Blooming Hotel is a place that’s so self-consciously wacky and creative that you can’t help thinking it wouldn’t hurt if they toned it all down a bit. From the stripy carpets in the meeting rooms, to the gravel beds in the bar and the stuffed ball pouffes in reception, it’s not so much a visual feast as a visual assault.
After staying for two days I was still not entirely sure what the Blooming was supposed to be. It was hosting a lot of business meetings and workshops, had a large number of meeting rooms, and the meal service seemed to be set up to serve large and mid-sized groups. Our bedrooms were decidedly ‘minimalist’ in their facilities, rather more like student accommodation than a place you’d want to spend your holidays. I just can’t imagine Mr and Mrs Dutch Tourist putting their kids and their buckets and spades in the car and going to the Blooming to spend their holidays surrounded by loudly braying execs being creative and stomping around the breakout rooms.
We arrived around 1 pm on the Monday and went straight for lunch. The lunch room offers a pretty spectacular hot and cold buffet but it’s an extraordinarily loud place to be.
Our meeting room was very large and had lots of natural light with big windows and views over the woods. The temperature was good, the facilities we’d asked for were all provided and food and drink kept appearing throughout our stay. For our breaks there was a room next door with an excellent coffee machine, on tap scalding hot water for teas and plenty of different teas and herbal infusions all provided.
For an evening group activity we had something called ‘Bubbles and Bites’ which was sparkling wine testing with oysters and a chance to make our own sushi.
Everything else about the hotel had been pretty good but my room was really poor and disappointing. Looking at the hotel’s website afterwards, I learned that they have 124 rooms classified into NINE different types. I’m sorry but that’s just plain ridiculous. These range from the tiniest – the so-called ‘just me room’ for single occupancy up to two enormous suites. I would guess that ours were either ‘small rooms’ or ‘basic rooms’. Either way they were small and basic and I felt like I’d been put in a slightly upmarket student room. For just one night it was manageable but I really would have hated to be there much longer. There was really no space for anything with the TV, room safe, pull out desk, and a book shelf full of books (in Dutch) all squeezed into a unit in the corner. I could find no cupboard or anywhere to hang anything so it’s good that I was able to live straight out of my suitcase. The bed – despite being a bit small – was exceedingly comfortable which was a nice surprise.
The bathroom was tiny but well presented with a grey stone sink that you’d never want to have in your home because it’s utterly impractical and you’d have to spend half your life trying to keep it clean. The shower had a rain-shower head but the power wasn’t really up to the challenge of delivering the monsoon experience.
Despite the really good mattress and bedding, I didn’t sleep especially well because the noise from both outside and from the corridor was really annoying, with lots of people stomping around at the end of the evening and first thing in the morning.
In summary, the meeting room was good, the food was excellent and the staff were friendly and helpful, but if you are there for more than a night or two, I’d strongly advise to check really carefully what you’re getting for the different room types. If you’re in one of the ‘just me’, small or basic rooms, you’ll get an experience that’s more ‘youth hostel’ than luxury hotel. As a venue for training or off-site meetings, it’s well equipped but it’s hard to get my head round the idea of this place as a holiday venue. I’d also recommend to only consider it if you’ve got your own transport and can get out and about a bit. A taxi to or from the station will cost you about €20 each way.
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