Monday, December 27, 2010

The "Christmas Hotel"

For the third time I have spent with my whole Dutch family Chistmast the Holiday Inn Leiden. My in-laws and my husband claim "it is good for the kids" and who am I to say the opposite ? The kids call it "The Christmas hotel", btw...
Christmas in Holland is celebrated on the evening of 25th December and not on the 24th as I was used to. On the photo above you see an angle of the immense Garden restaurant, where we enjoyed lunch. It was a buffet with lots of cold cuts, breads, muffins and doughnuts, two soups (tomato and pea soup) and meat balls.

There is a pond located in the Garden restaurant area with some tropical plants and golden fish. Indeed, kids loooove it !
My lunch for the third year at the HI Leiden: I will always have a Shrek's soup and two meat balls.

Small pets are allowed, provided they can behave and show some style.

What's that ? An elephant ?
After lunch we could check in the rooms - and the kids went immediately to the kids club.

I loved the opportunity of being alone in my room with my laptop organizing some photo albums and reading mags. Hubby and the kids went to the pool. But because lunch was served late (at 15h) and the Dutch like to start eating at 18h, before you could realize it one was again eating from the cold buffet. Lots and lots of fish, terrines, salads with mayo, two soups and bread. The Dutch will always eat bread. Always.

I didn't feel like taking pics of the buffet or the dishes. Come on, a girl has to eat too - and talk and dance and have some fun !  

Proost ! Tin-tin !

The band played American and Dutch hits. Thanks God no La Bamba, New York New York, My Way, Hey Jude, Macarena or Living la Vida Loca. Believe me, I have had enough of that.

And then after the warm buffet and before the desserts, there was Santa Claus with some firework, smoke and loud music. I suspect it was a woman, just like two years ago. And this time his aparition was quicker and much less spectacular than the other years. The Dutch do not care much about Santa Claus, they call it by the neutral name "De Kerst Man" (The Christmas Man) and the Santa Claus itself doesn't know exactly what to do or say or where to lok at. The Dutch are just mad about their Sinterklaas and the Black Peters helpers. Period.

 Each kid had a voucher that could be exchanged by a little present.

Soon after the dessert my little girl wanted to go to bed and demanded that I should be next to her "the whole time, up to the following morning, mommy !" - which of course I did. The rooms are a real sauna, I woke up twice feeling like a dried plum and missing some oxygen. My in-laws complained too. It has been always like that during our stays at this hotel, thus I think the ventilation is poor and the rooms warming is really an issue.
 Anyway, I had a great time there, cause the kids can enjoy freedom (there is the kids club and another salon with big and small toys kids up to 12 years old) and the buffets are excellent. But I do not like queueuing for food and I prefer to select my own background music. The Dutch like to have wild meats for a Christmas dinner (rendeer, rabbit, lamb...) and I miss a roast (turkey or pork) - Brazilian style. I also miss cod dishes and Brazilian desserts such as pineapples and passion-fruit mousse. And old-fashioned punch ! I firmly believe "Christmas at home is good for kids too" and want to inaugurate a new tradition with my family. We are moving to a bigger house next year, one with a chimney, a really big oven and space enough for the whole extended cloggie family.     


Aledys Ver said...

A very well organised way to spend Christmas!! Sounds fun!

Anita said...

You will have to elaborate on the italics. I am feeling some irony, hahaha!

Lu_Russa said...

Que diferente passar em um hotel !

Bom, pra mim não importa o lugar, mas tenho que estar com minha família, sempre..:)


Anita said...

Lu, tudo muito organizado. Mas eu prefiro um pouco mais de espontaneidade e que a comida fique la por um tempo maior. Assim eu posso beliscar mais ao inves de ter que fazer um prato e mandar pra dentro rapido.