
8410 posts

I did this tour in April. Here’s a link to my Trip Report which included time in Paris.

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

I thought all the hotels were fine. Did you have particular concerns? I do not know if all had AC as it was chilly in April.

The one in Delft was weirdly decorated. Mine had a kind of creepy aboriginal child on the wall in the bathroom and a snake painted over the bed. It’s the kind of hotel where all tour members kind of do a mass tour to see everyone else’s room, lol!! The location was terrific!

The one in Amsterdam was what I think of as a business class hotel. Bland (particularly since it was right after Delft) but ok. For myself the location was great as it was an easy walk to the Museum district. Others might have preferred to be closer in but that didn’t matter for what I had planned for free time.

I’ve not taken a big bus tour. This was #11 for Rick Steves tours. I’ve also done 10 Road Scholar tours with #11 starting on Saturday. My preference is a tour with around 24-28. Enough so you’ve got a variety of folks to interact with but not so many it takes forever for bathroom stops! I also don’t want too few people.

I like Rick’s (and Road Scholar) tours because they are very up front as to what is covered and both include tips. I like that the bus drivers are part of the group because they are usually really interesting folks as well. I like Rick’s because if there is an opportunity the guides teach you travel skills like managing local transport. I’ve never lived where there was public transport so this is always important for me.

Let me know if you’ve got specific questions.

Posted by
1324 posts

I’ve done several RS tours, and several large tours with way too many fellow travelers. Once I took my first RS tour, I was hooked on touring with smaller groups. The same for cruising. The smaller the better for me.
I can’t speak for the hotel rooms on the tour you are thinking of taking. We only had one bad room on one of our RS tours.

Posted by
1952 posts

Joe, the hotels used for each tour can vary from year to year and also for the same tours on different dates. If you want more specific information, you could give the staff at the Rick Steves Tour Office a call and ask them. I have done many tours and found a wide variety of hotels and what I am just fine with, someone else might not be at all. It's subjective! Keep in mind that besides your first and last hotels, you won't receive a final hotel list until about 30 days before the tour begins to know for sure where you will be staying. Generally, the hotels are, for the most part, located in or very near the center of town, quaint sometimes, quirky sometimes and near public transportation. In my experience, they have all been wonderful, some better than others but all clean with hospitable staffs and very good breakfasts. I bet you will get some answers here from which you can begin to get an idea. I highly suggest you plan for extra time in Bruges and Amsterdam. They are both awesome cities! As others have said, for me the group size is perfect for me-not to big and not too small! Easy to get to know people. They have all been awesome travelers and I have made several long lasting friendships on these tours.

Posted by
65 posts

I loved this tour. One of the reasons I liked it was because the bus rides were only between cities when changing hotels. The first hotel in Ghent was the best (Hotel Harmony). We stayed there three days before the tour started to get over our jet lag and enjoy this smaller city (one day we did a day trip into Brussels, others on the tour flew into Brussels and stayed there first but we liked staying in a smaller city). We did pay a little extra to upgrade our room to one with a view of the canal for the days before the tour and they allowed us to stay in that room once the tour started. I would recommend taking a tram ride from Delft to the Hague to see the Mauritshuis art museum during your free time in Delft.

Regarding other tour companies one thing to consider is the size of the tour. By limiting the number of people on the tour to around 25 but using a full size bus there is lots of extra room (each person can have their own two person row in the bus if they want). Some other companies like Oversea Adventure travel and Odyssey Unlimited also have small tour sizes. I went on a Collette tour which had a great itinerary but the entire bus was full, about 48 people which was too many, and the tour guide was great with logistics but knew nothing about the sites we saw, depending upon local guides but we didn't like that idea.

We were able to do laundry at the hotel in Bruge.