This is my review of my Monday night in the Presidential Suite of the Hotel des Indes in The Hague.
Even by my standards this was a slightly bizarre way to start the week. At Christmas, Starwood ran a private charity auction on behalf of UNICEF. I was offered the chance to bid and this looked the most interesting lot. I bought a night with breakfast and welcome drinks for €300, all of which went to the charity.
This is a bizarre hotel but, to be clear, I really enjoyed my stay. It is very pleasant, once in a while, to stay somewhere that is definitely still part of another age, despite its faults. I think I would stay again if I came back to The Hague.
The Hotel des Indes is 135 years old and now operates as part of The Luxury Collection by Starwood. It has also been an InterContinental and Le Meridien hotel during the last 20 years. Despite the branding, the fact that rooms start at €185 or 16,000 SPG points per night gives the immediate impression that we’re not talking Claridges here.
My first impressions were confirmed when reception only swiped my credit card for €50 (clearly thinking I’d struggle to spend more than that!) and did not even offer to walk me to my room despite having one of the two top suites.
The Hotel des Indes Presidential Suite (which is not really presidential at all) is not huge and does not, in any logical sense, justify the usual €1,500 per night price tag. As with the rest of the hotel, it was redesigned by Jacques Garcia about 15 years ago. The living area is above and below is my canopied bed!
I even got my own outdoor terrace:
It is all a bit bizarre though:
- Look at the top picture of the room. See the TV? That is one of those TV’s you use when giving conference presentations. It is 6 feet off the ground!
- The iPod dock below it only takes the old style connectors
- The coffee machine is an industrial size one and I needed to get a staff member to show me how to get it working
- I had 30 Nespresso pods in the room but only two cups and POWDERED milk
- The bathroom comes with a choice of toiletries – a full set of Molton Brown and a full set of Elemis!
- The heating didn’t work properly (the room was cold as the patio doors to the terrace let in outside air)
- There is one plug socket at the desk
None of this was a huge problem but it took the shine off the space.
The interior decor of the hotel is fascinating. Here is my corridor (those double doors are the entrance to my suite):
The lobby area is stunning. Dark and with a faded feel, but stunning none the less. It is also very cheap by five star European standards. I was genuinely stunned when I saw the lobby bar menu which is priced at UK Holiday Inn levels:
and, looking down:
Breakfast at the Hotel des Indes – a rather modest affair – is served in the lobby. It is like eating breakfast in a St James’s private club – there are never more than a handful of other guests there as this isn’t a large hotel and breakfast runs for 4 hours. It is about as far from a restaurant experience as you can get. I mean this in a positive sense!
There is spa and a swimming pool in the basement but I didn’t get down there during my short visit.
Regular readers will know that I am very fond of InterContinental Le Grand in Paris, and indeed I am back there for an extended visit soon. The Hotel des Indes has a similar vibe, with the advantage of being a lot cheaper because it isn’t in such peak condition.
There is a new Holiday Inn Express a few minutes away if you want glass and chrome and the usual stuff. If you are prepared to put up with its ideosyncrasies, though, I do recommend the Hotel des Indes as a very different break from the norm. Just don’t pay €1,500 for the Presidential Suite!
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