I stayed in the Hotel Merici on a recent vacation because of its architecture and convenient location. I was very happy with my choice.
As other reviewers have noted, this hotel is located in a former cloister that has been extensively and tastefully renovated. Touches of the old building remain in the high ceilings, arched windows, beautiful wooden staircases, and (in a few places) old tiles. Primarily, however, the building has been decorated with warm mocha and beige walls, sleek furniture, and modern lighting fixtures that nevertheless evoke an earlier era. Instead of bland "hotel art," the bright hallways contain large photos mounted on unframed canvases showing Sittard-area scenes that juxtapose old and new architecture: exactly what is happening so harmoniously with Hotel Merici.
One cautionary note: this building is truly in the middle of a very old city, which means that the views from the rooms are of the other buildings nearby. The nearest building is a lovely cathedral (unsurprisingly, next to a former cloister) that nevertheless looms very large when it is viewed at very close range out of the hotel's windows. If you are looking for wide open spaces and a bucolic view, this hotel will not be right for you. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a hotel of distinctive architecture that is a few steps from the main market square and pedestrian-only shopping district, the hotel's location couldn't be more perfect.
One reviewer noted that parking was a "bit removed" and that it required some walking. In fact, while the entrance to the parking garage is 3 blocks away, the private parking area for the Hotel Merici is entered by driving 3 blocks *underground* back towards the hotel, with the result that the parking spaces are approximately 30 feet from an elevator directly into the hotel! So, once you learn the "trick" of how to get in and out of the private parking area, parking is extremely convenient to the hotel and does not, in fact, involve much walking.
I must say, however, I was glad that I talked to the front desk about arrangements for the car prior to our arrival. Parking needs to be reserved separately from the room, so she took our parking reservation at that time (10 euros/day). She also advised me to drive directly to the hotel to unload our luggage and receive instructions for getting to the private part of the municipal parking garage. There is one VERY IMPORTANT point regarding driving to the hotel which I was very glad that she mentioned: one needs to drive down a one-way street in the wrong direction! The front desk attendant reassured me that this breach of traffic rules is allowed when going to and from the hotel; and the street is quiet enough so problems are unlikely. Had I not spoken with her in advance, I would have been very frustrated with trying to get to the hotel. (Google maps did not handle this situation very well, as you might imagine.)
Based on these preparations, our arrival went smoothly and check-in proceeded quickly. The friendly front-desk person gave us very clear directions to the parking garage so parking was accomplished quickly, as well.
Our room made an excellent first impression. The large bed was topped with a comfortable, thick mattress pad that completely eliminated the problem of falling into the "crack" between the 2 separate mattress/box spring sets by stretching across the two sections. (Yay! I wish more European beds would take this approach!) Reading lights and controls were convenient for reading in bed and a desk alcove was perfect for setting up my computer. The rock-solid, free internet was very much appreciated. The room temperature controls were responsive and we were able to warm the room quickly during the day then cool it easily for sleeping under the thick featherbed comforters.
I only had one small quibble with the room set-up. Our room's bathroom consisted of a sink (open to the main room) with a shower on one side and toilet on the other. Both the shower and toilet areas were entered via frosted glass doors. Unfortunately, the doors swing out past the sink, which means that I couldn't use the sink when my husband wished to enter or leave either of the other compartments. If they had made the doors swing out towards the room, that problem would have been much diminished. There was no tub in our room, but the shower was roomy and it was nice to have a choice of two shower heads.
Breakfast was the best I can remember of any hotel in the Netherlands (and I have been to a number of them). The breakfast attendants cook the ubiquitous soft-boiled eggs plus eggs to order, including fried, scrambled, or omelets with cheese, ham, and mushrooms (or any combination thereof). The buffet tables contain rolls, croissants, crusty loaves (both white and whole grain), and crisp cracker-like breads; all the makings of open-faced sandwiches (slices of cheese, ham, and chicken, plus tomatoes, cucumbers, and vegetable relish); fruit, yogurt, cereal, high-end jams (strawberry, cherry, apricot), Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread), hagels (chocolate sprinkles), and more. Besides coffee and tea, they noticed that we drank a lot of water and brought a 0.75-liter bottle of mineral water to our table.
One sunny afternoon we asked if they had a terrace we could sit on, and they opened up their outdoor drink service area just for us. Another evening, we hosted drinks for our friends in the sophisticated (indoor) lounge area. Our friends were very impressed by the attentive service and the "prachtig" (wonderful in Dutch) atmosphere.
The front desk personnel also helped me address a small dental problem: a gold crown fell out on the Friday night of our stay, and I asked them to help me find a dentist who could replace the crown on Saturday morning (not an easy task). They located a dentist who could see me, patiently gave me very detailed directions so that I could find the office, and then inquired upon our return whether everything had gone OK. I find that exceptional requests, such as finding an off-hours dentist, often test the limits of a hotel's service, and Hotel Medici came through with flying colors.
Restaurant tips: we enjoyed both Restaurant Dafne for Greek food and Chinese-Indische [Indonesian] Restaurant Hong Kong, both of which are in the market square (Markt), extremely convenient to the Hotel Merici.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Merici Sittard is an unusual accommodation, as the 4* hotel is established in a beautifully renovated cloister in the beating heart of Sittard. The sounds of the city barely permeate the thick walls of the former Company of St. Ursula Cloister. The name 'Merici' comes from the founder of the convent order: Angela de Merici. Between 1843 and 1946 girls were schooled in the hotel's adjoining buildings. Merici is one of the seven special monuments in the Cloister Quarter.Every morning, Hotel Merici serves a delicious breakfast buffet in the former refectory with live front show cooking. A romantic picnic hamper or a practical lunch box can also be ordered on request. The hotel operates in accordance with the Green Key Label, an international hallmark. Hotel Merici strives for a healthy environment, and opts for the use of sustainable products and the employment of energy saving measures. As such, organic, fairtrade and regional products are used wherever possible.The #a la carte restaurant Wine & Dine serves heavenly dishes, and is just 75 m from the hotel. The restaurant has an intimate outdoor terrace on the atmospheric and historic market square. It is also possible to have a drink and a small bite in the hotel's lounge & bar. After a lovely day you can enjoy a wonderful slumber in hotel rooms comprising of harmonious furnishings. All rooms are equipped with airconditioning, free WI-FI, excellent beds, LCD flat-screen TV, safe, Nespresso coffee facilities and a spacious bathroom with rainshower and seperate toilet. The rooms come with a minibar, stocked on request. A complimentary bottle of water will await you in your room upon arrival. Hotel Merici also has an underground in-house car park, a bike/scooter hire and shuttle service. You can request information about fares at the hotel.The historical Dominicanenwal city wall is near the old canals and visible from the rear of the Hotel Merici Sittard. From the front of the hotel, you can easily walk to the Basilica, the Oude Markt and the pleasant shopping area. By train it will take you 40 minutes to reach the exuberant city of Maastricht. Sittard train station is a 10-minute walk from Hotel Merici. Roermond, Dusseldorf, Hasselt and Antwerp are also interesting cities to visit in the area. The German Eifel (low mountain range) or the Belgian Ardennen are wonderful places for walking, no matter the season. Snowworld Landgraaf is a great place to go skiing, while the Thermae 2000 in Valkenburg and Carolus Thermen in Aachen are a blessing for both body and soul. ... more less
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