Grand Hôtel du Lévrier et de l’Aigle Noir
In Maastricht on 5 June 1950, the ‘deed of foundation’ for establishing the Hotel School was attested by the notary A.F. Derks. The starting capital was exactly 500 guilders (€ 226.89). The Hotel School officially opened about 4 months later on 28 September.
The courses were taught in a hotel: the Grand Hôtel du Lévrier et de l’Aigle Noir on the Boschstraat in Maastricht. This was handy as it enabled the students to immediately put theory into practice. In those days, the programme lasted three years and was open to about one hundred students, all of whom were male.
It soon became apparent that the hotel was too small. Château Bethlehem was purchased in 1954 and the students moved there straight after the most essential renovation work had been completed. In 1969, money became available for major renovations and expanding the castle’s facilities.
Originally, the students boarded at Château Bethlehem. However, they later demanded a bit more freedom. Student flats were built on the campus behind the education block while the teachers moved into the castle. In the early years, the campus could accommodate all the students but this was no longer possible later. The school grew quickly and now has about 1,100 students. Since 1985, only the first-year students are living on campus. For most students, this obligatory year has been an experience that they would not have wanted to miss.
Higher vocational education
The Hotel School welcomed its first female students in the academic year 1975-1976. Now girls are in the majority, which is something that no one would have imagined at that time. As a result of the Further Education Act of 1963, hotel training was reclassified as higher vocational education and the name of Hotel School was changed to ‘Catholic Higher Hotel School Maastricht’ (Katholieke Hogere Hotelschool Maastricht). In 1984, hotel schools were given permission to extend their courses to 3½ years and in 1986 all higher vocational courses became 4-year programmes. Since then, ‘Catholic’ has been dropped from the name and replaced with ‘Management’. The school’s official name is now the Hotel Management School Maastricht.
Château Bethlehem has undergone major renovation and was fully converted into a hotel in 2010. The exterior of the building has been preserved but the interior has been transformed into a striking ‘hotel with design’. The students of yesteryear can now stay in beautiful hotel rooms where they used to live rather more modestly as students. The hotel, now called Teaching Hotel Château Bethlehem, is where first-year students get their first practical experience. Just as in 1950, students can immediately put theory into practice in a real hotel.