The Netherlands’ northernmost city, Leeuwarden, is known for its medieval architecture, historic landmarks and laid-back nightlife. Thankfully, the city also has many excellent hotels to stay in, ranging from oh-so-traditional establishments to smaller, uniquely designed boutique hotels. Here’s our pick of the best hotels in Leeuwarden.
The bright bedrooms in this modernised 19th-century mansion make for soothing surrounds. There are nice touches with wooden floors, soft rugs and designer furniture, while the views of the canal’s flower-decked bridges are a bonus. Breakfast is a feast of local specialities such as cold cuts, bread, pastries and suikerbrood (a cinnamon-flavoured, sugared bread). Dinner is also served or you can skip out to the multiple cafes and restaurants along the canal.
Van der Valk Hotel Leeuwarden
4.6/5 (146 Reviews)
Courtesy of Van der Valk Hotel Leeuwarden / Expedia
This highly contemporary, glass-fronted hotel, 3km (2mi) outside the city centre, pushes the barge out with plush, super-comfy rooms and suites in rich shades of dark grey and chocolate brown. Bathrooms are sleek and spacious, with walk-in showers and there’s all-day dining in the à la carte restaurant: take a velvet seat for buttery breakfast pastries and freshly squeezed juice. Allow a decent amount of time to appreciate Leeuwarden’s historical city centre, a manageable 20-minute ride away on one of the hotel’s collection of bicycles.
At this hostel you’ll be staying in renovated cells once home to inmates of the old Blokhuispoort prison. In the heart of Leeuwarden old town, it offers dorms (with shared bathrooms) or private rooms (with, of course, heavy iron doors, concrete floors and bars on the windows). Luxury private doubles have bright white ensuite bathrooms, while public areas lighten up with orange accents and potted plants. Share travellers’ tales in the kitchen, lounge or bar over a cold local beer. Nothing is more than a 15-minute walk away, so after a breakfast of eggs and toast amble off to explore the sights.
Set in a 19th-century Frisian farmhouse, this is a relaxed retreat with 10 rooms in the main house. A further 10 come in the form of contemporary cubes, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the surrounding fields. You rise to a breakfast of fresh, seasonal produce on the terrace (weather permitting) overlooking the lush gardens. A converted stable houses the bar-lounge, a relaxed spot for sipping a local beer. How best to spend your downtime? Cycling through the countryside before sweating it all out in the Finnish sauna.
City House Grande Madame Agaath
3.6/5 (8 Reviews)
Courtesy of City House Grande Madame Agaath / Expedia
This 17th-century mansion in the heart of Leeuwarden radiates a rustic kind of French chic, with cosy rooms of darkwood floors, painted beams, slipper baths and chaises-longues. The buffet breakfast is a wholesome affair made using organic products from local stores: look out for soft breads, charcuterie and zesty juices. Everything is on your doorstep, from shops and restaurants to must-see city sights such as the leafy Prinsentuin park, rolling down to the waterfront, where you can take a walk along the canal.
Roughly a kilometre away from Leeuwarden’s historic centre, this polished, modern establishment has an eye-catching geometrical design that’s unlike any other hotel found in the city. Much like its exterior, the hotel’s 28 guest rooms are inviting and stylish, featuring elegant, contemporary furnishings with light splashes of pastel colours. Aside from its lodgings, the hotel also houses a high-end restaurant, Wannee, which centres its menu around fresh, seasonal produce farmed in the Netherlands.
Located opposite Leeuwarden’s main railway station, this long-standing hotel has served as a gateway to the city for travellers for well over a century. The hotel has been renovated several times since it first opened its doors in 1879 and nowadays has a modern yet classical design complete with dark-wooden decor and other classy flourishes. A perfect spot for couples, small families or solo travellers, the hotel has 78 guest rooms of varying sizes that can accommodate between one to four guests. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served at the hotel’s brasserie throughout the day and the restaurant has plenty of space for casual coffees and evening drinks.
Built inside a former post office dating back to the early 20th century, this charming four-star hotel stands on the eastern side of Leeuwarden’s historic city centre. Though it has been renovated to meet modern standards, the hotel still features many historic elements, including high vaulted ceilings and red-brick exterior walls. The hotel has 82 well-put-together rooms designed with style and comfort in mind, complete with comfy beds, ensuite facilities and flat-screen TVs. There’s also a gym and a large brasserie on site.
Set inside an 18th-century royal palace, this stately establishment in central Leeuwarden looks stunning, to say the least, and features many regal elements like chandeliers, four-poster beds and oil paintings that reflect its long history. There are 28 rooms available, ranging from simple lodgings furnished with all the basics to deluxe suites equipped with custom-built hot tubs. Other amenities include Fletcher Hotel-Paleis Stadhouderlijk Hof’s on-site gourmet restaurant, Us Heit, and several meeting halls.