In recent years we have made more and more trips in The Netherlands. And it is so much fun to discover unknown places in your own country.
We still look for new places in the Netherlands several times a year. One of our favorite regions is the Achterhoek, in the east of the country. It is enormous, lots of nature, nice and quiet, lovely villages, many castles, the perfect ingredients for a nice weekend away.
Looking for more travel inspiration in the Netherlands then check out Traveltomtom's list of the best places to visit in The Netherlands.
This blog is written by travel writer and Traveltomtom team member Ashley. She stayed at Villa Ruimzicht, on behalf of Traveltomtom, and wrote this blog about her experiences.
History of Villa Ruimzicht
There is a lot of history to tell on this amazing monumental villa. Before the villa became what it is today, it was a farmhouse with four rooms, a stable and three hectares of land. The building was later converted into a boarding school for gifted students from the Latin School. Until 1953 the house served as a boarding school. It was then purchased by the municipality of Doetinchem and the Municipal Lyceum was housed in it. Villa Ruimzicht with tea dome and arboretum was designated as a national monument in 1999.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Achterhoek icon and internationally successful football coach Guus Hiddink went to school here?
This monumental villa is located in the middle of Doetinchem and is surrounded by a beautiful park with centuries old trees. The villa is situated at walking distance from the lovely center of Doetinchem. So all shops, restaurants, cinema, theater, are all at a 5-10 minute walk.
The villa is very easily accessible and has private parking options (across the road of the hotel). You can park your car here for free.
The hotel is a small hotel with 42 rooms. These 42 hotel rooms of the luxury hotel in Doetinchem have their own style and modern design, in which the atmosphere of the historic building is combined with contemporary design. The several room types are Lifestyle rooms, Boutique rooms, Water Fun rooms, Family rooms and the Tea Dome.
We had a Water Fun room. These rooms offer you ultimate relaxation. The Water Fun rooms obviously offer a comfortable Auping double bed, but also a free standing bath tub and private wellness facilities such as a steam shower, jacuzzi or infrared sauna directly in your room.
These rooms also offer a beautiful view of the park and some rooms even have a balcony.
Restaurant Lokaal (Local) is the hotel’s restaurant. Having dinner here means an unforgettable experience. It takes you into the farm-to-table concept.
Our dinner experience at Restaurant Lokaal is among the very best experience we have ever had. We had no idea what to expect. We sat down at the table, were surprised, had an incredibly delicious meal and left the table five hours later with a unique experience.
They spoiled us with a 9 course dinner full of surprising and delicious dishes.
During our dinner we were also invited by chef Bjorn Massop to meet him and have a tour of his kitchen. Where in the world are you invited by the chef to get an exclusive look into his kitchen? Well, Bjorn Massop and Restaurant Lokaal did just that.
He introduced us to his team that was working that evening. He also showed us their way of working where products are fully used. Because they are a wasteful industry, Chef Massop and his crew uses as much of the product as possible in their dishes.
So for example, they don’t only serve caviar, but also sturgeon. And they do not only grow the tuber of the Jerusalem artichoke, but they also cook honey from the blossom. Doing things this way, they can give back a little of what they take.
I think it’s a wonderful way of working with products and I also think many more restaurants should consider working like this.
For Bjorn Massop, his work as a chef goes beyond preparing beautiful dishes. As a chef he feels he has the opportunity to inspire guests with what he does, encouraging a self-sufficient Achterhoek. In an ideal world, locals make use of everything that grows, blooms and lives in your own region. Bjorn likes to work with old techniques, using all parts of an animal for example. He wants to come full circle. And he also applies this to small things, such as serving trays made of wood from local forests.
Bjorn Massop totally takes this to the next level for Restaurant Lokaal. He personally and carefully selects local farmers and suppliers for his restaurant.
Green Michelin Star
Restaurant Lokaal can proudly carry the Green Michelin Star behind their name in 2023. The Green Michelin Star distinguishes chefs who are committed to a sustainable future. They are examples and figureheads of sustainable gastronomy. They were awarded the Green Michelin Star for the first time in 2022, and got to extend this into 2023.
Bar & Bites
Bar & Bites is the informal bar of Villa Ruimzicht. At Bar & Bites enjoyment is central. The bar is your place to be for a nice drink and some lovely snacks or pastries.
They offer a wide choice of drinks, from wines to draft beers and from the Villas own fresh juices to unique cocktails. You can complete your visit with a pastry made by their pastry chef or go for matching snacks.
Throughout the day you can also enjoy the chef’s versatile dishes. Fun to share, but also nice for yourself. Bar & Bites is your place to go in the morning for breakfast.
We visited Doetinchem before just for a few hours, a couple of years ago when we also explored the Achterhoek. We love the place. It has a lovely city center with plenty of shops, but nature is also just around the corner. Hotel Villa Ruimzicht is an amazing place to stay in the Achterhoek.
Its walking distance location from the city center of Doetinchem makes this place unique. Even when you’re visiting Doetinchem just for a day, you should really consider having a unique experience at Restaurant Lokaal.
We were absolutely amazed by our stay at Villa Ruimzicht where they really understand what hospitality is.
Enjoy your trip to the Achterhoek!