My wife and I booked into this hotel/restaurant, through booking.com, for 3 days as we were visiting family in nearby Purmerend. Before we booked I read the reviews for the hotel on TA and they were largely very positive. The salient points were the idyllic location the good food and the friendliness of the staff in what is a family run establishment. Great stuff!
We arrived on probably the hottest day in northern Europe for donkey's years. We left home near London at 6.30am and arrived about 12 hours later having been delayed at Brussels Midi station for over two hours (all those who think that railways on the continent run perfectly take note). We had taken a bus from Amsterdam Central Station to Edam Bus Station and then took the short walk along the canal to the hotel. Naturally we arrived soaked with perspiration and fairly tired as we are spring chickens no longer.
We were "greeted" by Karen who I gather is part of the owning family. Trying to be objective, perhaps it was the heat or it was busy (it didn't look it) or there were staff problems, whatever. Karen was not in the slightest bit interested in the fact that we had just travelled for half a day in oppressive heat and was dismissive, offhand and unfriendly making it quite clear that she wanted to get us into a room as quickly as possible. Firstly she showed us a small room with a double bed against the wall which we rejected. The only other alternative was a slightly bigger first floor room (previous reviews do reflect room sizes) which was stinking hot with the windows firmly shut. She agreed to provide a fan.
We were tempted after our reception to eat elsewhere but as it was just gone 7pm and we were very tired we decided to eat there. Obviously we wanted a bit of time to sort ourselves out and suggested 8pm for a table to Karen who clearly wanted us to eat earlier. "OK 7.30-8" she said (clearly more concerned about staff's rather than guests' needs). We managed to get to a table just before 8 in their lovely spot right alongside the canal with little or no help from the staff who waved disparagingly towards an unoccupied table. Then service had to be acquired rather than offered to us unlike a Dutch couple on an adjoining table who were attended to briskly, pleasantly and efficiently.
Needless to say none of this augured well for a three night stay. However things bucked up in the shape of the cuisine which I have to say was excellent and a young very pleasant male member of staff (barman I believe) produced a bottle of perfectly chilled white wine and a well stocked ice bucket. Naturally things took on a rosier complexion although we were not looking forward to a night in the very hot room.
Sure enough we did have a pretty sleeplessness night during which I was quite sick (I don't blame the hotel or the food for that). Come the morning and I felt I could eat a small breakfast. The buffet was adequate and the inside restaurant area is very atmospheric and typically Dutch. Again though the young female member of staff was offhand and irritable. The good news was that a battalion of portable air con units had appeared overnight and Karen was slightly more affable. Unfortunately though we'd also been saddled with a bed dumped in the small hallway right outside our room.
That evening we had intended to eat elsewhere but the alternatives were limited and unappealing so we again ate at De Fortuna. The food was, as the previous evening, superb as was the wine (different barman - minimal ice). On both nights the restaurant was very popular and is clearly and unsurprisingly a favourite with the locals. We again went to our room with trepidation as the air con unit had steadfastly refused to be set at a low temperature and kept returning to 31 degrees which is no good to man or beast. Thus we were stuck with another fan, graciously supplied by Karen, which could have been the reason for another night with stomach pains, nevertheless it was virtually sleepless.
The next morning, after breakfast, I approached Karen's brother-in-law and explained the difficulty and the fact that we would not be staying for the third night. He was very understanding, pleasant and helpful and showed us a larger room in a small house in the grounds but we had decided that enough was enough particularly as there was no guarantee it would be any cooler. Initially he said that he would still have to charge for the third night as we had booked through booking.com and they would charge him (lesson for the future) but later he very graciously said that he would only charge half for the third night which we agreed upon.
This is one of the most difficult reviews I have done and I have couched it in very careful terms and as accurately as possible because I have some sympathy with the owners who have gone for years without the sort of heat we experienced (1976 was the last I think). The staff problems are more difficult to explain as some of them were fine but others clearly disgruntled. Whilst we were there there was a furious lengthy staff row within our earshot which left the male owner looking understandably quite sheepish. Thus I have rated the hotel as VG because in the right circumstances and temperature I am sure it would be a perfect play to stay especially given it's lovely convenient location.
The individual ratings reflect our personal experience but I would not for one moment dissuade anyone from staying at De Fortuna provided temperatures are normal, including the staff's!
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