< NETHERLANDS | THE HAGUE: Hotel Des Indes
Willem D.A.M. Baron van Brienen van de Groote Lindt en Dortsmunde instructs Architect A. Rodenburg to build a stately mansion. Costs: One hundred and fifty thousand guilders. This chamberlain of King Willem III and member of the Provincial States of South Holland wished to have a more centrally located property than the Clingendael Property he already owned, to host huge parties and private functions. The property included an inner yard, stables, a hay barn, servant quarters, private quarters and a beautiful ballroom. After the Baron passed away in 1863, his eldest son Arnold inherits the prestigious building. Some years later, he sells it to a hotelier named Paulez who donates it to his daughter.
Splendor and tradition do not necessarily compete with innovation. On the contrary, by 1900 all rooms were equipped with a phone, some
sort of intercom system connected with the reception, washing stands had hot and cold running water and each room had a bath. In 1902
a hydraulic elevator was built which worked on the pressure of the waterworks.
In 1925 the hotel again got a scoop: the presence of a gigolo. This novelty of a male dancer, performing for a female audience who were not escorted by men, was appreciated immensely by the hotel. It was not until much later that the reputation of the gigolo changed. Entertainment has always been a point of attention at Hotel Des Indes. In the early days for example, there was a hotel orchestra which performed in the Palmzaal twice a week. Also in the beginning of the 20th century, several excursions were organized, which could be attended either by carriage, car, and steam boat or steam tram.
The hotel has developed a legendary guest list with amongst other the former Empress Eugénie of France, President Paul Kruger of Transvaal, sheik Feisal of Saudi Arabia, Mata Hari, Emperor Haile Selassie and Josephine Baker, who rented a separate room for her monkey. One of the many memorable stories is about the famous ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. In 1931, she arrived from Paris by train. This train had been involved in a severe accident and while Anna offered assistance to her wounded fellow travelers, she caught a double pneumonia. Two days later, she died in Hotel Des Indes.
The story of the Indian Maharaja is also special. He arrived at the hotel with 45 staff members, two removal vans and rented an entire level and stayed for two months. Over thirty servants slept on doormats in front of his room every night. One day he announced his need for extremely good cattle for milk. The story goes that farmers gathered on the Lange Voorhout from all over the country with their cattle. A different version to this story is that the Management of the hotel had an image of a cow brought to his room...
The break out of the First World War paralyzed the economy and affected the turnover of the prestigious Hotel. In 1918, the Nederlandse Uitvoer Maatschappij (NUM) came close to being established in The Hague. This company had already taken over the greater part of the Management Team of the hotel; Mrs. Haller Rey and her brother. But governmental intervention - one suspected the need of a first class hotel if the peace convention would indeed take place - prevented this from happening and saw to it that after a closure of 4 months, Hotel Des Indes acted again as a point of impact for everyday The Hague.
In 1931 the festivities around Queen Mother Emma took place. Hotel Des Indes contributed to those festivities amongst other by hanging an immensely large "E' with a crown above in front of the window on the Lange Voorhout. A circuit was created in the festive illumination however a serious fire started. It was decided that while reconstruction of the fire damage took place, an extra level on the hotel might as well be created at the same time.
During The Second World War the property was used intensely. Both by the occupying forces and by the Jews in hiding. Long before the war started, the Hotel Manager Rey had placed a pigeon house on the roof of the hotel. After all, this was his hobby! Mr. Rey did not stay in Holland during the war - his wife was shot during their escape to England and died - but his price pigeons did. Their pigeon house even sheltered people in hiding yet the pigeons were eaten by both the Germans and the people in hiding. Immediately after the war, American troops settled down at the hotel. That's how Eisenhower, Churchill and Montgomery also found their way to the hotel.
Where Mr Rey - he died in England - had a pigeon house on the roof, his son (who took over the hotel) instead placed a model railway and a Flag of Monaco . For this former R.A.F. pilot was not only Hotel Manager, but also Consul General of Monaco. The fifties and sixties brought along many changes concerning Tourism. Travelers preferred new hotels with modern facilities. Fortunately son Rey was not only Hotel Manager and Consul, but also an inventor. He invented several innovations for the elegant Hotel Des Indes. Familiar guests such as Ministers, Ambassadors and other official persons returned and showed their loyalty to tradition and splendor. Also, the number of business guests increased.
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