An interview with lucky prize winner Anne Reidy

Do you remember Anne Ready who won the picture contest during #IMEX14? Well this March she collected her dream trip to Holland and of course I asked her all about it!

Anne Reidy

Was it your first time in Holland?
No it was my second
 time.This time it was completely different than the first time I came over. 

You spend time in Amsterdam, The Hague, Noordwijk and Rotterdam. How did these cities differ from each other? 
They are all very different in style and atmosphere and each offer something completely different.

What was your favourite moment of the trip?
Awe that’s a difficult one – I think if I had to pick one it was our corner suite at the Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin (plus I have a soft spot for Noordwijk).

Would you recommend Holland as a meeting destination?
Yes definitely – easily accessible from outside of the Netherlands, fantastic public transport – efficient and modern and good size meeting venues and hotels.

What is your overall impression of Holland as a business destination?
I was very impressed and cannot recommend it enough to my clients (and have been). I already have received proposals from Beurs van Berlage & de Doelen.

Thank you for my most amazing weekend! Everyone was very welcoming, we were thoroughly spoilt and have some lovely memories – and all just because I got into bed with Mr Holland!!

It was our pleasure Anne!

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Holland’s first King’s day: a tourist’s review

Do you remember the Facebook competition a while ago? You were able to win a trip for two to Holland during King’s day weekend. Daise Graca from Grass Roots was the lucky winner. Curious as I am, I asked her all about first Orange madness experience.

Daise Graca

How did you experience King’s day as a tourist?
I had a great time in Amsterdam on King’s Day! The whole city was dressed in Orange, and everyone was in a party mood.

Could you explain in your own words what King’s day is all about? What can other people expect?
King’s day is the people’s celebration of the King’s Birthday. It’s a major celebration that takes place everywhere in Holland, and in particularly in Amsterdam, by the form of a massive street party.

Where did you go and how did you spend your weekend?
I went to the centre of Amsterdam, to the flea market and went to a party at the RAI Amsterdam.

What was the funniest/greatest part of your weekend?
The funniest part was to see babies and adults dressed up in the orange colour.

Did you try any Dutch foods? Did you go on a canal boat? Did you wear the orange outfit? What was the weirdest outfit you saw on the streets?
I’ve tried a lot of the Dutch dishes and I was particularly found of the chocolate chips you spread on the bread (Mr. Holland: hagelslag!). The weirdest outfit was someone dressed as an Orange! We joined the party and also wore Orange t-shirts. See the picture at the beginning of this blog post!

Will you come back in the future to celebrate King’s day with the Dutch again?
I will definitely go back to celebrate King’s Day.

How did you like your stay at Novotel? What, would you say, are their USP’s?
The Novotel offers very modern facilities, with internet hubs in the lobby and an amazing variety for breakfast.

Would you recommend Novotel?
I will definitely recommend and use the Novotel for my client’s conferences.

An interview with.. Stephan Stokkermans – Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin

Last March, during the Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama chose to stay at Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin in Noordwijk. How exciting for a hotel manager. I talked to commercial director Stephan Stokkermans about this very special guest. 

Stephan Stokkermans and  United States Secretary of State John Kerry

Stephan Stokkermans (left) and United States Secretary of State John Kerry (right)

The Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin was chosen to be the residence of the U.S. President during the NSS. How did this decision come about?
The organisation of the NSS was in the hands of the Dutch government in general and the ministry of foreign affairs in particular. They booked approximately 8,000 rooms for all delegations. The embassy of America explicitly picked the Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin based on location, capacity and quality of the rooms and halls.

How much preparation time did it cost from the beginning to the actual visit?
During the first quarter of 2013 the ​​selection of hotels was made. From September on we drafted plans along with the embassy and the White House.

Did President Obama comment on his stay at Huis ter Duin?
Both President Obama and state secretary Kerry were very enthusiastic about the hotel. In particular, they found the facilities and location to be very impressive. In fact, the seaside setting reminded them of Cape Cod.

What are the differences between hosting a delegation and “any other group”?
The Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin has a rich history hosting international meetings of multinationals, the European Union and NATO. Those meetings are attended by several delegations and they come with an extensive conference program. In this situation, the focus is on the temporary residence of a head of state and his support services. Which was reassuring, but given the importance of the delegation we did feel a serious amount of pressure.

Beast at Grand hotel Huis ter Duin

What were the biggest changes you had to make for safety or comfort?
The greatest challenge was to create additional offices for support services for the White House. Next to that there were, of course, additional security measures taken by the Dutch government to ensure the safety of the American delegation.

What kind of food did you serve President Obama?
One of the fun parts was the initiative of our chef Marcel van Lier, awarded with a Michelin star, to serve some exciting amuses with a typically Dutch touch.

What have you learned from this experience?
Each and every event inspires us to continue to improve our services and facilities. One of the enduring improvements we have made was definitely the ICT structure of the hotel so we can better respond to requests from large numbers of users.

If you could choose one famous person you would like to welcome to your hotel in the future, who would that person be?
For sure, welcoming none other than the President of the United States is a highpoint for every hotelier. We feel even more connected with the United States through our membership of Preferred Hotels & Resorts. However, regardless of which guest we welcome or whatever their positions or nationalities may be, we’d be determined to exceed expectations.