Twelve isn’t really a sexy number and given a dozen years together, Teko and I didn’t really think it warranted any extraordinary effort. But because of all the corona-related changes we’ve had to go through this year, any chance to celebrate has taken on more significance, and after our milestone was brought up again and the idea of a staycation in a few hotels popped up several times in conversation, one and one came together. A date for Sunday afternoon tea would do.
The colonial-style Hotel Des Indes, with its palm trees and tropical plants, its old world feel shaped by 150 years’ history, was often in and out of our radar. The former because it was in The Hague, a city that Teko had little affection for, and the latter because of its grand dame appeal and as the de facto residence for visiting bigwigs, a designation that, apart from what the Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam carries, is rare in these parts.
Heavy traffic aside, we lucked out on street parking at the back of the hotel, and after just two minutes’ walk was face to face with the Des Indes’ imposing facade. There was an uneasy quiet, though, no guests streamed in nor out, no staff manned the front doors, a deserted vehicle blocked the main driveway. I felt a heightened anticipation anyway as we walked through the revolving door and straight onto the lounge, ready to experience what the lofty Des Indes had to offer.
After all these years I think Teko and I have finally reached a solid rhythm with one another. Less conflicts, more appreciation of circumstances. As we sat there surrounded by velvet and marble trappings, as a couple it proved to me that this relationship that’s gone through so many highs and lows has reached a comfort zone that given more time can get even easier – though hopefully not too boring.
With the closure of the Tassenmuseum in Amsterdam and consequently the end of their afternoon teas, the Des Indes version is now the best I’ve had the fortune to experience here. It’s not quite equal to the sophistication offered by Claridge’s in London but more akin to the quality and atmosphere at Edinburgh’s The Dome. With their inclusion of tuna, risotto, and quiche to the usual afternoon tea mainstays we came out of it absolutely stuffed and even had to decline any more of the delicious tea, so in the end it was actually a good deal. I hope the disquieting silence at the hotel ends soon as it would be a shame if they went the same way as others have in these uncertain times. After Des Indes there may not be any place left just as good.