The only thing “Hilton” about the new Hilton in the Hague is the fact that it has meeting rooms. I didn’t once feel like I was staying at the Hilton we know in the US, via Paris. As mentioned in a previous post, the hotel brand is moving forward, adapting a new boutique feel, dropping the “convention” reputation, and luring leisure travelers. They’re also making forays into more exotic destinations, with future openings in Namibia, Egypt, and Jordan.
The Hilton Hague is part of a portfolio that promises to attract a younger demographic. After my recent visit, I actually believe it. Opened two months ago, the hotel is housed in a former Royal Dutch post office from the 1950s, where the original structure remains and the staff are as young as the well-heeled hotel guests (mostly Dutch).
I noticed that the hotel has put forth a strong effort to embrace Dutch culture (excluding references to the nearby smoke shops). As the Hague is chockfull of galleries, the first floor features its own with rotating art exhibitions. Dutch lace motifs decorate the Grand Cafe Pearl restaurant (inspired by Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”), each guestroom floor has art by a local photographer, and the atrium has themes that pay tribute to the nearby beaches, like a sand wall and a roof that resembles a wave. This is so not the Hilton I know, one of sectional pastel sofas and cheesecloth nature shots.
What’s also so un-Hilton is the copious amounts of natural light, thanks to the atrium lobby, floor-to-ceiling windows, and the fact that each hallway on all five floors faces the open-air, central courtyard. The 195 contemporary rooms are practical and tidy, with spacious vanity areas, wall-mounted, movable flat-screen TVs, open-concept desks, and bathrooms with separate tubs.
And, of all the hundreds of hotels I’ve stayed in, this is truly a first: The Hague Hilton has a designated smoking lounge on the first floor, with chic furniture, matches, and mints. The idea scans as “airport terminal smoking lounge,” but with art on the walls, it felt more like the Philippe Starck-designed Bon restaurant in Paris, which also has a smoking room. And when I say smoking lounge, that means cigarettes, people. If you’re coming, book on the weekends for their “lazy check-out,” where you don’t have to leave until 6 p.m. So un-Hilton.