2017. A STAR HOTEL

Take it from me, there's always a reason to throw a party.You can celebrate a friendship, a new job, winning a game… There are plenty of excuses to be found.Of course, when your business reaches its 10th anniversary, there’s no way around it.And that’s exactly what my brothers were thinking.By the time I realized it was an anniversary year, my brothers had already been organizing the celebration for some time -but without me knowing it.       

It was the autumn holiday and it had been raining all week long. We had already been to the beach, had already biked through the dunes against the wind and Olle and I had dubbed the day ' Pyjama day’.Olle was pottering around with a board game.He’s made his own version of a ‘goose board’ with squirrels, chestnuts, seahorses and scallops.I was sitting at the kitchen table, which naturally was nothing but chaos,searching through buttons and had found a fantastic button from Zeeland.At the same time, I was mounting all the pictures from our sailing trip last year into an album.We talked about how exciting that trip had been and discovered that both of us thought back to it at least once almost daily.

I was looking at the button from Zeeland and came up with an idea.How about spending the summer at sea?Olle could already picture it.Beachcombing, birdwatching, strolling on the beach, swimming and spending time outdoors every day.After all, the sun always shines at the beach.Well, almost always….

When we go to the beach, I’m going to go diving! says Olle excitedly.And rushes off to find his wetsuit and tanks.I was picturing myself on the beach (and already had a great idea for a new bikini), when my brothers suddenly showed up, together with Aunt Rieneke.Their jackets were wet from the rain, but their faces were beaming.Aunt Rieneke pulled a postcard out of her purse.My brothers had adorned the back with little drawings and in the curly handwriting of Aunt Rieneke, it said:“This winter, we’re all going to a cozy little family hotel for a weekend of fresh air, walks in the woods and snow.”I didn’t know what to say.But I loved the idea of spending the summer by the sea and the winter in the mountains!

The hotel could easily have been called The Sleeping Hunter.Or Alpine Rose.It was built against a hillside and looked to have been taken directly from a painting.The outside was completely white with accents of dark wooden balconies.The interior was both trendy and odd.There was a thick carpet runner on the wooden floor in the hallway and the striped wallpaper was interjected with panoramic views and framed insects.The three grey men at the reception desk could have easily been tax inspectors.There was a stuffed and mounted fish on the counter.Not exactly what you’d expect in a mountain hotel!There was a fireplace in the lobby, with deer antlers above it illuminated by candles.I think

the hotel had only ten rooms.The grey men looked at me skittishly as I placed my suitcase next to the stairs.They started whispering.

What did they say? I asked.

I think there’s a star in the hotel, chuckled Olle.

Aha! The perfect challenge.I was no longer interested in the hotel or views and had already slipped off my hiking shoes.I had a mission: to figure out who The Star was.So I hung out in the lobby, ‘read’ a book in the chair with the best views of the reception desk and chopped wood in the driveway.I just had to meet The Star – catch a glimpse, request an autograph, take a selfie.

But no one I encountered was a celebrity.Though I did notice more and more of my family members checking into the hotel.And suddenly my best friends were among them.When I went to my room briefly right before dinner, I found a blue envelope by my door.Someone (I now know who) had written on it:“Congratulations, Pip! We’re all here in honor of your 10th anniversary.Join us downstairs to celebrate?You’re the star tonight!”

Need I mention that it was a fantastic and memorable night?What a wonderful surprise.What a party.Here’s to the next ten years! Thank you all so much! 

Hugs and kisses from Pip