As a child my parents always took us on adventurous holidays, from hiking in Austria and Norway, to a self-guided canoeing trip through the rural, remote and wilderness areas of Sweden. During my childhood years I got to see a fair bit of Europe.
My mum is a Kiwi, so I grew up with stories about her homeland New Zealand. Ever since I was young, I have always been intrigued about the Land of the Long White Cloud. So when I was given the opportunity to do my graduation assignment in Christchurch, New Zealand, I grabbed that chance with both hands and made it my first overseas travel experience in 2010. I lived and worked in New Zealand for 6 months and got to see quite a bit of that beautiful country.
During these 6 months I caught the ‘travel bug’. I felt the urge to travel the world and explore new places, but not alone this time, but with my boyfriend Remy. We got to see some beautiful places in the years that followed, and made more and more travels each year.
It was the Summer of 2012 when we were planning our five week New Zealand and Australia trip for early 2013, when we got the crazy idea to get married in New Zealand during that trip. That crazy idea turned into plans, and while travelling through New Zealand, in between sightseeing the North Island, we got married at one of the most beautiful beaches of the Coromandel.
From seeing the Northern Lights in Tromsø to celebrating New Year’s Eve in Dubai and Berlin, from snorkeling both the Great Barrier Reef and the Ningaloo Reef to doing the Cage of Death in Darwin, from the Big Buddha in Hong Kong to the Table Mountain in Cape Town, and from the most beautiful nature and spotting orca’s in Western Canada to the city that never sleeps New York, we have been very lucky these past few years, but still have a never ending bucketlist to go through.
I joined team Traveltomtom in July 2018. The international focus of Traveltomtom is what got me excited. By joining Traveltomtom my articles with our experiences and tips would reach a large and international audience. I get really enthusiastic about travelling and with over 8 years of travel experience I think I can help other travelers by answering questions they may have and create their dream trip.
Curious to what destinations and travels we have lined up for the year ahead? Keep following our travels through this website or via my own Instagram Travelashie.
Find below Ashley's latest articles for Traveltomtom
Even though we only live a 2,5 hour drive away from Bruges, we had never visited this beautiful city before. Bruges is a feast for the eyes and the mouth. There is so much to see, you won’t even get time to put your camera away. Plus, with over 60 chocolate stores, Bruges is a true chocolate city. Let us help you plan your next Bruges citytrip. We tell you everything you need to know before visiting Bruges.Read more ...
Even though the Netherlands is a small country, and the fact that we have traveled all over the Netherlands the past 18 months, there are still some undiscovered places. One of the places to see in the Netherlands that we hadn't yet explored were the Northern regions of the province of North Holland. When we do travel the Netherlands, we always try to and love to stay at the Dutch hotel chain Van der Valk.Read more ...
We always try to explore new places, also when it comes to cities like Amsterdam, which we have visited many times. We try to find hidden gems and undiscovered spots, to make the trip feel like we have actually visited a new destination. In our search for our most recent Amsterdam trip we were looking for a unique place to stay and came across the Ambassade Hotel. A prime location in the heart of the city, yet a part we had never visited and explored properly.Read more ...
Sometimes you come across places that leave a lasting impression. During our most recent trip ticking of some of the best places to visit in The Netherlands, we also visited the Veluwe and the Veluwe National Park. They had been on our to do list for a long time, because of their beautiful nature and some really good opportunities to spot wildlife. Yes, even in the Netherlands you can spot wildlife.
Hotel de Sterrenberg is such a place that left a lasting impression. Our stay with them was organized very last minute, but that really doesn’t detract from our experience with them.
About Hotel de Sterrenberg
Hotel de Sterrenberg is a 4 star wellness hotel in Otterlo, in the heart of the Veluwe. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful nature. It invites you to be active and go outdoors to explore this beautiful part of the Netherlands.
The hotel has 39 rooms, divided over 6 different room types. De Sterrenberg is decorated very naturally with natural, modern and warm designs. The interior seems very basic in terms of the materials they used, but it actually gives the hotel a very luxurious look that fits right in with its surroundings. They used a lot of wooden and concrete materials, which blend in perfectly with the outdoor world, and also very sustainable.
Back in 2017 the hotel was completely renovated, and from then ready to welcome everyone to their wellness hotel on the Veluwe.
At Hotel de Sterrenberg you can taste nature, experience the Veluwe and completely relax in their adult only wellness hotel. Their slogan is: Hotel de Sterrenberg, place to wander. That is really what it is, wander away and get lost in the endless nature, or wander away in the relaxing wellness area. Whatever your preference, I’m sure you’ll find it here.
And, not to forget the top location of this hotel, because it is located in the middle of nature. The vast nature of the Veluwe is all around you, in fact, it’s only 600 meters away from the gates to the Veluwe National Park, top class location! It makes it the perfect getaway to explore the Veluwe.
When staying at hotel de Sterrenberg, make sure you don’t miss out on the amazing food that Restaurant Cepes has to offer. A true culinary tour de force!
At Restaurant Cepes you’ll be spoiled with a daily 4 course meal at a high level! There is no a la carte menu. Their gastronomic menu includes a variety of fish, meat and vegetarian dishes. Luxury, culinary and excellent food!
Their chefs cook for you with seasonal and local products from biological addresses from their own region, including recognized Veluwe regional products. That way they spoil you as much as possible as their guest.
The wellness is one of the best parts of Hotel de Sterrenberg. The actual wellness with sauna, Turkish steam room, wellness pool and tepidarium is only accessible for adults and is an undressed area. Complimentary water and tea service is available here, and they also serve salads and smoothies in the wellness.
Next to the wellness there is also an indoor swimming pool, with a sauna cabin, and a professional gym, these areas are all dressed areas. Visiting in the summer? Then there’s also a wellness garden outside, very relaxed area to just lie down on one of the beds, enjoy the Veluwe nature and relax! Usage of the swimming pool, wellness and fitness facilities is included in your stay.
Bike rental is pretty normal nowadays at hotels, however, De Sterrenberg goes the extra mile here. Like many other hotels, De Sterrenberg has bikes for rent, both regular and e-bikes. The Veluwe is the perfect place to explore by bike, it’s even better to explore by bike than by car.
The front desk has composed 5 bike routes for you, 5 different routes to explore the region. From just a few kilometers to a full day of biking.
Best places to visit in Hoge Veluwe National Park
This park is one of the largest and oldest national parks in the country and which is of course mentioned in our article about the best places to visit in The Netherlands. You’ll find 5500 ha of forests, moors, sand dunes and marshes. Furthermore, it is home to red deer, roe deer, mouflon and wild boar. There is an entrance fee if you want to enter the park, which depends on your way of transportation. Entrance fee for adults is 11 euros. At every entrance to the National Park there is a large bicycle shed with free bikes to use for visitors to the National Park.
Obviously it’s all about nature when visiting the Veluwe, and the National Park is our number one must visit when coming here. However, there are many more things to do in the Veluwe area, and we would like to list our favorites here, as they are easy to visit from De Sterrenberg.
Yes, the Netherlands is a very flat country, but even in a flat country, there is always a highest waterfall to visit. For the Netherlands, the Loenense waterfall is the highest waterfall in the country, and when visiting the Veluwe it’s a must do, absolutely worth a stop. It’s tucked away in the forests, so you can even make it a day of hiking and exploring.
Center of the Netherlands
This one is located just a few minutes away from De Sterrenberg and Otterlo. Actually the perfect trip when renting a bike from the hotel. The exact center of the Netherlands happens to be located in Lunteren, in the middle of the forest, so be in for a bit of a search. Once you find it there is a stone marking the exact center of the country, which we think is pretty cool.
Radio Kootwijk is a national monument which was used as a communication facility between the Netherlands and the colony of Dutch East Indies. Its location is fantastic, open heaths, the largest active sand drifts in Western Europe and of course the monumental radio station itself, definitely worth a visit!
We truly enjoyed our stay with Hotel de Sterrenberg in every possible way. We explored the National Park using their e-bikes, and had the ultimate relaxation in their wellness. Not to forget about the amazing food that they serve in Restaurant Cepes, that alone is worth a visit!
It is a modern and contemporary wellness hotel with the perfect location. A place where gastronomy, wellness and nature come together. Ultimate relaxation, pampering and luxury in the heart of the Veluwe.
This blog was written by travel writer and Traveltomtom team member Ashley. She stayed at the wonderful and amazing Hotel de Sterrenberg on behalf of Traveltomtom and wrote this blog about her experiences.
Very recently we travelled through some new and undiscovered parts of the Netherlands. The city of Deventer turned out to be the perfect stop in between the Veluwe and the Achterhoek. We liked it so much that we decided to spend the night there, and we really had chosen the perfect place to stay in Deventer.Read more ...
A trip to Amsterdam is always a good idea. So whenever we can, we love to add a short trip to our capital city. Even though we love the busy and bustling city center, lately we started exploring some other suburbs of Amsterdam, with more authentic experiences. That’s how we ended up in Amsterdam-East, at the Volkshotel, to fully experience some new parts of Amsterdam.Read more ...
Just recently, Ashley a valued member of the Traveltomtom Team, visited the Dutch Bulb region for the very first time. Besides visiting all the beautiful Dutch flower fields, she was looking for a fun and unique experience. That’s when she came across Renzy, self guided tours in electric Renault Twizies. Find out her experiences discovering the Dutch tulip fields and stunning landscapes in a unique way.Read more ...
The Bollenstreek (Bulb Region) and it’s tulip fields are one of the most famous and popular places to visit in the Netherlands. The Keukenhof, located within the Bulb region, attracts about 800.000 visitors each year by itself. It must be worth visiting if a few hundred thousand people do so each year, but even though we’re Dutch, visiting the Bollenstreek was on our bucket list for quite some time. For some reason we never managed to visit the flower fields.
Since travel was still on the back burner, now was the ideal time. We very recently visited the Bollenstreek and the famous Dutch flower fields and wrote this guide for Traveltomtom.Read more ...
I have to be honest, when I was offered to test and review these Nova Sport earbuds, I wasn’t too enthusiastic to start with, but let me explain. I've always had problems with earplugs. For some reason they never stuck in my ears and always fall out. Reason for me to never wear earphones and to stick with on ear and over ear headphones.
I’m a big fan of over ear headphones, but some are quite large and therefore not handy to travel with. I don’t like using them while walking for example. I think they’re just too big for that. However I sometimes would love to be able to enjoy some music while hiking or exploring new places.Read more ...
When travelling, safety is very important. I always carry a day backpack wherever I go. Hiking through the mountains, or exploring a new city, I always have a small backpack with me. As an admirer of anti-theft backpacks I got to experience using the Bobby Duffle Bag by XD Design and in this blog you can read how I experienced using it.Read more ...