PARC BROEKHUIZEN LEERSUM
When I made the list of the 10 hottest hotel openings of 2016 I’ve mentioned the trend ‘forget the citytrip, go on a quick nature trip’. We’re all so busy with going from one place to another, working our way through a to-do-list and don’t forget to look up from our phone that we tend to use that ethos during our citytrips as well. That’s why you see new cool hotel openings happening in rural areas because nature is bringing us new ideas, inspiration and relaxation. Chef Marco Westmaas, known for his restaurant Elzenduin in Ter Heijde and several restaurants in Thailand, moved back to The Netherlands to open Parc Broekhuizen, a restaurant and hotel in a beautiful castle inside a National Park close to Utrecht.
Upon arriving you will immediately slow down as the surroundings sink in: the castle is surrounded by snow when I arrive on a Wednesday in January and the lake behind it is frozen. When you step inside the building you’ll notice the modern design immediately. Designer Judith van Mourik took care of every single detail. The Gubi-chairs from Denmark are covered with a fabric designed by Jean Paul Gaultier – just like the couch in the restaurant. The carpet slowly changes color when you walk the stairs. The beautiful chandelier on the first floor is designed by Jan Pauwels from Belgium. They still kept the old details: in one of the spaces on the first floor the walls are covered by paintings of Willem Joseph Laguy from 1780 (which was the inspiration for the humorous design and branding of the property done by Fitzroy Amsterdam – they turned the figures on that paintings into modern-like figures with for example a selfie-stick).
There are rooms on the second and third floor. And personally I’m more a fan of the ones on the second floor. Imagine: suites with high ceilings, every room is different, some rooms have a bath with view over the nature, there’s a fire place, Aesop amenities etc. The rooms facing the lake are bright and have a lot of sun coming in while the rooms facing the other side still have the old wooden interior but then combined with warm colors like pink and a stunning bathroom. One of the things the rooms have in common is the view over nature. That makes you stare out of the window and make you move to a slower pace in an instant. The surrounding nature will make you relax in a second. If not, just go for a walk and you will come back with tons of new ideas!
On the ground floor there’s the signature restaurant of Marco Westmaas, Restaurant Voltaire. It’s divided in three areas, the bar (where I was welcomed with a delicious cocktail), the restaurant and another part of the restaurant with open kitchen. For the menu the chef took inspiration from his adventure in Asia in combination with local ingredients (in about three months he’s also opening a new restaurant on the property with a farm called Yard). We were treated to a surprise menu of 8-courses (including 3 desserts, yes!). My favorite was the first dish: oysters with algae, horseradish and ponzu. Although the pigeon was delicious as well, just as the dessert with hibiscus, sorrel, rose and matcha. Every dish was accompanied with natural wine and even very unique orange wines. The sommelier learned us about a wine company called ‘Don’t throw plastic in the ocean, please’. They have a natural way of making wine and you can still see the leaves of the grapes in the wine.
Romance & top-chefs
Parc Broekhuizen is a place you will love if you’re in need of some inspiration – both from nature, the food as the design. You can definitely take your lover as all the rooms answer your request for romance and the restaurant is open all day for good food and a lovely atmosphere. If you travel for food and Michelinstar-restaurants keep an eye out for their plans as they will organize events where chefs from all over the world will be invited to share their signature dishes. So you don’t have to book a ticket to Tokyo (for example). Stay tuned…
Check out: www.parcbroekhuizen.nl