The Prinsenhof Groningen is a luxury hotel on historic premises that have served both as the premises of a religious order and a palace of the Nassau viceroys to Groningen. The site, which has a café and fine-dining restaurant, has also been utilised as a barracks and as a television and radio station.
The hotel is situated close to the iconic Martini Tower (Martinitoren), which provides fine views over Groningen and the surrounding area. It’s a short walk from the Grote Markt and Vismarkt, the market squares that form the heart of the city, so ideally placed for exploring.
If you’re planning a trip to Groningen and enjoy staying in luxury guestrooms and hotels with bags of character, then the Prinsenhof is likely to prove an ideal base. Jurien van der Meer, the Dutch architect, and his team at De Zwarte Hond Architects were behind the transformation of the premises into an upscale hotel and dining space.
The Prinsenhof Groningen has three classes of guestrooms plus three suites. Several of the bedrooms have views towards the Martini Tower, others overlook the Prinsentuin, an expansive walled garden at the back of the hotel. Look carefully and you’ll spot the scrolling letters ‘W’ and ‘A’ formed by the hedges of the garden. They represent the initials of the 16th-century Nassau viceroy Willem Frederik and his spouse Albertine Agnes.
Set back from the city’s streets behind gardens on both sides, the hotel is in a quiet part of Groningen. The bells of the Martini Tower are within earshot of the Prinsenhof but the carillon is one of Groningen’s best-loved features.
The bedrooms in the Prinsenhof feature exposed ceiling beams and their windows have shutters, in keeping with the historic character of the premises. The furniture and furnishings are a well-selected blend of the antique and modern. Sofas, stylish lamps and rugs help supply a wow factor. Their colour palette is subtle.
The beds are sizable and comfortable, as you’d expect of a luxury hotel, with iPod docking stations by their sides. The free minibar is a nice, welcoming touch. If you’re a lover of coffee, you can make yourself a drink using the Nespresso machine.
The bathrooms are elegantly furnished, featuring rainfall showers and Acqua di Parma toiletries. Some feature sizable bathtubs in which you can soak after a day of sightseeing.
If you have limited time available to explore Groningen and want to see more than the just urban view from the nearby Martini Tower, ask at reception to borrow a bicycle. A cycle tour means you’ll be able to skirt through the marketplaces and see ships docked in the harbours and by the sides of canals. Maps are provided along with the keys to the bicycle’s lock.
Breakfast is served in the Prinsenhof’s Grand Café, which was formerly the place of worship for the religious order that occupied the premises during the Middle Ages. The church was built in the 15th century. A grand fireplace stands at the end of the café closest to the Prinsentuin – the far side of the room from the impressive buffet that’s laid out each morning.
The location, character and comfort of the Prinsenhof Groningen mean it is talked of as one of the Netherlands’ leading hotels.
Hotel Prinsenhof Groningen, Martinikerkhof 23, 9712 JH Groningen, Netherlands.Tel: +21 50 317 6550
The Prinsenhof is a 10-minute walk from Groningen’s railway station. The entrance to the hotel is via a courtyard that opens onto the gardens behind the Martini Tower, Groningen’s principal landmark. Valet parking is available from 7:00am to 10:00pm. Alternatively, the nearest parking is a couple of minutes’ walk from the hotel at the Boterdiep car park.
Type of Hotel: 4-Star Luxury Hotel on the premises of a former palace
Number of Rooms: 34 rooms and suites including complimentary Wi-Fi
Price Band: High
Insider Tip: Allow time to take a stroll through the Prinsentuin, the walled garden at the rear of the hotel. On the back wall you’ll see a beautifully restored sundial over the gate. The Renaissance style garden has neatly trimmed hedges and rose bushes. Gravel pathways meander between the shrubbery, making it a lovely place to take a walk.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8.5/10
Stuart Forster is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specialising in food and travel related features.
Photographs by Stuart Forster
Stuart Forster, the author of this post, was named the Digital Influencer of the Year at the 2018 Holland Press Awards and frequently writes about destinations and attractions in the Netherlands, including on his personal blog, Go Eat Do.