“ Address: Locht 117 / 5504 RM Veldhoven / Netherlands / Tel: 31 40 2537475 „
Although this hotel is set in acres of countryside, it's surprisingly easy to find the NH Hotel Koningshof Veldhoven. As the name implies, it's situated in the town of Veldhoven, next to the Eindhoven ring road, but it doesn't have direct access. That's not a problem though. As soon as you leave the A2 motorway at the Veldhoven exit, you follow the sign for Koningshof. Follow an arrow-straight road for a mile or so and you can't miss it.
It's around 15 km from Eindhoven city centre, and a similar distance from the airport.
This 4-star hotel (built in 1977 and renovated in 1999) is a sprawling complex of several two and three-storey buildings set in 79 acres of forested landscape. Its main purpose seems to be as a conference centre (in fact, it has 100 meeting rooms), but with 538 bedrooms they were somehow able to squeeze a couple of non-conference types in.
Parking for a hotel which is spread over such a large area means that it can be quite a distance from your room to where you're parked...in actual fact, it's a long way from the car park to the reception, although there's plenty of space to unload your luggage at the main door.
The reception area can only be described as cavernous (without the rocky walls and seeping dankness) - I've been in smaller shopping malls. The area around the desk was spacious enough, but there were scores of massive sofas grouped around tables in various partially screened off areas. Ideal for more informal meetings, I expect.
No problem checking-in - we had pre-booked and pre-paid so it was a matter of a quick signature and a key handover. Well, it would've been, if finding the room didn't require a crash course in cartography!
We had to walk along a variety of corridors for what seemed like half-a-mile before we even got to the elevator which took us to our third floor room...well, it took us to the corridor our room was on. Sheesh! By the time we got there, it was all I could do to stop myself flopping on the bed and giving it some zeds.
To be fair, the receptionist, who was very pleasant and spoke excellent English, went through the map in great detail, pointing out the restaurants, bars and other facilities, and the fact that different wings were colour-coded. Still, it was a bit of a trek.
Actually, while I'm talking about the corridors, I must just mention that they were some of the widest and most spacious corridors I've seen in a hotel. There were also lots of open spaces where the one corridor met another. These were laid out with tables and chairs so that, I imagine, the weary trekker could rest their aching limbs for a moment or two before continuing their journey.
The room was well worth the hike. Decorated in pastel shades of lemon and cream, there was a deep-pile, gold coloured carpet which was in very good condition. The pale shades of the walls and the large window kept the room bright during daylight, and there were plenty of wall lights, a table lamp and a standard lamp to keep us illuminated in the evening. Not much of a view from the large window though, just a grassy area with the hotel's sports complex in the middle.
Our room was fairly large, with lots of space for moving around in without bumping into each other. We had twin beds, which were comfortable but maybe a tad on the smallish side, and these came complete with a couple of mints...so we weren't going to starve. Extra pillows too, which was handy, and these were surprisingly comfortable.
The desk/unit had a strange, pink-coloured mock-timber veneer which was quite nice, but just a little weird looking. This had a couple of drawers and a fridge which, for the life of me, I couldn't open. There was also an open-plan wardobe affair with a full length mirror in between. Two easy-chairs completed the furnishings
The small TV was on a shelf (though thankfully, not one of those ones near the ceiling where you risk serious neck injury trying to watch TV), and we had 20-odd channels with both BBC1 and 2, as well as several English language channels which had Dutch subtitles. We also had a kettle with tea and coffee sachets. Excellent heating, but no AC that I could see.
The bathroom was a decent size although there was no tub. It was completely tiled in off-white with occasional blue stripes to break the monotony, and was well-lit. The shower was a spacious, walk-in type and the water-flow was excellent with lashings of hot water. The towels were massive, as well as being soft and fluffy, and there was a nice collection of toiletries in small, corporate-logo bottles and packaging. These consisted of gel, shampoo, conditioner, cute little bars of soap and sponges. The bathroom also had a hair drier fixed to the wall.
The room, bathroom, and indeed the hotel in general, were spotless and in an excellent decorative state.
Regarding amenities, as mentioned earlier the hotel has its own sports complex. This includes an indoor heated swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, a full size gymnasium, fitness studio, sauna and sun beds. In the surrounding woods there are hiking, biking and jogging trails.
Considering the size of the place, and the fact that there aren't many other options within easy walking distance, I thought the restaurant/bar options were severely restricted. The hotel has two restaurants (which aren't exactly huge) a bar in the sports complex, and an 'Abbey Bar'. As far as I could make out, neither of the bars served snacks and they didn't seem to promote room-service to any extent. We therefore had a look at the menu in the 'Portico' restaurant which specialised in Mediterranean cuisine - I thought it more of a glorified pizza-parlour myself...albeit one that didn't serve pizza!
Didn't fancy it, so we went out and grabbed a pizza in town instead!
Obviously, I had to check out the Abbey Bar (purely for research). It was very nice and had the feel of an old abbey - especially as one side was completely glazed and looked out onto a courtyard that suspiciously resembled a cloister. But never mind that, I was hoping the reason it was called the Abbey bar had more to do with what was on sale rather than any architectural or ecclesiastical connection. And I was in luck. They had a good selection of Belgian Abbey Ales, which helped to pass the evening away, In fact, you might say I ended up well passed.
In conclusion, I was quite impressed with this hotel. The room was comfortable and reasonably well-equipped; the hotel had a good range of amenities (although somewhere serving light snacks would've been appreciated); and it was quiet and secluded. It's not really a tourist destination and the abundance of meeting-rooms testifies to that, but it's well situated for a stopover and I was completely satisfied with my stay.