Escape to the Country: My Belvilla Experience

Heather Tucker, zondag 9 december 2012

I tend to over pack for trips and my visit to a Belvilla holiday home was no exception. As I filled the car with clothes, food and bags of things I wanted to get done – both relaxing things and work related ones – I had visions of my new neighbours laughing as I attempted to drag everything inside. What I didn’t know was that those neighbours would be non-existent.

Buitenlevenhuisje is located near the small town of Beesd in Gelderland, a province in the middle of the Netherlands. The property is situated on a land estate that has its own Baroness. The sounds of the city quickly disappeared as I drove through the estate’s regal looking gates and down a walnut tree lined road before turning left to find my cottage complete with a thatched roof. There would be no one laughing at all the items I was going to pull from the car, because I had no neighbours – unless you counted the trees and countryside.

Fifteen minutes later I was given the keys, received a tour of my “new home” and was left to settle in – and settle in I did. The pleasure of holiday home living is quite extensive, and that is coming from a self-confessed hotel lover. Here are seven pleasures that were highlighted during my stay:

1. Being able to cook: I love cooking and the large, fully equipped kitchen helped me to channel my own inner cooking goddess.

2. Not worrying about housekeeping showing up: I’m a night owl, so that means I like to sleep-in in the mornings. Unless I stick the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the hotel room door, I tend to be woken up by the well-meaning (and much appreciated) housekeeping staff. No worry of that at a holiday home, which meant more sleep for me.

3. Not paying extra for everything: I really valued not having to pay extra for using the internet, the washing machine or every time I wanted a drink.

4. Living in a decluttered, well-decorated home: I hit the jackpot on this one because not only was the house free from clutter (until I moved in), it had been decorated with vibrant colours, unique furniture pieces and homely accessories.

5. Getting to relax: I actually ran out of time for this one. I wanted to relax in the large bathtub, watch movies in the TV room, lounge on the sofa reading a book, switch to the other sofa to continue reading my book, cook in the gigantic kitchen and follow one of the four walking routes around the estate. But there are only so many hours in a day.

6. Going exploring: I explored the town of Beesd, the local pancake house, the shop filled with jams, chutneys and other goodies made from produce harvested on the estate and even wandered around taking photos.

7. Finding somewhere new: I had heard of Gelderland many times and I probably could have found Beesd by chance but there is no way I would have known about Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt without staying in the holiday home. Not only did I find it but I also got to explore it with the perfect base to return to each night.

I stayed on my own in the fall/winter, which was perfect but the holiday home would also be ideal for staying at with family or a group of friends and man would I like to see that place in the spring and summer. In fact, I’m already looking forward to the warmer months by consulting my diary and planning another stay.

Heather Tucker stayed at the Buitenlevenhuisje through Belvilla as part of her role as a Holland Ambassador with the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions.