My trip last month to The Hague was a result of a mishmash of several different possibilities location-wise. Europe is like that. You can get anywhere by train from your landing and/or stationing points, which makes it difficult to choose where to go and what to see. I’m not one for grand excursions lasting weeks, so time and careful planning were of the essence.
I started in Paris as my landing and departure point. At the last minute, I decided to go northeast to The Hague in the Netherlands.
I had only visited the Netherlands once. I was in Amsterdam, we called the country Holland, and the currency used was the gilder. A day trip to Amsterdam was my minor segue into Dutch culture. I was 17.
For my second visit, I settled on The Hague, a city located in the southwest part of the Netherlands. It offered salty air from the North Sea; reasonable pricing on hotels, restaurants, and shopping; and pristine streets.
Pinning a dart on an Orbitz hotel location and only having days to rearrange my itinerary, I decided on the Hotel Petit in The Hague. It looked good from the reviews and I like it when hotel managers respond to Tripadvisor rants and raves. The hotel could also accommodate my last-minute change of plans.
I couldn’t have made a better choice.
According to their Web site, the hotel is comprised of two mansions built in 1895. I like old things and collect old photos, postcards, and vinyl records. At home, I live in a pre-war building. I’m used to character, quirks, and a lot of historical charm.
Emma, the manager, as well as all of the employees at the Hotel Petit couldn’t have been more welcoming. I received personalized B&B service at a Best Western chain hotel.
My room was on the third floor and had a single bed; a few creature comforts such as a TV, refrigerator, and snacks; a large bathroom; and strong Wi-Fi service that was included in the stay. I was checked in quickly and promptly given an orientation to The Hague.
The service and hospitality at the Hotel Petit goes far beyond a hello, nod, or a Hopje (coffee-flavored hard candy) laid on the pillow. Becoming oriented to a new town is difficult, especially if you don’t know the language. Yes, everyone in The Hague seems to speak English as it’s the center of politics (local and international) for the Netherlands, but learning a few phrases in Dutch can prove to be helpful when attempting to blend in and meet people.
I immediately asked about local transportation to the beach and city center. The Hotel Petit is not located in the city center, but is close to everything whether traveling by foot, tram, bus, or cab.
I was issued an OV Chip Card for bus and tram service for five Euros along with instructions on how to reload it and where. Many grocery stores allow you to “top up” your OV Chip Card and you can also add money at the kiosk at Centraal Station. I was also sold a map for an additional five Euros and given explicit directions to where I wanted to go, eliminating the need for my iPhone other than for Instagramming my way around town.
My stay of four nights was peaceful and comfortable. The Hotel Petit is located in the heart of the embassies, which made me feel at home like I was in Washington. From a customer service standpoint, I had my tourist-related questions answered. I was pointed to the 24 bus to get to city center; given directions to get to Scheveningen, the well-known beach resort for The Hague; and taught how to navigate the tram system, located four blocks away. (The Line 3 to Loosduinen will get you close to the Hotel Petit according to Google maps, but the 24 bus will get you closer. I learned this quickly.)
I only ate breakfast once at the hotel. It was simple, fresh, and ample. A few posters on Tripadvisor called it expensive, but at 10 Euros (including a rich-tasting coffee) I found it to be more than reasonable.
For the value, I found the Hotel Petit to be safe, clean, and quirky in its old-world-yet-fashionable way.
One morning, I left the hotel late and got a glimpse of a room that faced the rear of the hotel. Not only did it have a larger bed, it also had a sofa and small terrace with double doors. I was told by hotel staff that the rooms in the back were more peaceful than the rooms in the front where I was staying because they overlooked a small garden and not the street.
Happy with my stay, I told Emma that I’d be booking a room in the rear of the hotel on my return visit.
Note: Concerned about the hike to the third floor while staying in a historic building? There is elevator service at the Hotel Petit if you need assistance. While I took the stairs every day to my third-floor room, it was nice to know that elevator service was available for hauling luggage.
Interested in snaps from The Hague and Amsterdam? Visit the photo gallery.