Center Parcs Alternative in the Netherlands (Hof van Saksen Review)

Thanks to our writer Gaia for this review which is based on a visit in December 2022. 




 Hof van Saksen – Centre Parcs Alternative in the Netherlands

We spent 4 nights at Hof van Saksen in a child-friendly farmhouse. We loved it, they'd thought of everything and the kids had so much fun. Our highlights included:

  • Luxury family resort in the Netherlands
  • Child-friendly accommodation with bunk beds, cots, toys and games 
  • A Starbucks in the soft play (which also serves beer and wine!)
  • Really nice, warm swimming pools with lots of fun water slides
  • Lots of food options, we especially loved the takeaway pizzas
  • Loads to do including clip 'n' climb, trampolining, bowling, lasertag, crazy golf
  • Pretty nearby villages Rolde & Gieten are worth a visit for shopping and sightseeing 





Getting There

KLM operates 3 flights a day to Amsterdam Schiphol airport from Newcastle International. Flights normally costs us about £600 for a family of 4, booking a few months in advance.

You can also take a ferry from North Shields to Amsterdam if you want to bring your car. Hof van Saksen is a 3 hour drive from Amsterdam airport. 

If you’re travelling by public transport it’ll take about 3-4 hours, travelling by train to Assen train station, and then a bus which drops you off right outside the resort. The train station is underneath the airport and you can buy tickets in advance or on the day.  

The Resort

Your keycard and check in information is posted out to you and you can access your accommodation from 3pm on the day so there’s no need to check in.

You can also book onto activities a day or two before you arrive and its worth downloading the app to plan your visit. We arrived a little early so we headed straight to the main building and had a drink in the Grand Café, a beautiful restaurant overlooking the lake in the centre of the resort. 


The staff were all very friendly and good with our large group with 4 children aged between 4 and 8, giving them colouring pencils and showing them to the lego wall – this is at the back of the restaurant and is great for kids to play with while waiting for food to arrive, our kids loved it.



Accommodation

There is a range of accommodation at Hof van Saksen - Hof van Saksen | Comfort and luxury accommodations - Saxon farm houses in Drenthe. Farmhouses come in a range of sizes sleeping from 2 up to 24! This would be great for a big family getaway. 











We stayed in a 8 person children’s farmhouse, which was fantastic for our 2 families of 4. There is a large living room with two seating areas and TV’s so kids and adults can watch different things, a little table with games and kids armchairs and a playpen which is ideal if you’ve got a baby (there is also ‘newborn’ accommodation which is fully kitted out for tiny babies.










There’s also a big dining table seating 8 and a kitchen, as well as a downstairs loo. The kids were happy to find boxes of toys, some of which were for the sandpit which is on the patio behind the house.









Our house (693) also had a small playground behind it, and it would be perfect to sit on the patio while the kids played in the playground in the spring and summer months. 

The kitchen has a Nespresso and a filter coffee machine and is fully stocked with utensils, crockery, cutlery, pots and pans. Plastic plates, bowls and cups and provided for children too.

There is a dishwasher, hob and a microwave oven. You get a few nespresso pods, tea bags, washing up liquid, bin bags etc to get you started but you’ll need to buy or bring soap, which isn’t provided.





There is one kids bedroom with bunk beds and an adjoining room with a cot, changing table and nappy bin. Then there are two double bedrooms and a twin.





We found it ideal for two families as there are two bedrooms and two bathrooms at separate ends of the house, so you have separation when you need it (and the kids don’t keep each other up at night!) but there’s plenty of space to play, eat, relax together downstairs. 




You can drive your car to your accommodation and unpack it, then you’re asked to park in the main car park as they are a green resort and this makes it very safe for children to run around. 

Food & Drink

There are lots of great places to eat at Hof van Saksen. There’s the Grand Café, an Italian restaurant, a snack bar serving fast food, a self service restaurant, a pool bar and a pizza takeaway.










We had an evening meal in the Grand Café, which is a beautiful restaurant with a relaxed feel and of course it has the lego wall which the kids loved.







I had sate skewers, which are always a safe bet in Holland and tasted good. Main courses cost about 25-30 euros and all come with chips and salad, although they only brought a few sides out and told us to ask for more when they were finished (which we did!).













Kids meals were good, the hot dog especially got a big thumbs up. We also popped in for hot chocolates and cake on our last day, the Dutch apple tart is unmissable!

The Italian restaurant was only open one of the nights we were there as we went mid-week in the winter. We didn’t end up going but it looked nice and the pizza/pastas there are around 15 euros.

Instead we ordered pizzas from the on-site shop which makes them fresh, and they were delicious (10-15 euros a pizza). We took them back to our accommodation to eat while we watched the Holland match, which was ideal. 



The shop on site is called ‘Noordermarkt’ and it is a very handy little supermarket which also sells freshly prepared poké bowls, waffles, ice creams and pizzas.


They will also deliver food and groceries to your house including fresh bread in the morning, or a full continental breakfast if you like and things like a Gourmet arrangement, which is very popular in Holland and involves everyone around the table cooking their own meat on a hot plate, kind of like a mini indoor BBQ.

We didn’t check out the self service restaurant or fast food restaurants as we were only there 4 nights and cooked for ourselves on 2 nights but there’s plenty of choice for everyone.

Activities at Hof van Saksen

Softplay and Trampolining

The softplay serves alcohol!!! That is all. Just kidding there’s more, but sitting in comfy seats with a complimentary magazine and a belgian beer was definitely a highlight for me.








There’s also a Starbucks, which was very much appreciated in the mornings. The softplay is massive, there’s something for all ages including a baby section.









There is also a Clip ‘n’ Climb, which you need to book but you don’t have to book the softplay. We booked trampolining for the under 6’s (they have seperate sessions for older ones) and they had lots of fun while we sat on sofas drinking coffee.





 Bowling & arcade

There’s a bowling alley next to the soft play and an arcade with a big screen TV and comfy cinema-style seating for teens.



We booked 2 lanes for a group of 12 of us and went bowling, it was great fun for some and frustrating for others! I for one would have preferred to have the bumper lanes up all the time, rather than changing depending on the age of the player, but you cant have it all. I did score one strike, so all was OK.



One of the lanes was a little glitchy and kept getting stuck, but chucking another ball down it seemed to solve that problem.

Mini Golf & Foot Golf

There is a mini gold course and foot golf dotted around the park. Mini golf costs extra. The dads and kids in our group had a go at this and all had fun.

Meanwhile my sister and I visited a local town called Gieten to pick up supplies and had a lovely time. If you go make sure you check out the cheese shop, it was lush!

Swimming pool

The swimming pool is incredible, with several different (warm!) pools for kids and adults. There’s a couple of large jacuzzis and lots of toys for little ones. 

But the big highlight for us was the water slides! There’s 4 of them, one of which you can go on with 4 people in a big inflatable and was the scariest/best. It goes downhill very fast at one point which was terrifying and then it goes up and down the walls of a big tornado shaped dome, we loved it.















The other flumes are fun too and we were lucky that we didn’t have to queue. There’s also a wild water rapids which goes outdoors and which you just float along, I found it a bit stressful with a 4 year old as we kept sliding around and getting dunked underwater.


It would benefit from being on inflatables rather than just swimming along it I think. 

They were great at measuring the kids and giving them wristbands depending on which slides they were tall enough to go down. My 8 year old could go down all of them and my niece who’s nearly 6 could go on half. The 4 year old could only go on the lazy river. Non swimmers have to wear armbands.  



Spa

There's a spa onsite which we didn't get a chance to use but my sister did last time they visited and had a great massage. There are extensive sauna facilities and you can enjoy a meal in the spa. In Holland all spas are naked (!) You can wear a towel. This is mandatory at Hof van Saksen too except for on Wednesdays when everyone has to wear a swimming costume. 

Adventure Playground

There’s a great adventure playground with bouncy pillow on the beach next to the lake. It also has a beach bar and would be lovely in the summer.













The kids had a lot of fun on the wooden obstacle course, pirate ship and climbing the tower to go down the slides. We had a nice walk around the lake and took the pont across, which involved pulling a raft across the water by pulling on a rope – good exercise and no-one fell in!

Art and cooking academies

There are lots of different arty classes and craft rooms for all ages. Bigger kids can sew fun projects in the Fashion Academy, book onto a cookie baking class or make wooden dinosaur models in the technology workshop. Little ones can colour in and paint, with their parents.

Football Academy

Leon loved having a session with the football coaches and other kids at the onsite football Academy. 

There are too many activities to list at Hof van Saksen - archery, lasertag, an escape room, bike hire, hut building and much more. We couldn't fit it all into our 4 nights stay but we really enjoyed what we did do.

Babysitting

They offer babysitting for a charge but there's no kids club at Hof van Saksen.

Art

There is lots of modern art dotted around the resort and you can get a map from reception to go on an art trail. We loved the big red dog wearing wellies and the Pegasus. 

I'd recommend this as a great place to spend quality time with your loved ones, with lots to keep everyone entertained. The facilities are so good and everything is very well maintained.

They've really thought about children and what they need, as well as what their parents want from a holiday. We're already planning our return trip next year!

Find out more and book here. 


PS - Just a note from Sam. I have travelled to the Netherlands a few times now and only know a very limited amount of Dutch. Pretty much everyone speaks English in the Netherlands so although maybe a little lazy of us, you don't need to worry about any language barriers. 

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