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“First Time at a Dutch Center Parcs”

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Center Parcs De Kempervennen
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Westerhoven
Reviewed 29 October 2011

Having despaired at the ever increasing cost of CP's in England, we took the plunge this year and went Dutch. It couldn't have been a greater success. Our holiday was extended by two days (via Pride of Hull North Sea ferry) and even with a full buffet on board, the whole CP experience was CHEAPER than the equivalent in England by a long way! How can you compare £1399 in England with £550 in Holland. You would hardly notice the difference between De Kempervennen and Sherwood Forest. In fact, it reminded me of what CP used to be like when we first started there nearly 15 years ago. Relaxed, no pressures, cheap and a great place for a family to unwind together. No pressured sales and expensive activities. In fact, by booking early we got nearly £50 of activities (toppings) for free. Did the kids miss the expensive activities? Not a bit, but my wallet did.

The Aqua Mundo was every bit as good as Sherwood Forest. In fact, everyone voted the water rapids BETTER - faster, more excitement and quicker turnaround. We went on again and again and again! There was the usual wave pool, tubes etc and an interesting underwater WWF sponsored aquarium/snorkelling experience.

Outside, there were the same activities - cycling, badminton, squash, tennis, adventure golf, pedalos but something was missing, The queues.....oh and we didn't see as many squirrels! (The ones we did see were red ones though,) It was just so much more relaxed, quieter and more peaceful. How CP used to be - walking and cycling through forests with the excitment of the dome and water slides thrown in.

The restaurants were all inside the magical market dome and served good quality, if a little pricey, food. The supermarket was wonderful.I love going into supermarkets abroad and exploring and this was a massive supermarket for CP. The most amazing part was the fresh bread counter. Every morning I cycled to the dome and picked up warm bread rolls, croisants and pain au chocolate to take back to the villa. Who says continental brekfasts are boring!

Overall, we took a risk and it paid off. There was so much to do at de Kempervennen for all ages (our children are 6-16) and a lot of it is free or very cheap. I sound like a cheapskate but I just appreciate good value, and this was just that. I like quality too and this is no different to England, just quieter and friendlier. The pool was a big hit and as it was about an hour and a half drive from the ferry, not much different to the drive to Nottingham. Kampervennen comes recommended and we are going to try another Dutch CP next year. That is part of the excitement of the CP's - exploring a new one for the first time.

Room Tip: The villas around the edge of the site have a road running past and so are not as peaceful as those...
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank gnreid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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688 - 694 of 1,315 reviews

Reviewed 4 October 2011

Great location, easy to find, and not too far from Eindhoven.
I have visited several Centerparcs in Holland, and liked this one compared to some of the other ' Sunparks' Centerparcs.
The Villa was okay, not as comfortable or as well looked after as the ones in UK, I remember the smell of cigarettes permeating in the upholstery and curtains.. Not ideal, if you are non smokers or have kids with you.
I like the site, and facilities good, especially the indoor ski dome. Making bookings at the ski center can be a problem, so I would recommend arranging this at the time of the main booking.
Some nice lakeside walks and region perfect for long bike rides.. Will definitely return to this site.

Room Tip: Make sure you specify you want a NON- SMOKING Villa.
  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled with family
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9  Thank Michael F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2011

We chose this Center Parcs due to cheaper cost compared to the UK. We've visited Center Parcs before so knew pretty much what to expect, and on the whole, if you like the UK parks, you will like this one.

We were particularly impressed with the relaxed atmosphere and feel that the park compared favourably with the UK on this point. The pool is great for young children - in the UK, they're not allowed on the Rapids etc, but in Holland, as long as they wear one of the (provided) orange flotation vests, then you can let the kids go on what you like (with parental supervision of course). This is much more sensible than trying to persuade our 3 year old that he wouldn't be allowed on with his big sister. We liked the fact that the dome is more open plan (more of a cafe / bar feel, rather than just designated restaurants) meaning you could just sit and enjoy a beer or two in the evening if you wanted, or a hot chocolate for the kids. There were a few restaurants, nothing to particularly write home about, but good enough if you did want to book a table for a meal.

The villa (we just went for a comfort villa) did have a faint smell of smoke, which was disappointing as there was a no-smoking sign in there. Also be warned that there is no oven - only a hob and a microwave. Also we'd ordered a towels and sheets package and it failed to materialise, we had to go to reception and collect our own . . . but other than that, it was pretty much like the UK.

The thing to bear in mind is that the price is much cheaper than the UK, so that kind of made up for the minor irritations with the villa - and after all, if you want complete and utter luxury, you probably wouldn't be going for this kind of holiday anyway!

We would definitely book again.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank Alison G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2011

Hi!

I stayed at Center Parcs De Kempervennen with my boyfriend from 26th August till 2nd September 2011. We stayed at a Premium cottage for 2 people. Although there are some aspects we didn't like about the resort, we were very suprised and amazed about it.

First of all, I'm going to describe the positive aspects about it:
-The park in general as well as the cottage is very clean.
-The staff was mostly very friendly and always ready to help.
-We were very surprised about the variety of activities on offer. It is barely impossible to get bored when staying in the park.
-We were also very amazed about the good state of the properties and materials, such as bicycles, skies and kitchen materials.
-We were very astonished about the way they care of nature. The animals have a lot of free space and aren't kept enclosed. What is more, they are very well-organized to get a car free park. We were very surprised that they control if all the cars are on the car park (the morning after arriving, we noticed that a note had been attached to the cars which weren't on the car park and didn't have an approval note on the car that they could stay near the cottage).

Now I'm going to talk about the negative aspects of our stay at Center Parcs De Kempervennen:

PRIOR TO OUR ARRIVAL

-Before making the booking, we asked to be sent a brochure of Center Parcs and as a reply we were told that they currently don't have any brochures in English and that we should have a look on the website. We had the impression that the staff at the Customer Contact Center weren't very cooperative and didn't try to find a customer-friendly solution, e.g. we weren't asked whether we would like to have a brochure in an other language nor did they suggest us to send us one in one of our country's languages (we are from Luxembourg).
-After making the booking, in order to organize our stay, we asked for the opening hours of the activities by e-mail. As a reply we got the opening hours of the Aqua Mundo and were told to call the reception of Center Parcs De Kempervennen. This reply wasn't very cooperative and customer-friendly neither.

WHAT EFFECT THE LACK OF INFORMATION PRIOR TO OUR ARRIVAL HAD ON OUR STAY

As the website doesn't contain the necessary information concerning opening hours of the facilities and as the staff at the Customer Contact Center wasn't very cooperative either, we didn't know the opening times of the facilities before arriving. Knowing the opening times, we would have organized our stay better.
* We booked a mid-week (Monday to Thursday) at the Montana Snowcenter. When we arrived, we learned that the Montana Snowcenter was closed on Mondays and that our booking was from Tuesday to Friday instead. However, we couldn't make use of the last day as we went home on Friday and as the Montana Snowcenter only opened in the evening at 6 pm, which means we could only use it for 3 days. If we had known the opening times before our arrival, we would have booked a weekend, which would have meant 3 days access to the Montana Snowcenter and we would have paid less (price for 4 days 68,50 € per person and for 3 days 55 € per person, which would have been
13,50 € less per person). What is more, we would have booked more activities and our other activities on other days if we had known about the opening times of the Montana Snowcenter.
*Most restaurants are only open from 5 pm to 8 or 9 pm (some restaurants till 9.30 pm during the weekend). It would have been better if the restaurants had longer opening times. Prior to arrival, we had booked sports activities from 6 pm to 7 pm and would have liked to have a meal in the Market Restaurant afterwards but as the restaurant was only open till 8 pm (and we didn't know this before our arrival), this wasn't possible. As this restaurant offers every day a different buffet, we couldn't have a meal in this restaurant as our preference was on days when we had booked the activities.

DURING OUR STAY

-The signs in the park weren't very foreigner-friendly. They were only written in Dutch. However, many foreigners visit the park, so it would be helpful if the signs were at least also in English.
What is more, the staff in the Market Café didn't make the effort to speak a foreign language. When we were asked to order, they spoke Dutch and when they knew we didn't know Dutch (after our order), they carried on speaking in Dutch (although they know German and English).
-Regarding gastronomy offers at Center Parcs De Kempervennen, there wasn't a lot of choice for lunch (only the Market Café and Snacks were open).
-On the day of arrival we saw a sign on several (not all) bus stops saying that the bus wasn’t working for technical problems. Later on, there were no signs any more but we hadn't seen the bus all week.
-On Saturday, we asked for a map of the area at the Information Desk. The staff member replied he could give us a bicycle route map, but after checking he said they didn't have any maps any more. We then asked where we could buy one, but he couldn't give us advice (he suggested to try at Toys and Souvenirs shop). Furthermore, we also didn't get any useful answer to our questions nor any leaflets regarding the area at the reception, e.g. when asking for a specialist shop for electrical equipment the receptionist said she didn't know. All in all, we couldn't get anywhere in the park any information brochures or any other information about the area.
-On 25th August (after 10 pm), after having gone to bed, we could still hear music from the Market Dome (this was only during the last night we spent there).

THE COTTAGE

Regarding the cottage, we noticed several deficiencies:
*At the day of arrival, in the fitting room 3 bulbs didn't work.
*The toilet lid was missing (toilet seat was present)
*The cooker in the cottage was a gas cooker. There was no information about the type of cooker on the website. For security reasons we prefer cooking with an electric cooker instead of a gas cooker. If we had had information about the type of cooker, we would have brought a mobile electric cooker.
*The double beds are 2 matrasses put together and you should make sure whether your cottage includes linen (we thought ours had linen but this wasn't the case). If not, linen can be borrowed for a charge.

As a conclusion I can say that Center Parcs De Kempervennen is a very nice place to spend the holidays, however you should try to get some information about the area prior to arrival and call the reception of the park in order to get the opening times of the facilities so that you can organize your holiday without getting any disappointment upon arrival.

I can say that despite the deficiencies I wouldn't hesitate recommending this resort if someone asked me and I would go back at any time (though organizing myself differently).

I hope my review helps you making your choice :-)

Room Tip: In case someone has a disability I recommend to book a cottage close to the Market Dome and the rece...
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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14  Thank Sally B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2011

We've been Centreparcs fans for years having been to most of the resorts in the UK and decided to try out this resort in Europe. Although the resort was more interesting with the ski centre we were shocked with the 'premium comfort kids' villa which was very old and reeked of bleach on our arrival. After the initial smell passed, we found the villa to be damp and smelly especially in the children's room which was not usuable. The mattresses on the beds were old and fulll of bed bugs and we all came away with bites.

Won't be rushing back in a hurry.

Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
9  Thank 987intrepid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2011

This is the 5th Center Parc we've been to, and it's definitely the best out of the lot (especially when comparing against the backdrop of a rather disappointing visit last year to the Domaine de Trois Forets). I'll be assuming the reader may not be familiar with CenterParcs, so if you are, please excuse the excessive amount of details.

De Kempervennen is located in the middle of a pine forest, with a largish (probably artificial) lake in the middle (making the navigation within the park a rather trivial affair - there's one road along the lake, another one along the perimeter, and plenty of radial roads/paths) and all kinds of little rivulets flowing throughout. The park is almost entirely flat, which (considering that cars are banned through most of the week) makes bicycles the ideal means of transportation (you can either bring your own, or rent one at the bicycle center). There is also a bus circling the park every half an hour (but some of the days of our stay it was out of commission). The cottages are of the older sort (as compared to those of Domaine Des Trois Forets), but are well maintained and thoughtfully located. This time we went for the more expensive (VIP) kind, which meant larger living room (nice if you're having people over for a visit), a Jacuzzi tab, a personal sauna, and a prime location - within 2 mins. walk from the Montana Ski center (the real reason for the choice both of the park and of the cottage type). Also, you get bread roll every morning on your door handle (make sure to leave the shopping trolley out in the evening for the delivery service, otherwise they just leave them outside, for the benefit of the birds and the beasts) and 2 vouchers for 12 euros each for the supermarket (it says you can only buy "breakfast food" with them, but in reality you can spend them on anything in the supermarket). Speaking of the supermarket, it's quite expensive (so we usually shop up in the nearest city before checking in into the park), but it's ok to replentish the fresh food stuff.

So, the Ski center. If you're an even slightly experienced skier (feeling comfortable on blue slopes and up), and so are your family, and you don't have a freestyler among you, you may just as well skip it: a single 100 m slope will not be challenging enough to bother getting the ski equipment on. If, on the other hand, you're contemplating taking your loved ones with you for your next Alps vacation, but you're afraid to discover they're not into skiing while on the mountain - by all means, book them a course at the ski center. That's what I did, and I'm really happy about it. The kids just loved it. The instructors are good, the equipment is quite decent, and you can rent skiing suites and gloves for 5 euros per day per person. Do note that the middle of the week course lasts just 3 days (with 1 hour lesson each). There is a restaurant on the second floor, from which you can watch your loved ones learn the basics of the pizza slice slide on the slope below.

Other attractions: there's the water ski and wakeboard (we haven't tried it, but it looks good from the side - make sure to reserve in advance), the roofed sports center (tennis, squash, ping-pong tables, gym, pool table), paddle boats on the lake (the boats are REALLY heavy. Too bad they don't have any rowing boats or electric boats - the lake is very nice, but the boats are quite awful), children farm (very nice - we've spent quite a lot of time there), and pretty much all the other standard attractions. The Aqua Mundo is great (although the 'tropical fish' thing was a bit disappointing: I thought you get to swim with the fish somehow, in reality there are aquariums along the sides of a pool, and you dive in order to look at them). The Dome in general is on the smaller scale (than, say, the one in Domaine des Trois Forets), but it's cosy and nice (with the only exception being the hoards of smokers lining the only exit: placing the ashtrays at the entrance may make sense for the smokers during the rain, but not for the kids and other non-smokers trying to navigate the doors). There are all kinds of shows at the dome, both for kids and adults, unfortunately, they are all in Dutch. There are also Wannabe activities for the kids, but they require prior registration (if you ordered one on the site, and you get an e-mail from them, make sure to answer with the activity you've chosen).

Eating out: the market restaurant (all you can eat buffet) is nice - lots of options for every taste, though rather expensive. We also tried the family grill restaurant, and it was rather disappointing: the menu is not very rich in options.

What I liked in particular is the service. The Aqua Mundo is open till the last moment stated - and then some. Same with the restaurants. Everyone speaks English, and is happy to help.

One more info item, mysteriously absent from the CenterParcs site. There's a laundry service (9-13 on Mo-Thu), and a laundromat (any time any day) near the reception: buy the tokens to operate the washer at the reception, the dryer takes 50 cent coins for every 10 mins of laundry (I found it easiest to drop 3 coins at once and set it to the highest temperature, then pick up the laundry 30 mins later).

As for attractions within a (relatively) short driving distance, Eindhoven is worth a visit, and if you're into cars, make sure to visit the DAF museum there. Duisburg is famous for it's zoo (make sure to visit the dolphin show, but take an upper row), and Efteling theme park is nothing short of amazing.

Room Tip: We really liked the spaciousness of the VIP cottages (but the basic ones are fine too)
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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13  Thank dimrub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2011

the hotel and facilities were amazing. pity just that on every activity for the kids you have to pay an extra.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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    • Sleep Quality
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Thank Thai0710
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Center Parcs De Kempervennen

Address: Kempervennendreef 8, 5563 VB Westerhoven, The Netherlands
Region: The Netherlands > North Brabant Province > Westerhoven
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Westerhoven
Price Range: $99 - $347 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Center Parcs De Kempervennen 3.5*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
De Kempervennen Holiday Park offers a varied, unique and sporty selection of activities for a carefree holiday. In addition to having a wonderful time in the subtropical leisure pool, strolling through the Market Dome - with various restaurants, a grand café and lovely shops – you can try climbing, baby and toddler swimming, archery or go in search of Big Mama. Or as a previous guest commented: “Perfect for our annual group holiday! Everything was within reach for a great week.” The park also has a number of unusual types of accommodation, such as the spacious Eden cottages and luxury houseboats. The countryside as a playground De Kempervennen has two large lakes where you can go diving in search of the giant catfish Big Mama. Or you can go water skiing and wake boarding on the water which you can also whoosh over on the Zip Wire. You can be in the beautiful Malpi nature reserve in minutes by mountain bike, but to be honest, you don’t even need to leave the park for a really great time. Jump into your skis or snowboard the whole year round in the 5500 m2 of real snow in Montana Snowcenter, try paintballing with your friends or gain your PADI diving certificate during one of the multiple-day courses. “Really great for the children” The innovative holiday park offers a huge number of great activities for children of all ages, both indoor and outdoor. Orry and his friends put on various shows while children can play at being a chef, princess, knight or painter. Or how about snorkelling among exotic fish, a DJ workshop or the Aqua Scooter which will pull you along under water? And there is an extensive and highly entertaining programme in the evenings, as witnessed by this enthusiastic guest: “Holland’s got Talent: eat your heart out..!!!” Come and discover for yourself why De Kempervennen, about fifteen kilometres south of Eindhoven, is rightly called the ‘Pearl of Center Parcs’. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Center Parcs De Kempervennen Hotel Westerhoven
Center Parcs De Kempervennen Westerhoven

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