At Traveltomtom we love to show you all corners of the world. The crazier a destination sounds, the more curious we are. We love to travel the world and show you other countries and cultures. But what’s just as much fun as showing you the world? Showing you Traveltomtom’s home! We have been exploring our own backyard for the past few weeks, and have discovered some hidden gems in Limburg and just recently we reviewed the Merici Hotel in Sittard, a hotel housed in a monastery!
It’s a restored monastery located in the monastery quarter in Sittard. The hotel opened back in 2011, but went bankrupt in 2017. A new start was made only a few months later thanks to a new owner and investor.
The new start also meant a major expansion of the hotel. It initially had 43 rooms, but after the new start they expanded to the current 86 rooms. A new wing was added to the hotel to make this possible. The vaulted cellar underneath the hotel was converted into an attractive restaurant, that is now known as Bistrot Volte and a hip and trending hotspot in Sittard.
From 2022 MERICI Hotel may bear the name of MGallery Hotel Collection. This collection of selected and uniquely curated hotels worldwide is part of the Accor Hotels, one of worlds biggest leading hotel groups. After INK Hotel Amsterdam, MERICI Hotel will be the second Dutch hotel to bear the name of MGallery.
Since Traveltomtom is from The Netherlands you can find a wide array of interesting articles about our country on our travel blog. Are you planning to travel to The Netherlands then check out our article about the best places to visit in The Netherlands.
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History of the monastery
Angela Merici, namesake of the hotel, was an Italian religious. She is the founder of the Ursulines, who founded the original part of the monastery, nowadays the classical wing of the hotel.
The Monastery Quarter is an ensemble of 7 national monuments. It once consisted of two separate monasteries, the Dominican Monastery and the Ursuline Monastery, located on either side of the Basilica. Over the centuries, the buildings have been expanded, to eventually a continuous complex.
The Dominican Monastery was built in the 17th century by the Dominican Fathers. Several monastic orders have been active here, including the Jesuits and the Franciscans. All three monastic communities provided education. Today the complex serves as an apartment complex and hotel.
Sittard a Place of Pilgrimage
Something I never knew, and learned while staying at the MERICI Hotel is that Sittard has always been a place of pilgrimage, and still is today. The Monastery Quarter is also home to the Basilica and the Maria Park. Sittard was a place of pilgrimage, but the chapel of the Ursulines Monastery soon became too small for the large influx of pilgrims. The plans for the Basilica were made in 1873, and the construction was finished in 1877. In the years following the numbers of pilgrimages grew fast. So fast that even de Basilica became too small, so they built and opened the Mariapark across the street. The Mariapark is a complex consisting of four wings around an inner garden. The building was completed in the nineteenth century and was used as a resting place and residence for pilgrims.
The Basilica is still visited daily by pilgrims and individual pilgrims to give thanks or ask for a favor. Both the Basilica and the Mariapark are open to the public free of charge.
Location Merici Hotel
The MERICI Hotel is located in the Monastery Quarter in Sittard. It’s the oldest part of Sittard, and after visiting the city, we think it’s the best part of Sittard too!
It’s located right in the center of Sittard, just a minute walk from the market square and the shopping streets. A prime location, you won’t find a better one.
Even though you’re right in the center of the city, you don’t notice it. MERICI Hotel is surrounded by gardens, so even when you go outside, you hear nothing but the sounds of nature.
I enjoyed the rising sun on our balcony every morning, and even though I could almost see the market square, I could only hear the birds chirping, the best!
The central location of the hotel makes it easily accessible by public transport. Travelling by car is no problem either. The ODA parking Sittard is located just a 2 minute walk from the hotel, and even has a private parking area for hotel guests. The public car park will cost you €5,- per 24 hours, want to park at the private hotel parking, that will cost you €15,- per 24 hours.
MERICI Hotel is surrounded by gardens, which is quite unique considering it’s located in the heart of the center of Sittard. The secret and unknown gardens of Sittard tell a wonderful story. MERICI Hotel is located on five of the 27 city gardens in Sittard. Take a lovely city walk through this ancient and cozy city, the best way to spend a morning or afternoon in this city.
The gardens adjacent to MERICI Hotel are: Ursuline gardens, Cour Solanus, Jardin D’Isabelle and the city wall of Sittard.
The Ursuline Gardens were realized in 1993 in the former gardens of the monastery of the Ursulines, hence the name of the gardens. The garden consists of a part of the city canal, a few rose beds, a pear lane and a playground, the cemetery of the Ursulines is also still present in the gardens.
The Cour Solanus and Jardin d’Isabelle are located in front of the hotel on the side where Restaurant George’s is located. Beautiful, peaceful and quiet gardens, where you can retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The city wall also runs alongside the hotel, from this wall you have a beautiful view of the Cour Solanus, Jardin d’Isabelle and MERICI Hotel.
Restaurant George’s is the fine dining hidden gem and one of the best restaurants in Sittard! It’s a beautiful culinary hotspot, hidden in a small alley, with two secret gardens. The restaurant is located in the imposing, five meter high, old refectory.
The restaurant has an open kitchen on an elevation, no secrets from the chefs here. During the renovation of the restaurant, more and more original elements appeared, such as an old beamed ceiling and beautiful cast iron ornaments and beams. They have blended them perfectly into their design.
Restaurant George’s is your place to go for some true fine dining. You can choose for a 3, 4, 5 or 6 course dinner, even with some surprises before and in between, like some great apetizers and pre dessert.
We were lucky enough to eat here the first evening of our stay, and truly enjoyed the atmosphere and the delicious food.
Compliments to the staff of George’s, who are very international, so not all of them speak Dutch, but their service was excellent! Restaurant George’s is next level and definitely worth making a reservation when visiting Sittard.
Fun Fact: Restaurant George’s has already hosted the unveiling of the new Lexus NX and the Directors’ Dinner of Fortuna Sittard Football Club also took place here.
Bistrot Volte is the other restaurant at the MERICI Hotel. It is your place to go for the quicker bite, a relaxed lunch or dinner in an intimate atmosphere.
It’s more casual than George’s, but still quite chic.
The vaults have been restored and give the place an intimate feeling.
The spacious terrace that floats above the water; in the middle of the ‘secret gardens’ of Sittard, offering pure relaxation.
Traveltomtom’s Travel Tip for Sittard
A camini is a very short pilgrimage experience. Not everyone has the time to take weeks or months off to walk to Spain on a pilgrimage. One of the things you can do in Sittard and surroundings is to experience a camino in the South Limburg landscape. There are 11 caminis (routes) you can choose from. These pilgrimage walks all go along the original Jacob’s route and are especially designed for reflection and awareness, just like when you would walk to Santiago de Compostela.
We walked one of these camini’s, as it totally fits in the pitcture here. We walked route two, called the senses route, because there is so much beauty to see. The walk stimulates all the senses. Life is fast all the time, so walk, enjoy and reflect in South Limburg!
Our lunch tip when staying in Sittard couldn’t fit the topic better. In fact, when walking the senses camini route you actually pass this brasserie on your route. That’s how we found this place.
Brasserie Abshoven is located in an old church, and believe me, that is truly impressive, and something else!
Behind the church you’ll find a beautiful and quiet terrace. It overlooks the Absbroeks forrest and the Geleenbeekdal nature reserve.
Merici Hotel Sittard Review
We stayed in the newer and modern part of the hotel. During our stay, the classic part of the hotel was occupied by Ukrainian war refugees. MERICI Hotel currently hosts about 90 refugees. It’s a sad thing that this is necessary, but well done MERICI Hotel for giving these people a temporary home, great job!
If you have never visited Sittard before, you definitely should start thinking about visiting! Sittard has an ancient and cozy city center, and is the perfect gateway to South Limburg and the Heuvelland.
We highly recommend staying at the MERICI Hotel when visiting Sittard. It simply has the best location you can think of, and the historic and ancient Monastery Quarter really add to your overall experience. It’s a special place, and you will leave with special memories for sure.
They used to offer guided tours of the hotel and the Monastery Quarter, which unfortunately aren’t running at the moment. I think it’s very unfortunate and a great loss that these tours are currently not being offered. I would love to see these tours coming back to you MERICI!
This blog was written by travel writer and Traveltomtom team member Ashley. She stayed at the lovely Merici Hotel in Sittard, on behalf of Traveltomtom, and wrote this hotel review blog about her stay and experiences.