Escape Challenge – The Honeymoon Hotel [Review]

Be careful crossing the threshold.

Location: Zoetermeer, The Netherlands

Date Played: May 12, 2018

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: €119 – €129 per group

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

The Honeymoon Hotel took us through our own frightening story arc in a tale inspired by the famed serial killer H.H. Holmes. Escape Challenge’s attention to detail was dumbfounding. Every centimeter of their massive set was carefully designed. We didn’t love the final puzzle, but damn near everything else was incredible.

If you’re anywhere near Escape Challenge, it’s worth going out of your way to play The Honeymoon Hotel.

In-game: A wooden bellhop's desk with a bell and a note.

Who is this for?

  • Horror fans
  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Intense gameplay and storytelling
  • Surprising twists
  • Smart puzzles
  • Beautiful set & interaction design

Story

Inspired by the story of 19th century Chicago serial killer H.H. Holmes, Honeymoon Hotel took us on a journey through the hunting ground of a murderer who married his victims before killing them.

In-game: Closeup of a bloodied sign pointing towards the "Honeymoon suite."

Setting

Escape Challenge are world class set and interaction designers. Honeymoon Hotel was as detailed and immersive as it was intense. Light and sound led us through this escape room, surprising and startling us all along the way. 

Each new space we entered was clearly part of the hotel, but every room had its own character and purpose.

In-game: an old telephone beside a tossed bed.

Gameplay

Escape Challenge’s The Honeymoon Hotel was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, making connections, overcoming fear, and puzzling.

In-game: A baggage cart loaded with luggage.

Analysis

+ The intensity of The Honeymoon Hotel began as soon as we approached the door of Escape Challenge. It set the stage for the experience.

+ The sets of The Honeymoon Hotel felt lived in. The decor felt homey and comfortable… but not too comfortable.

In-game: The ornate ceiling light fixture on the Honeymoon suite casing a a beautiful shadow.

+ Escape Challenge used lighting and sound to guide us through the experience… and to build suspense as we traversed a new space. Movement was brilliantly orchestrated.

+ The early puzzles felt approachable. As the escape room progressed, the challenge increased along with the severity of the decor. The two worked in tandem to ramp up the intensity of the experience.

In-game: Two mounted deer heads on a wall, above is a heavily detailed ceiling.

The Honeymoon Hotel surprised us. It would present us with something familiar, and then use this in an unexpected way.

– One puzzle relied too heavily on color perception, which varies significantly among individuals.

– The final puzzle didn’t live up to the rest of the experience. It didn’t capture the drama or intensity of the previous scene. It didn’t match the aesthetic of the gamespace. It was also too small to engage the entire team.

+ Escape Challenge’s set design was impeccable; they left no detail untouched. Even as we exited the space, they added closure through a pointed choice of lighting.

In-game: A closeup of an old wooden piano.

The Honeymoon Hotel captured the spirit of H.H. Holmes. It didn’t follow any one of his many gruesome escapades. Instead, it took players on a journey inspired by these harrowing experiences. Players don’t need to know the source material to appreciate the plot of The Honeymoon Hotel, but if you’re familiar with H.H. Holmes, your imagination will make these scenes that much more intense.

Tips for Visiting

  • Drive about 1 hour from central Amsterdam.
  • Escape Challenge has two different facilities: one in Zoetermeer, the other in Delft. This experience is at the Zoetermeer location.

Book your hour with Escape Challenge’s The Honeymoon Hotel, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Challenge comped our tickets for this game.

One thought on “Escape Challenge – The Honeymoon Hotel [Review]

  1. Amazing review David. Most escape rooms have a theme that is communicated through the décor. An escape room needs to be decorated with great thought and painstaking detail. Every piece of furniture or art, every book and every item placed should fit into the world being created. Any escape room with electronic gadgets can help maintain the surprise element. Some physical clue-finding and good-old-fashioned mental puzzles should also be thrown into the mix.

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