Last week, we headed to Utrecht in The Netherlands for a bit of exploring, and, of course, a touch of luxury (read more about the trip here). At the end of a very full day seeking out the city’s best museums, landmarks, and coffee shops, we headed for one of the area’s best hotels, the Carlton President. Part of the Carlton family, a brand offering luxury hotels across The Netherlands as well as in The UK and Brussels, this was a tranquil and comfortable place to relax after a very long day – and completely made the trip for us.
Situated in Maarssen-Broek, on the outskirts of Utrecht, the Carlton President is a little far from the city centre. But, it’s only a twenty minute drive, or around 30 minutes by bus – which are frequent and convenient in The Netherlands – so it was never much of a problem for us, and being in a quieter location gave us an escape from the busy city centre. Also, Maarssen itself is is a very pretty town along the river Vecht and bordered by the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal, which is worth a look for those with a little longer in the area. Nearby highlights include the Skating Museum, The Netherlands Drugstore Museum, and the picturesque windmills of Westbroekse & Buitenwegse. There’s also a complimentary shuttle service available between the Carlton President and Maarssen train station, Papendorp and Oudenrijn – with free wifi on board – so the hotel is very well connected with the surrounding area.
The leafy exterior of this large hotel complex, set a little back from the main road, was very peaceful, and I imagine it would be fantastic in summer – when sitting outside with a cup of coffee would be a lovely experience. Even in winter, the hotel looked very pretty and seemed immediately like a scene of relaxation. Inside, the hotel is spacious, with a simple but elegant décor which felt fantastically luxurious. Our room, a Superior double, was modern, clean and tastefully decorated, and while it was perhaps just a tiny bit lacking in personality, it made up for that with buckets of comfort. We had an enormous writing desk, cosy armchairs, and plenty of storage space to hide away all our luggage – plus the all-important super soft beds, which were perfect for a rest in total comfort at the end of a hard day’s sightseeing. Luxury is all about the details, and the Carlton President had those covered; from the fantastic range of Duke and Lyle toiletries in the bathroom to the colourful flowers placed in our room. Everything was designed for comfort and relaxation – perfect either of business travellers, which are frequent to the hotel, or tourists on a city break, like us.
If our room was the perfect space to unwind, the hotel’s leisure centre took things to another level. A fabulously decadent space with honey coloured tiles trimmed by Roman pillars and artwork, this was the perfect place to truly relax at the end of the day, and it felt like the height of luxury. The jacuzzi, which is truly enormous, is the highlight of the centre, but there’s also a sauna and Turkish bath to round off the pampering, while a well-supplied fitness centre and a solarium complete the picture for those that fancy it!
In the morning, we were faced with still more pampering in the form of an enormously indulgent breakfast buffet. With a fabulous range of great food, we fuelled up brilliantly for a day of sightseeing. Everything tasted delicious, too – a rarity in hotel breakfasts – particularly the pastries. There were plenty of healthy options available, like oatmeal, fruit and yoghurt; perfect for the more health-conscious traveller or those who don’t want their efforts in the gym wasted. But, I was on holiday, so I made the most of the fantastic selection on offer!
Throughout our stay, the staff were absolutely wonderful. Perfectly polite, incredibly helpful, and so friendly and welcoming. From check-in to check-out, we felt really well looked after and very much at home; staff on the desk always made sure to ask us about our visit and our experiences of Utrecht, which was really nice and made us feel like total VIPs! It really was a very friendly hotel, something I don’t normally expect from larger companies, and we enjoyed every second of our time there.
Although the Carlton President Hotel seems to be aimed primarily at business travellers, and is certainly the perfect space for them, it’s also a very good choice for leisure travellers. Rooms are comfy and modern, the complementary wifi worked very well, the leisure facilities are fabulous and this really was a fantastic place to unwind. We had a wonderful stay, and I regretted that we were only in the area for one night; with such a fabulous place to sleep I could have stayed in beautiful Utrecht a lot longer.
Rooms start from 55 Euros, call +31 (0)30 241 41 82, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website (below) to book now.
Carlton President – Floraweg 25, 3542 DX UTRECHT.
Except where otherwise stated, all images are courtesy of Calton President Hotel.