A Dam fine weekend

Cassandra Boderke visits a venue once wrecked by Rolling Stones fans

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 6th January 2013, 11:30 am

WHEN it’s spring again, we’ll bring again tulips from Amsterdam, goes the favourite song.

But why wait until spring to visit Holland?

There’s plenty to entertain throughout the whole year, especially in the winter months when many of the world’s hotspots simply shut down.

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Just a short hop by plane will deliver you to a winter wonderland of music, arts, shopping and, of course, nightlife.

And when the weather can be unpredictable, it’s even more important to choose hotels where the standard of comfort and service can be guaranteed.

We sampled two of The Steigenberger Hotels And Resorts jewels – The Steigenberger Kurhaus in Scheveningen, a piece of history itself, in an elegant seaside resort, close to historic The Hague, and the bang up-to-date Steigenberger Airport Hotel, on the outskirts of vibrant Amsterdam.

The Steigenberger Kurhaus offers five-star luxury and a wealth of unique features. Dating back to 1818 when it opened as a bath house, it became a hotel in 1885, only to burn to the ground a year later. Thanks to the indomitable spirit of the Dutch, it was rebuilt just a year later.

The imposing building hides a wealth of imposing features, combined with a range of rooms which are everything you would expect from a five-star hotel.

Step inside and it’s instant wow factor with the magnificent Kurzaal concert hall opening up in front of you. Declared a Dutch national monument it’s now used mainly as a restaurant, although orchestral concerts are still staged.

Edith Piaf thrilled crowds here, Marlene Dietrich and Frank Sinatra took the stage, too, and The Rolling Stones, almost 50 years ago, unfortunately led to the wrecking of the stage, when over-excited fans, eager to see the emerging group’s first gig outside the UK, swarmed over the hall, flinging torn-off backrests, armrests and even seats. Management bear no grudges, and would be delighted if The Stones would return in 2014 to finish the gig. (They managed only two songs before mayhem broke loose).

The hotel guest book reads like a who’s who from the last 200 years with stars, politicians, artists and royalty signing in.

Handily placed just a short distance from The Hague, and opening out on to the beach, the Kurhaus attracts holidaymakers, those in search of a short, luxurious break, and, of course, politicians. Hilary Clinton was a recent guest.

It prides itself on offering a perfect combination of history, tradition, and the highest levels of personal service.

Don’t miss the experience of an evening meal in the Kurzaal. Sip a cocktail, or splash out on Cristal Champagne, as a pianist demonstrates the fantastic acoustics with a selection of tunes made famous by the stars who have performed there.

Then take your seat in the restaurant and marvel at the magnificent gilded and painted surroundings.

Enjoy the very best in culinary offerings, combining classical and modern themes to reflect the local area and the Royal Hague.

After the meal, a short stroll will deliver you to the Crazy Pianos bar, tucked away near the hotel. An eclectic mix of songs and live entertainment to suit people in their twenties up to the nineties.

Next day, make the short trip into The Hague which, as well as being a Euro politics hub, has a superb range of historical buildings, galleries and museums.

The hotel can arrange a guided tour of the town on request, and can also offer lots of suggestions on what to visit and where to eat.

But if you’re in search of a more lively break, head for the bright lights of Amsterdam, where the Steigenberger Airport Hotel has modern rooms and restaurants, with marvellous food, and a swimming pool and spa to relax after your journey.

For guests concerned about sustainability, there’s an entire carbon neutral floor with Green and Fairtrade rooms.

Despite its closeness to the airport – there’s a free shuttle bus to the hotel - soundproofing ensures there is no noise, so a peaceful night’s sleep is ensured.

The hotel makes a perfect base for people who want to get out and about, enjoy the late-night bustle of Amsterdam, and then return to more comfortable surroundings.

Amsterdam is a short trip away.

Spend the day shopping, browsing in its many galleries and museum , hire a bicycle if you’re feeling energetic, or take a canal boat ride to find out more about the history of the place.

Evenings can be as lazy or as hectic as you like.

Pop into a traditional bar for drinking songs and lager, seek out a cocktail bar with cabaret, or simply wander the streets drinking in the atmosphere.