As we made our way down the narrow cobbled street in the Latin Quarter of Maastricht, the first glimpse I had of our hotel was an aqua blue light coming through a small street-level window. I peered inside and saw a Romanesque arched vault that housed the hotel’s swimming pool. It turned out the hotel also doubled as a swim and sport club, offering a range of classes and activities in its pool and gym for guests and visitors alike – water yoga, aqua zumbo, bozu and Jane Fonda aerobics classes, to name a few. But we had come here with relaxation in mind, not exercise! So we quickly ignored the hotel’s facilities and instead focused on getting to our room – and the promised “extra long” beds.
The hotel is housed in a beautiful historic townhouse dating from 1680. As we entered the lobby we were greeted by a sea of bright white – all-white walls, ceilings, floors and furnishings – a modern interior that was a stark contrast to the building’s façade. This theme continued up the narrow staircase to our Urban Room, located on the top floor under the mansard roof. More like a studio apartment than a hotel room, our home for the weekend was extremely spacious and bright with large mansard windows casting streams of natural light that beautifully showcased the minimalist contemporary design and décor.
Nominated for best new interior design at the international Great Indoors Awards, the hotel’s design features are characterised by a maximum use of space and generous proportions. Our room contained a spiral staircase leading to a large landing that contained an open wardrobe and storage space. The bathroom was among the largest I’ve ever seen in a hotel room, complete with a luxuriously huge glass shower and L’Occitane toiletries. On the other side of the landing was the bedroom, another sizable space with a widescreen mirror along one wall that cleverly disguised the television screen inside. Then there was the extra long bed which was so inviting, especially given the wet weather outside. I couldn’t resist a quick trial, and found myself ensconced in a fluffy and oh-so-comfortable duvet. It took all my willpower to get back up. The city of Maastricht was waiting to be discovered.
We were greeted at the front desk by a very nice lady who offered to carry our bags to our room for us. I declined her offer in an attempt to maintain some semblance of manhood, but immediately regretted my decision when we reached the stairs to our room. The stairs spiralled towards the roof and were incredibly steep.
I struggled with our luggage all the way to the top, and was welcomed to a large, bright, white room with a longer than normal queen size bed. The exposed beams on the roof were a nice contrast to white that surrounded them, and made the room feel even more spacious. The placement of the television was brilliant. Hidden behind a large mirror on the wall, the television magically appeared through the glass when I switched it on with the remote control. It’s a great space-saving design feature that is not only aesthetically pleasing but has the wow factor as well.
The rest of the hotel was equally impressive. Downstairs I heard some loud cries coming from a room at the end of a hallway and discovered a group of kids being tossed around by their classmates in a judo class. It was quite a surreal experience – here I was visiting the Netherlands, staying in a Japanese-inspired hotel, watching Dutch children learn judo from a Dutch teacher, in a gym that overlooked a Japanese garden.
Further on by the reception desk I noticed a large group of people disappear behind a white door. I followed them and a large current of heat blew over my face. I could instantly smell chlorine and knew immediately there was a pool nearby. I walked down some stairs through an archway and in front of me was a beautiful pool that looked like it was carved into the foundations of the hotel like an ancient roman bath. It was lit up like a disco and changed from blue to red to green and everything in between. The lighting complimented the space perfectly and turned the pool area into an oasis for families trying to escape the cold outside. It almost made me wish I’d brought my board shorts…
Zenden Design Hotel
Sintbernardusstraat 5, 6211HK Maastricht