Not even snow, ice and winter cold could stop us. Maastricht calling! Ready for a touch of culture, some shopping and a dose of Dutch cosiness. Our starting point for the weekend is the Kruisherenhotel, a very special place near the city centre where a 15th century monastery is the setting of a contemporary design hotel.
Oostwegel collection & Design Hotels
Are you looking for a special place to stay or a great idea for a nice meal in Dutch Limburg? A quick online search or in travel magazines will probably direct you to the offers of Oostwegel Collection. That group – consisting of several historic hotels and restaurants – is a real reference in the region and stands for professionalism and passion in the field of hospitality.
We selected the Kruisherenhotel in Maastricht from the list because of its central location and the combination of rich history and modern design. The fact that the Kruisherenhotel is part of Design Hotels™ was an additional argument, because this group – which includes a selection of unique, independent hotels around the world – surely guarantees a beautiful and special portfolio.
Kruisherenhotel: a rich history
The story of the old Gothic monasteries of the “Order of the Kruisheren” goes back to the 15th century. The building consisted of a church and a living area for the monks, who were mainly engaged in copying books, serving parishes and taking care of the sick people of Maastricht during the many plague epidemics. During the French domination in the late 18th century, the Kruisheren Monastery was used as a shelter for French soldiers. In one of the rooms you can still find a chemical table on the wall from this time, with recipes for making ammunition. Around the year 1815, the intention was to sell the complex. This was eventually not done and the complex was again given a military destination. It served amongst others as barracks and munitions depot. At the end of the 19th century the building was reallocated as government agricultural research station thanks to Esquire Victor de Stuers. This is a state laboratory where manure controls were performed at the time and now mostly animal testing is performed. Meanwhile, Pierre Cuypers took care of the restoration of the complex. During the Second World War, the copper of the civilians confiscated by the Germans was stored here, to be used to make ammunition. After the liberation of Maastricht, the Allies used the property as a storage space for all kinds of goods to prevent looting.
Before Camille Oostwegel started planning the renovation of the building around 2000, the building had been empty ever since 1979. And yet the ‘Welstands and Monumentencommissie’ (the prosperity and monument commission) was not fully supporting the renovation plans. According to the rules, listed buildings need to be renovated in a reversible way, so the drawings were therefore adjusted. This way, the monastery was not made into a hotel, but a hotel was built inside of the monastery. All elements (the Mezzanine, Library, the great glass elevator) are therefore standing ‘loose’ in the building (a so-called a “box in box” construction). In case of removal, the original building will therefore not be damaged.
Henk Vos, who took care of designing the hotel interior, did an amazing job in finding a balance between modernity, comfort and light on the one hand and the stained-glass windows, paintings and original stone walls on the other hand. Art works of Le Corbusier, Philippe Starck and Marc Newson truly honour the special interior. The exclusive lighting is a creation from the German light installation artist Ingo Maurer.
Between heaven and earth.
The past is the past, now is now. Over to the report about our stay at the Kruisherenhotel in Maastricht.
What an entrance! A kind of ultramodern aisle takes you inside the stately building. You must be a robot if you do not get curious about all this. Inside you will see all kinds of cosy elements creating a nice balance with the impressive stained-glass windows and stone walls with monumental paintings.
Although the hotel is housed in a large church building, you never get that cold and damp feeling inherent to such buildings, on the contrary even! Inside it is warm and clever interior elements make sure that there is not a resounding echo.
It may be cold outside; inside however the welcome is warm and very friendly. The main entrance leads to the reception, where you can immediately enjoy the view. When you take a look at the space, you will almost immediately see the most important things to be found in a hotel. There is a kind of lobby with various coffee tables and comfortable armchairs, and a bit further there is a small bookshop with newspapers and beautiful coffee table books. Here you can already dream and be inspired for future renovation plans or you can just start longing for your next trip or outing. A spiral staircase takes you to the multifunctional reading corner with a matching work space and library. This is a place where you can rummage through design books and magazines or where you can quietly get some computer work done.
Not only the interior of the building is stunning, the outdoor complex is also anything but ordinary. A series of art objects adorns the courtyard and green elements brighten up the convent garden.
Feasting at Restaurant Kruisheren
We unload our stuff in front of the hotel and hand our car keys to the people of the valet parking and they will take care of the rest. Our suitcases are neatly taken to our room as soon as it is ready, all very convenient. Meanwhile, we start our lunch at restaurant Kruisheren, more about that can be read in a separate article that we wrote about the restaurant. If you would like to know more about the food, then click here. To summarize, we can say that you can eat well in restaurant Kruisheren, and this in an enchanting setting. The restaurant, which is one floor up at the mezzanine of the building, is stylishly decorated and serves tasty dishes. Classic flavours with a twist, a clean presentation of the dishes and a professional, warm-hearted service.
For a nice cup of coffee or a glass of wine, you can visit “Rouge & Blanc”, the wine bar of the hotel. A series of bottles brightens up the wall, and most of the wines can be tasted by the glass. Not a wine-fan? No problem at all. A nice piece of Limburg pie can also not be missed here.
A unique hotel obviously requires personalised rooms. All 60 of them have their own character, highlighting as good as possible the contrast between contemporary design and authentic elements.
We stayed in one of the attic rooms. Immediately after entering the room a staircase will lead you to the bedroom. Simplicity, serenity and style characterise this room’s design. A couple of colourful accents provide the finishing touch, and in order to highlight the uniqueness of the rooms, a personal poem has been composed for each room.
The best part for us is the bathroom which is part of the room but still offers sufficient privacy thanks to a wall reaching a height just above eye level. The wellness level is quite high, with wonderful heated floors, bath robes and lovely bath products, including scrub, body wash and bath foam wrapped in funky, ecologically produced bags. Next to a large walk-in shower, a practical sink and toilet with nice little pieces of art, the icing on the cake is definitely the wonderful hot tub. Devine hot water combined with perfect, massaging bubbles make it extremely difficult to come out of the water with completely wrinkled fingers and toes and red spotted faces because of the heat as a result. Clear physical signs of ultimate relaxation. 🙂
Furthermore, there is also a handy desk, which for us (besides the bed) appears to be the ideal place for writing an article just like this one. The small living room, the walk-in closet and lighting, are both beautiful and practical.
Some nice extras include the choice of cushion as some people prefer a slightly firmer or a softer texture. Room service and breakfast in bed are also available.
A solid start on a Sunday
Just like in every church, there is also a high mass on Sunday at the Kruisherenhotel on Sunday, but only breakfast-wise of course. It is no secret that to us, a hotel breakfast completes a hotel stay. The setting is already perfect, as the most important meal is served on the mezzanine. On the menu: a wide selection of cheeses, meat, fish and eggs, and there is also yogurt, fresh fruit and crunchy fresh bread. The sweets-offer is one that you do not often see: cakes, pies, puffs, … You name it, it is practically all there. After breakfast, we even have to skip lunch, as we enjoyed too many goodies.
Given the fact that an overnight stay is usually a means and not a purpose in itself, we are happy to share some information about the area, but for all tourist tips it is best to surf to www.vvvmaastricht.nl. A handy combination that we are enthusiastic about is the combination of your stay with a half day of shopping in Maasmechelen, this way you kill two birds with one stone. We will soon publish some articles about this area, so stay tuned!
Smart design between heaven and earth, the baseline of the Kruisherenhotel covers it all. It is a special boutique hotel in the unique setting of the former convent and church. Everything you would expect from a modern, comfortable luxury hotel combined with history, authenticity and character.