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“Renovation is badly needed”

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Center Parcs Het Heijderbos
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Heijen
Reviewed 27 July 2010

I quite often visit the parks of Center Parcs and it always tells me one thing: the cottages are all in need of a renovation. Why I still go? Because it appeals to me so completely. The plaza and pool, the activities, the nature, the environment, it al adds up and therefore I take the poor state of the cottages for granted.
Although Heijderbos features new cottages, the cottages Eden, I think it would have been better if they used that money for the renovation of the old cottages first. The Eden cottages are just too expensive for the general public.
The old cottages are only worth the money if you book them with the maximum number of adults in it, but then again, the cottages are often too small for adults only.
Nevertheless, the other parts of the parc make it worth going.

Visit the bar-restaurant "Old Inn" in Ottersum nearby. Great for lunch and diner and with 10 different draught beers and even more in a bottle.
Nijmegen and Arnhem are great for shopping.
Rent a bike and visit the surroundings. By using the numbered routes you can cycle as short or as long as you want.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank JSA13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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183 - 189 of 625 reviews

Reviewed 7 January 2010

We couldn't go on a long trip because we weren't able to get care for our cats. So we decided to go somewhere we could take them with us. Since i had been to Centerparcs in the past i decided that we would go to a luxury cottage. The cottage we booked had a sauna, bath and completly equiped kitchen.

Upon our arrival at the parc we drove to the drive through check in to avoid the lines at the reception area. This worked great for us, we got a package with our keys, coupon for internet acces and some information about the entertainment this week.

We drove our car up to the cottage and unloaded. First things that caught my attention where the many flies and the not so fresh smell in the hallway. After getting past that we dropped our luggage and looked around. It was a nice cottage but there was some wear and tear at some places.

The sauna in the cottage was great, beds where ok. Another nice thing was the coupon to get some food from the shop to use at the breakfast. Every morning there was bread delivered to our cottage. Downside was that it wasn't that much, don't know if it was meant to be for four persons which the cottage was made for. If that was the case it's surely wasn't enough since the two of us just managed with that.

We found some defective outlet and called to make an appointment to fix that. Usually you wouldn't need to be in but since we had pets. They didn't manage to be there even after a hour, we didn't bother to get another appointment.

The park offers enough entertainment, free acces to subtropical waterpark, indoor center with shops, cafes and restaurants.

We where pleasantly surprised by the quality / price of the food offered. One downside was that we reserved a place in a restaurant at the park reception. Arriving at the restaurant that evening we noticed that it was closed that evening.

All in all it's a nice park but if we look at the price of our cottage for a midweek which did has some maintenance and cleaning problems it's just to expensive.

Compared to our december trip to Vegas it was just 100 euro's cheaper than the price of two tickets and 5 nights at the luxury hotel Vdara. The park is nice but you really need to go with more persons to make the price better.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank mafootje
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2009

We just got back from a midweek stay at heijderbos and I've got to say I really am surprised. We drove from the Calais ferry port and it took about 5 hours but it went smoothly (although once we were off the motorways and coming to the entrance we got lost as it wasn't well signposted, but a nice Dutch man who guessed we were lost flagged us down and directed us). We arrived at about 4.30 and there were no queues so we got to our villa straight away. When we were booking we were a little disappointed as we had planned to book a VIP villa but none were available so we got a Premium 2 person villa instead but we found it was actually pretty well equipped and had everything we needed. My favourite activity was the zip wire which we booked accidently but it was really fun and the staff were so lovely. There is quite a lot to do there but you do have to book/reserve everything, Our only complaints would be that there isn't much to do at night, there are things on but once they finish thats it really and the bar shut at 10 most nights (even though it was supposed to be open til 11). Another thing we found is that drink is so expensive, we did expect it to be but it is still quite a blow each time you get a round in. The restaurants and shops shut early too, we had to go hungry one night as we didn't realise this, but you have a fridge, small freezer, microwave and hob in the villas so you can cook some meals back there. The best thing about it though was the atmosphere and the surroundings which were really pretty and relaxing (and there's lots of wildlife too) and the staff, even though we can't speak a word of Dutch (which was a worry before we went) the staff are really kind and all spoke to us in English and chatted to us.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank hannahj119
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 November 2008

Been to a number of Center Parcs, both in Holland and the UK. This one is pleasant, and much the same as the others. about an hour and a half from the ferry terminal at Rotterdam. We arrived 10.00am Monday and stayed till midday Friday. about £250 for a two bedroomed economy at half term !!!!, I think Sherwood was around £900.

No problems registering as I had done this online and, even though it was full, there were no queues to get the car in after 3.00pm. We were handed the keys at 10.00am, a bit rare, so used to the villa until bringing the car later.

If you have been to Sherwood, the pool area is a case of Deja Vue, being exactly the same design, without the lifeguards and the flow is somewhat quicker and stronger, be prepared for bruises and scrapes. Obviously the plumeting pound makes a difference but there are a few supermarkets within a few minutes drive. The Dutch Aldi stores are very basic...but cheap.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank amandaksmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2008

This will be a short review, as much has been said already.

Last year we went to De Kempervenen which is about 1 1/2 hrs nearer to the channel ports and the extra drive did seem like a pain. The trafic Northbound through Antwerp was particularly bad both coming and going but there is not an easy way to avoid Antwerp unless you go off the beaten track.

We stopped on the way at a local supermarket and did a load of shopping, and then supplimented with their shop.

Of course we hired bikes, the bike shop can give you a free local map with a couple of cycle routes on it. Although these were a bit long for us, the map also shows you local routes through the forest to Gennep which is a pleaseant cycle. Note that you can go out the back gate (its next to "Low Adventure") to the North of the site.

I thought the wild water rapids were a bit too wild - I bashed my head on the side having completely lost control. To be fair the kids (being lighter and fitter) were OK and I was going down head first and thats against the rules (but its hard not to on some of the bits).
After I got out and was sitting there stunned, I saw someone else walk past with an ice pack on the same place.

We had an economy villa because thats all they had left. I think the de lux is better value for money because you get a dishwasher, sheets and towels.

Personally I think there is loads to do for active kids although most of the fun things can only be done when they are 8 (my 7 year old is looking forward to next year, we are thinking of Zeeland, De Kempervennen (again) or maybe one of the Belgium ones.

Stayed: April 2008
Thank WalthamstowPads
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2008

We usually visit Center Parcs somewhere in the UK at least once a year and have stayed at Longleat (once), Sherwood (once) and Elveden (approx four times). We travel with extended family and rent between two and four villas. Our group includes children aged 4, 5, 7, 9, 9 and 11 and one grandparent who has mobility problems and finds walking any distance difficult. We stayed for one week from Monday to Monday.

This year we thought we would try a Center Parcs resort in Europe and chose Het Heijderbos in The Netherlands. We hired two, four bedroom, comfort villas (the most basic) for a week. Much, much, cheaper than the cost of Center Parcs UK for the same booking period and had the advantage that it wasn't school holidays in The Netherlands during our stay. As we wanted adjacent villas we booked by telephone with no problem.

About a month before the holiday we received the pre-bookable activities information. When staying in the UK this is very comprehensive with pages of activities for you to choose from book, and pay for, prior to your holiday. The booklet for Het Heijderbos was very short with basic information on sporting activities, dining/restaurants, children's activities, sheet, towel, kitchen packs and bike hire. We decided to book the sheet package, towel package, bike hire (there was a discount if you booked bikes in advance) and the fun cooking activity. I booked these by phone about a week before we left.

I also enquired about a mobility scooter which we usually hire when visiting Center Parcs in the UK. This was not available.

We booked the ferry crossing in advance from Dover to Calais and back with P&O which cost £35 for each car, each way. The crossing was advertised as 1hr 10 mins, but took approx 1hr 30 mins. You have to check-in at least 30 mins before departure. The ferry was also at least 20 mins late leaving on each journey. We would look into using the tunnel next time.

Making use of our Garin GPS navigator we expected the drive from Calais to Center Parcs to take about 4 1/2 hours with a short stop for the toilet and petrol. We took a detour on the way there after following signs for services which turned out to be on another road and we ended up going through a toll tunnel which cost us 5 euros and added about an hour to our journey! The journey back to Calais did take 4 1/2 hours and had no tunnel.

Following advice previously posted on Trip Advisor we planned to arrive at Center Parcs after 1500 when you can drive straight to your villa and miss the 1500 rush. We arrived at 1800. Parked the car in the car park. Walked the very short distance to check in. Collected our keys, map, pre-booked activity vouchers, etc. After unloading the car at the villa you then are supposed to return your car to the car park, which we did, but a few seem not to do. There were cars parked all around the resort all week. Many had polite notices on them, asking the owners to park their cars in the car park as soon as possible, but they didn't move.

The villas look the same as they do in the UK (a bit of a shock the first time you see them) with very similar fixtures and fittings. They had more space than the UK equivalent. Clean, with lots of hot water and good heating (included in the price). There was a four ring hob, toaster, filter coffee machine, kettle, microwave, but no oven. The beds were all single with single duvets and pillows provided. You have to bring your own bedding or hire theirs. The double bed was two singles, with two single duvets. The towel packs we ordered were not in the villa. We contacted an extremely helpful person at Information (by mobile as it was getting late) and our towels arrived 10 minutes later.

We were staying in the villas which were probably the furthest from the main dome. It took about 15 - 20 minutes to walk very slowly to the dome. The able bodied members of our party hired bikes which reduced the time to about 5 - 10 minutes at 4 year old cycling speed. There were no steep hills, just slight ones. Bike hire was very straightforward. The hire shop closed at 1800 on our arrival day so we collected cycles, one with a trailer, the following day so undoubtendly missed any rush. You enter the storage area and choose your bike. They make a note of the number. All of the adult bikes had an integral lock so we didn't use the bike locks we had bought with us. As there was no refundable deposit it seemed to be common practice, if you were departing before the cycle center opened, to leave bikes outside the shop. There was a wide range of pedal vehicles available to hire including one which seated 7 people!

Dining - There was a good variety of restaurants, although there was limited choice on the menu. Food was better quality compared to UK resorts. Staff went out of their way to help. and were very friendly. (They even provided half our party of 12 with meals not on the menu and invented a vegetarian dish). Menu's were available in English (once you knew to ask for them). I would recommend booking a table if the resort is busy when you're there. Some restaurants closed at 2000. One didn't open at lunchtime. One or two were not open on certain days. Once we got the hang of what was open when, things got a bit easier. The Market Restaurant which was buffet style was popular. The menu changed daily. Aprox £18 for adults and £7 for children. You could buy a cup in any restaurant for 2,50 euros for childrens drinks. Refills were then 1 euro (just remember to take the cup with you).

Food Shopping - There was a small supermarket that sold a limited range of most things you would need and a bakery with lovely fresh bread and pastries. On our arrival day these had closed. Next time I would take a pint of milk, or two, from home for that evening and the following morning.

Fun Cooking - We pre-booked the 'Fun Cooking' activity. You can choose from fondue, hot stone, racklette or bbq. They deliver the cooking equipment of your choice and generous amounts of food on the day of your choice to your villa in cool boxes so you don't have to wait in. We opted for the racklette. There was lots to eat and we would definately do this again.

Swimming - A free activity, but you needed a barcode 'key' (which you receive when you check-in) to get through the turnstile into the changing rooms and pool area. Ours had been incorrectly programed and stopped working at the weekend which necessitated a trip to Information to get new ones. The changing rooms were empty and the pool was very quiet during the week. At the weekend it was crowded. We had to wait for showers and had trouble finding a free changing cubicle. The outdoor flume was fast. My husband usually takes our son (now 7) down them in the UK but decided this one was too 'vigourous'! The indoor slide was tame by comparison. Two lovely toddler pools with changing stations and cots available. The tropical fish were great to look at and if you didn't want to go underwater you could see them from the other side, accessed down some steps. Lockers took a 1 euro coin which was refunded.

The barcode 'keys' were also needed to gain access to the Jungle Dome which was well worth a visit. It was far too hot for the children to make the most of the climbing areas but there was a cafe available to get a cold drink. The humidity did make one member of our group wheezy though.

The sports building had a great beach volleyball area and small race track as well as all the racket sports. There was a nice area to sit outside with a drink and view the lake with pedalos and the climbing tower. We ran out of time and didn't visit the children's farm or the horse riding.

There was major excavation going on near the lake. It looked as if they were either filling in, or extending the lake. There was an advetisement for new villas complete Winter 2008 and I assume these were going to be built in this area. There was occupied villas very near this work who must have been disturbed by the noise.

One of our concerns was whether language would be a problem. It was not. Some staff spoke better English than others, but it never caused any difficulty . Other guests also switched to English to speak to us when they knew that's where we were from. I would try and learn a few words of Dutch next time. At least to say thank you.

The difference in how busy the park was between midweek Monday - Thursday and the weekend Friday - Sunday was huge. This only really caused a problem at the pool when swimming was impossible and you had to wait for a shower and a changing cubicle with shivering children. Booking a table for your evening meal was advisable. If we had to choose between a midweek or a weekend break at this time of year then we would choose the midweek.

With young children in our family we don't tend to participate in many of the more sporty or arranged activities. A morning swimming (the pool opens at 1000), lunch, then cycling round the park to one of the many children's play areas, or feeding the ducks, filled the majority of our days quite happily. The children loved it - therefore we did.

We would have no hesitation in recommending Het Heijderbos to anyone who enjoys the Center Parcs type holiday.

3  Thank JayneMartin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2007

Our fourth visit to a CenterParcs and the second one on the continent. Het Heijderbos is easy enough to find if you head for Nijmegen on the motorway network and then navigate from there.

The check in procedure is dreadful, massive queues (or their less organised continental equivalents), very busy parking lots etc.
The park is available from 1200 onwards but even when your villa is ready the keys will not be released til 1500 when there is more queueing. We checked in at 1230ish, got our bicycles and went round the camp, asked for our keys, visible on the rack at 1430 and were refused. We then went to Gennep in the car and returned at 1700. When we finally got to our villa the beds were not made and there were no towels (we had paid for the deluxe package) so we had to go back to reception to get our bits and pieces.

Those were the bad bits, the rest was good.

The pool is okay but not as big or varied as Erperheide in Belgium, and always quite crowded. The jungle dome however is excellent, a couple of days worth on its own for our five y.o. son. The kids clubs are excellent and brilliantly themed lasting for 1 to 2 1/2 hours with the kids doing a show or adventure at the end, with parents invited to watch. Horse and pony rides, water sports, bowling, miniature golf etc. all done to a high standard. Even PePeTeVe for the kids was okay here!

MovieParc near Dusseldorf is an hour away on the autobahn and we had a great day out there, stops you getting camp fever!

The small town of Gennep is five minutes away in the car and has some good quality shops like a butcher, baker and cheese shop, also a Jan Linders supermarket which has a larger range of stuff than the camp shop with some British brands. If you fancy a takeaway (we did) it has a kebab shop and two chinkies.

All in all a great place for younger children to visit, we weren't disappointed.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled with family
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5  Thank SafariSoGood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Center Parcs Het Heijderbos

Address: Hommersumseweg 43, 6598 MC Heijen, The Netherlands
Region: The Netherlands > Limburg Province > Heijen
Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Heijen
Price Range: £56 - £141 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Center Parcs Het Heijderbos 3.5*
Number of rooms: 263
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Also Known As:
Center Parc Het Heijderbos Hotel Venlo
Center Parc Het Heijderbos Venlo

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