Saturday 08 August 2020

Brisk North Sea and free-flowing beer: holiday makers divert cancelled trips to ‘Costa Holanda’

Almost the Turkish coast? Photo: Corendon

Swimming costume packed and beach gear on, Jennie Fix was looking forward to a day of relaxing sun. Except this care home worker from IJsselmuiden was not on the way to the ‘Turkish riviera’ of Antalya as planned.

Face masks on, in a coach together with her husband Dick and daughter Gera, she was on her way to ‘Costa Holanda’ — having swapped her Turkish Corendon break for a holiday on the North Sea.

‘We were going to Turkey for 10 days, but Turkey is closed and I was also afraid that if the borders closed, we couldn’t come back,’ she tells DutchNews.nl. ‘You could get a voucher, but this is the moment that we could all go away.’

So they — like 7,000 others — part swapped their foreign holiday for a break at the Corendon Village Hotel in Badhoevedorp, with a frequent shuttle service to central Amsterdam or nearby Zandvoort beach.

‘Zandvoort is nice, although if you are here for longer, it would be nice to have more change of food,’ she says. ‘On our last day it’s nice weather, but if the weather’s bad there’s nothing you can do about it.’

Your very own 747 to explore Photo: Corendon

Fortunately, when DutchNews.nl visited, the sun was streaming down in the Corendon Village Hotel, which was well fitted out with hygiene stations, a restaurant reservation system and space for social distancing in the check-in queue. For those who can’t face a holiday without squeezing into an airline cabin, it also has a retired KLM 747-400 aeroplane in its garden and offers tours (with face masks) from the cabin sleeping pod to the cockpit.

‘We are at 50% capacity and the plaza building is full,’ marketing executive Jelmer Schoolder says. ‘We created the “Costa Holanda” for the summer and in the autumn, which isn’t always so nice, we will keep the all inclusive concept with days out to Amsterdam, Volendam and Zandvoort, with museums, and tea and coffee included. Corendon can be smart and flexible, and that’s what we need right now.’

The company, named after a Turkish semi-precious stone, aims to offer ‘diamond’, quality for a much lower price and it seems this is something guests appreciate after a difficult time during the coronavirus epidemic.

Although Corendon has had to cancel 200,000 holidays and issue €76m in vouchers, occupancy at the 680 bedroom Village Hotel has steadily risen and August is looking up. While some hotels have been looking at occupancy of around 10%, Schoolder says that at a recent hoteliers’ meeting he was one of the few to report more than half of bedrooms full.

Price

Price was a major pull for the guests when DutchNews.nl visited. For €230 each, Eindhoven students Hoy Heinemans and Stef Willems had come away with five couples for two nights and three days.

‘It’s different from the Turkish coast, but we had good weather and you can’t complain,’ said Willems.

At Zandvoort beach, a short walk away from the coach stop was the ‘Corendon beach club’ — a modern building with a good quality all-day buffet and bar leading onto smart windbreaks and sun beds lined up on the beach. The sky was blue, the sand was fine, the beer and wine were flowing and Esther Heijdendael and Melanie Baars from Dordrecht were in bikinis soaking it all up.

‘It’s a good idea,’ said Heijdendael. ‘We aren’t at home, it’s a holiday, and the only thing is that the guys are on the young side.’ And the slightly green and very chilly North Sea? ‘We might go for a little dippie, even if it’s a bit fresh!’

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