Hotel Marcel

Bruges, Belgium Book from Book from £71 per night

Set in Bruges' medieval centre, this great-value design hotel offers quirky rooms, striking photography and a chic cafe in a historic building
In Bruges' preserved-in-aspic UNESCO-listed centre, filigree-fine Gothicism and handsome merchant houses are mirrored in graceful canals. Hotel Marcel is as central as it gets, just off Markt Square, which is ringed by guild houses so enchantingly gingerbread-like they look like you could break off a piece for a nibble.

This small hotel has a fresh style that sets it apart from the oft-traditional accommodation in Bruges' city centre. The historic 19th-century building that houses it has character, but within it feels breath-of-fresh-air contemporary. The 24 light-filled rooms have white walls, soft white linen and frosted glass, providing a serene, stylish haven. Those on the top floor offer sweeping views over to the square's 13th-century Belfry tower. Owned by a young couple who have a background in textiles, their flair for design shows, with enormous blown-up photographs of Bruges' iconic architectural design sprawling walls and ceilings.

Downstairs, there's a cafe that's popular with passers-by, and a shaded courtyard garden for alfresco breakfasts on a warm morning. Start your day with make-your-own Belgian waffles - a hit with kids - and then head out to browse the chocolate shops and historic sites right outside. You couldn't be better placed, and yet you don't have to pay the earth to be here. A rare find — sign us up!

Highs

  • A winning location in the centre of Bruges, within walking distance of popular sights
  • Accommodation is good value in what is an expensive area
  • There are superb views, including over the Belfry, from the upper floor rooms
  • Fresh, contemporary design, with wall-sized blown-up photographs of the city and its canals
  • The lovely café-bar with its garden terrace

Lows

  • Only some rooms have air-conditioning: third-floor rooms in the main building and suites in the adjacent building
  • Rooms are not especially large and some travellers may feel the frosted glass bathrooms offer limited privacy
  • Rooms in the main building don't have tea- or coffee-making facilities
  • As the hotel is in the city centre, noise from nearby bars could be an issue

Best time to go

Bruges is worth visiting at any time of year. It can be rainy in January and February and gets packed in July and August, so we consider June and December the best months overall - the latter because the city is buoyed with twinkly Christmas spirit, the former because you get the best of summer without the crowds.

Our top tips

Watch Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes in the well-regarded comic thriller In Bruges (2006) to get a sense of the cityscape before you go, and to indulge in a spot of location spotting while you're there.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
Family
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 24
  • Cafe and bar
  • Children aged five and over welcome
  • Closed: Sun-Wed during Jan, Feb & Nov
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Laundry service
Room:

Rooms

The 24 rooms are white-walled and wood-floored, with plenty of natural light. Their major design motifs are blown-up photographs, either covering the ceiling with Gothic details or offering panoramic wall-sized views across the city. A few rooms eschew photography for Gothically lettered ceiling inscriptions, giving them an even more minimalist look. Bathrooms have Grohe water-conserving rainfall showers and frosted glass walls instead of doors: not ideal for friends or families, but they do contribute to the light-and-airy feel of the rooms.

Try to get a room with a view if you can: being able to gaze out at Gothic and red-tiled rooftops adds romance, and the best on the upper floors have astounding Belfry views. There are several suites in an adjacent building, which have self-catering facilities (a microwave and a fridge) so could work well for families.

Features include:

  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is a help-yourself buffet of cereal, yoghurt, bread and pastries, and you can make your own Belgian waffles or cook your own eggs.

On street level, there's a chic café-bar with a Scandi-leaning aesthetic, pony-hide rug and a glass-encased open fire. Stop here for a coffee or a tea, a snack or light lunch, or an evening aperitif. It's got an outdoor, leafy terrace as well for sunny days.

Otherwise, the historic centre is packed with places to drink and dine: De Stove is an intimate place to sample fresh fish; Den Dyver specialises in artisanal beers, which are also used to create the sauces to accompany your meal; wood-beamed Flemish restaurant De Vlaamsche Pot serves hearty stews and juicy meatballs.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • You're only 150m from Bruges' focal point, the Markt Square, lined by medieval and Renaissance architecture. Here you can climb the 300 or so steps up to the top of the Belfry, for sweeping city views
  • Take a boat trip to glide around the city's canals, one of the finest ways to explore the city
  • Visit Burg Square with its 14th-century town hall and Basilica of the Holy Blood
  • Go chocolate tasting at the city's myriad chocolate boutiques; for real chocaholics there's the chocolate museum: Choco-Story
  • Hire a bike and take the route following the canal that rings the city centre
  • Gaze at Flemish masterpieces at the Groeninge Museum

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Kids aged five and over are welcome, and rooms can accommodate up to four people. Though there are no specific children's facilities, the hotel's location makes it an excellent base for exploring the city.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The best rooms for families are the Marcel Suites (sleep 4) in a separate building, which have kitchenettes for self-catering. There are four guest rooms in the main building that can sleep three. Please note, children are not allowed to sleep in the same bed as parents.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Hotel Marcel is in the centre of Bruges, steps away from Markt Square, in western Belgium. The best way to get here is by train and taxi.

By Air:
The closest airport is Brussels International, which is a hub for flights from all over Europe and beyond.

By Train:
Trains from Brussels to Bruges run at least every half hour and take about an hour. You can reach Brussels on the Eurostar from London St Pancras. You might want to bring a bike on your trip - it’s a great way to see the city.

By Car:
We recommend a car if you’re planning to explore Belgium; you don’t need one if you’re just coming to Bruges for a short break. Bruges is an easy drive from Brussels, just over an hour. Once you reach the city, beware of cyclists and one-way streets. Private parking is available at the hotel for a daily charge; request in advance as spaces are limited.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Brussels 108.0 km BRU

Other:

  • Beach 0.0 km
  • Shops 0.0 km
  • Restaurant 0.0 km

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