Sleep in the famous old water tower next to the Noorderplantsoen. Is that as fun as it sounds?

In our Special Overnight Stay section we visit extraordinary places to sleep in the Netherlands or just across the border. This time: Hotel Watertoren West in Groningen.

It is one of the most special monumental buildings in Groningen, the water tower from 1912 on the Hofstede de Grootkade. A water supply – two tanks were full of water and thanks to the pressure, pipes could supply the entire city with water – is no longer available. The tower was decommissioned in 2013. After years of renovation, Hotel Watertoren West was opened at the beginning of this year.

Bullet holes from World War II

During the liberation in the Second World War, Germans in Groningen had entrenched themselves in strategic places around the center, including in the water tower. Two of the water reservoirs were damaged during the fighting, causing a lot of water to spray out. As a result, the Germans had to leave the water tower. The Canadians’ bullet holes are still visible.

It was one big gaping hole

“The entire building has been thoroughly renovated,” says Julian Hendriks of the hotel. We’re in the skylounge , on the top floor of the building. “This used to be a water tank and there were steps everywhere to get to the tanks. Actually, this was one big gaping hole when we started. We initially had a permit for permanent residence, but we preferred to give everyone the opportunity to experience what it is like to stay in a monumental building.”

Now we are surrounded by windows, the decor is modern and stylish and the ceilings high. At the top of the tower are offices, meeting rooms that can be rented, and a Sky lounge bar which will open as a café from November 12. But back to the reason for our visit: a special overnight stay in this impressive building full of history.

Rooms furnished as complete apartments

The hotel has six floors of rooms. Each floor is decorated in its own style. The upper rooms are located between the two water tanks and have the best views. The ceilings of the rooms in the water tank are high, so there is even room for a kind of loft with a bedroom. The hotel also has two-bedroom apartments that can accommodate four people.

Hendriks: “During the week we receive many business guests who almost live here. The rooms are suitable for this, because they are furnished as apartments, including kitchens. There are more tourists at the weekend. Because the apartments are so spacious, they are very suitable for families.”

Apparently those tourists also come from Italy; the television in our room is set to Italian. We sleep on the fourth floor, in a one-bedroom apartment. We sit right below the water tank, which makes the ceiling low and bulbous. There is a spot in a darker shade here and there on the blue of the tank. “These are damages that have been repaired,” says Hendriks. “A different color had to be used for this, so that Monument Care knows exactly where the damage is and the history remains visible.”

Although the rooms are nicely decorated, it remains an industrial water tank: the steel of the tanks makes it echo a bit and in front of the entrance to the room there is a part of a water tank on which we almost hit our heads several times. The entrance to the building is like a closed fortress, not really inviting. It is not immediately clear that there is a hotel.

Chic, stylish and unique

Atmospheric or cozy are therefore not the right words to describe Hotel Watertoren West, but the rooms feel chic, stylish and unique. The bed is soft and lying in it feels like disappearing into a cloud. The kitchen is well equipped for a hotel (we only miss salt and pepper). And after a short bike ride you will be in the middle of the dazzling world of the city, you can eat at the best restaurants in Groningen and touch the grass of the Noorderplantsoen.


A room in Hotel Watertoren West can be booked via, from 184.50 per night for a room for two people. For three or four people you will spend 225 euros per night.

In the area

The hotel is located in the middle of the city of Groningen, on the Reitdiep near the Wilhelminakade. By bike, along the water, you will soon be between the meadows of the province and charming villages such as Garnwerd. A little closer is the center of the city, with numerous nice restaurants, shops and cafes. There is no need to be bored in the area around Watertoren West.