1001 nights: Arabic influences in Utrecht

Hotel-Restaurant Badhu, Utrecht
Hotel-Restaurant Badhu, Utrecht

The canals with the cozy lights already make for a fairytale scenery. But I would like to introduce you to a very specific fairytale: 1001 nights. You can’t miss the Arabic influences in our lovely Utrecht. Crossing borders without leaving the city, how amazing is that? I will highlight three places which are definitely worth visiting.

Hotel-Restaurant Badhu – We start a bit outside the city center. Hotel-Restaurant Badhu is located at Willem van Noortplein 19 in a former bathhouse building. Before it became a hotel and restaurant it was a gym. But let’s be honest, an Arabic atmosphere is much more suitable for a former bathhouse. The interior is best described as Arabic with a modern touch. This might sound as a contradiction but the two mix very well and create a unique ambiance. The trick lies in the lighting. During cold weather you can settle yourself in one of the benches with beautiful and comfortable pillows in one of the bay windows. When the sun is out, you can spend hours and hours on the couches outside accompanied by candle light. Besides the incredible impressive interior and exterior, the food and drinks are delicious. Served on silver platters and in golden teapots. The menu is based on a sort of tapas-principle. Which means you can order all kinds or small Arabic dishes in order to taste as many fantastic flavors as possible. And well, if you have friends visiting you in Utrecht and you don’t have space in your room: recommend Badhu! Because the hotel rooms are just as impressive as the downstairs interior. Every room has its own color, which is visible from the outside through the windows. Your guest might just want to spend 1001 nights in there.

Restaurant Saffraan – We will guide you back to the city center. Along the Oudegracht you will find restaurant Saffraan in one of the many arch cellars (Oudegracht 146-148). This place also perfectly combines the Arabic atmosphere with a modern touch. While it’s a normal priced restaurant, the service makes you feel like you’re in one of the most expensive restaurants in town. It’s all in the little gestures: taking your coat, addressing you super polity and pouring the drinks for you. And well, the food. Let’s talk about the food. It’s absolutely yummy. Besides the luxurious spice saffron (in Dutch: saffraan), all the spices from the Middle East are represented. A true treasure which is no longer hidden for you.

Shop Samira – As soon as you step foot in the shop Samira at Oudegracht 209 you will think ‘I want to buy e-ve-ry-thing in here!’ My favorites are the gorgeous colorful lamps which will turn your own room into a fairytale night in a jiff. But besides those, there are many many other items for sale. All from Egypt and Africa. For example the incredible clay bowls and dishes with fantastic paintings. Want to discover the origin of all these greedy-making items? Samira also offers cultural group travels to Egypt and Africa.

But for all of you who want to create the 1001 nights right here on the Dutch soil, click here to listen to the energetic tunes of Tinariwen.

By Femke

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