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Old World Charm

by Kathryn Lemmon, Wedding Zone Staff Writer

Admittedly, Holland isn't the first name which comes to mind when couples are planning their honeymoon. Beach destinations continue to be popular and plane loads of honeymooners descend on the Caribbean every week. But, on the down side, beach destinations can lack atmosphere and privacy. Not every couple wants to be surrounded by other honeymooners. What if you want something unique...something out of the ordinary? Think Europe, think Holland.

For luxury away from the teeming crowds, the chain of hotels called Silence Hotels, might offer the romantic, secluded setting you seek. Originating in France, Silence Hotels are found in several countries of Europe. As the name implies, they are a select group, chosen for their privacy, uniqueness, serenity and charm. They set an especially high standard of customer service and personal attention. No run-of-the-mill, cookie cutter rooms here. Their rural settings provide the level of solitude only found in exclusive resorts.

Castle Doenrade (pronounced doon rada) in the Dutch province of South-Limburg, Holland, is one of the exclusive Silence Hotels. The building, which was originally a family estate, is small enough to be cozy, yet grand enough to be called a castle. It's been restored to it's former glory and open since the Spring of 1993.

At Castle Doenrade, you will feel pampered. You can relax in their lovely courtyard, sip wine and take in the ambience. No rushing, no schedules, no worries; at this peaceful place the cares of the world are far away.

The hotel has 24 rooms, no two alike, each named for Dutch and Belgian royalty. The local citizens still refer to the 18th-century castle as the "the powder depot" which relates to the first castle (dating all the way back to 1170) which stood at the location.

Their spacious bridal suite is filled with extraordinary antiques, including a lovely wooden cradle and large dining table. Dark wooden beams add a touch of old Europe. A sitting area, TV and phone are included. The bathroom contains a large, round whirlpool tub, just the thing after a day of sightseeing in the region. Marble counter tops, two sinks, and a shower round out the bath amenities.

The current owners, Mr. and Mrs. Rondeltap, are on site to attend to your needs. They frequent estate sales and auctions to equip the hotel with antiques and unusual furnishings. Mr. Rondeltap, a great collector of wooden boxes of all types, now houses his vast collection within the hotel. Worth a look, they can be found in glass display cases and various spots throughout the building.

Their restaurant offers fine cuisine for lunch and dinner. Breakfast, as with most Dutch hotels is included with your hotel stay.

At Castle Doenrade, you can honeymoon like the Europeans and your stay will be memorable. For more information, go to www.silencehotel.nl.


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