St. Regis

St. Regis hotels and resorts is a brand for luxury hotels and part of Starwood hotels. The name originates from the famous St Regis Hotel in New York City, built in 1904 by Colonel John Jacob Astor IV, and located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street ( would he have started 100 years later, I presume he would have named it “555”). Unfortunately The Colonel perished with the Titanic.

His daughter was married to a Russian prince, Serge Obelensky, who brought fame to the hotel .

The site of the original St. Regis, at Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, was a residential neighborhood when Astor broke ground for it in 1902. He wanted to create a hotel where gentlemen and their families could feel as comfortable as they would as guests in a private home; in fact, he frequently used The St. Regis as a place for his personal guests and visiting relatives to stay at his invitation.
For their comfort, Astor introduced such “modern” conveniences as telephones in every room, a fire alarm system, central heating and an air-cooling system that efficiently predated modern air conditioning and allowed each guest to control the temperature of his room. Mail chutes were installed on each floor, a newsworthy innovation at that time. One of the hotel’s other novel features was a special design “for the disposition of dust and refuse” – one of the first central vacuum systems. All maids had to do was plug their vacuum cleaner’s hose into sockets situated throughout the hotel.

Throughout its history of nearly a century, St. Regis Hotels have invariably attracted the most glamorous, creative and intriguing personalities of each era. In New York alone, Colonel Serge Obelensky, the Russian Prince who had been a page at the Czar’s court before he escaped the revolution and grew up to marry Alice Astor, was associated with the St. Regis for many years; Marlene Dietrich, William Paley and his wife Barbara (“Babe”) lived at The St. Regis as did Salvador Dali and his wife Gala; and actress Gertrude Lawrence instructed her agent to arrange all her press appointments at The St. Regis.

Reading this, I thought: “Maybe “Des Indes” in The Hague will be renamed “St Regis Des Indes”…”

Source: St Regis History

Dutch red tape: Rules Rule

Victoria Hotel Amsterdam

Hotel Victoria in Amsterdam, also known as the Amsterdam Park Plaza Victoria Hotel, originally built in 1890, was subject of a very strange decision wherin the Dutch “Raad van State” ruled that the entire hotel qualified as a monument, while only the front, the stairs and a few windows still are original and the rest of the hotel dated from 1988 when the hotel had been rebuilt entirely behind its facade.

The Raad van State is the ultimate legal body that decides public law cases as opposed to private law cases that are decided ultimately by the Dutch “Hoge Raad” (Dutch Supreme Court).

Off course the hotelier in question is not happy at all: whenever he wants to replace a washbasin from 1988, he has to ask permission from the Dutch Monuments Board, while buildings from 1988 rarely qualify as a monument,….

Renovation of Wilhelmina Hotel and Beach Hotel Duinheuvel in Domburg almost ready

By coincidence we stayed at the Wilhelmina Hotel in Domburg, province of Zeeland, on May 5, 2005, which is Dutch Liberation Day. It was celebrated as a holiday (once every 5 years it is a holiday, as it is already some time ago that we were liberated….ever heard of the stingy Dutch?). Consequently the adjacent Beach Hotel Duinheuvel where family of us stayed, was entirely booked, but there was a room available in Wilhelmina Hotel. However, it was possible to have a sumptuous breakfast together in the Gallery of Beach Hotel Duinheuvel.

Ontbijt in de Gallerie

Such breakfast is an experience as all guests are draped around a very expensive piano and all sorts of paintings look upon your fresh eggs. The artwork exposed is for sale.

We actually bought a nice bronze of a dancing lady as a present for our dancing daughter who was going to graduate from the Rotterdam Dancing Academy. (How happy a hotelier can be ;-)).

We stayed in one of the renovated Wilhelmina rooms. Very clean, wooden floors, all amenities available and a pleasant atmosphere.

One of the owners is the third generation of the family that operated Wilhelmina Hotel.

Together with his partner, the one who mainly operates the Art Gallery, he bought the Beach Hotel Duinheuvel a couple of years ago. Wilhelmina has been renovated in 2004 and now the renovation of Duinheuvel is almost ready.

I loved the location just two steps over a dune from the beach. The Coasters heading to and from Antwerp sail so close to the coast there, that you can almost touch them.

Service is friendly and very professional.

Carlton Ambassador in The Hague

The Carlton Ambassador celebrated the 10th anniversary of operating in its present format.

In 2004 Mr J. Schoon published a small history (ISBN 90-9018992-0) of the Ambassador. Already in the 19nd century the hotel was set up and operated by Mrs Geertruida Vos, a daughter of the owner of the then famous hotel “Zalm” (Salmon) in Gouda – yes Gouda is one of the cheese centers of Holland – which hotel Salmon was one of the first hotels in the Netherlands.

Mrs Vos was very successful and therefor her nickname became “Goudvosje” (“little Gold Fox”).

Until 1973 the property was operated uninterruptedly as a hotel by the same family, lately under a great grandson of Goudvosje, Mr Anton Krulder.

Between 1973 and 1994 Mr Krulder let the property to an institute that housed former psychiatric patients. In 1994 he sold the property to Hotel Management International that operated 4 Carlton hotels in The Netherlands.

After a thorough renovation of 15 months, the Carlton Ambassador reopened as fifth Dutch Carlton Hotel on March 10, 1995.