B&B The Verhaegen

Ghent, Belgium
Book from GBP Book from £160 per night

B&B The Verhaegen

Ghent, Belgium

A romantic, utterly unique B&B in a beautifully restored historic mansion in central Ghent

A romantic, utterly unique B&B in a beautifully restored historic mansion in central Ghent

Ghent is an old city with a young soul; medieval Flemish architecture stands perfectly preserved along winding canals, now housing buzzing bars, boutiques and a thriving food scene suited to the trendy residents of this university town. The result is a surprisingly seamless blend of old and new; heritage without a hint of stuffiness. A spirit perfectly embodied at The Verhaegen.

When Jan Rosseel and Marc Vergauwe met in design school, they could never have guessed that decades later they'd become the owners of a derelict 18th-century mansion, let alone make it their home. But that’s exactly what happened; the interior designers bought a palatial townhouse in central Ghent, in need of complete restoration. 18 months later, the stunning result was The Verhaegen, a private mansion turned B&B, which showcases innovative Dutch and French design, and is now classified as a historical monument. There are 9 spacious bedrooms and suites, each with a unique fusion of antiques and modernist touches. Crystal chandeliers hang from the ceilings, sumptuous fabrics furnish the beds, and quirky finds are displayed in hidden corners. It’s certainly not a museum, though; rather a beautiful lived-in home that you're invited to share, and it’s exactly what we’d hoped to find in historic Ghent.

Highs

  • A must for art lovers and those interested in Flemish architecture; high-quality furnishings and curated art pieces decorate the interior, and original features have been carefully restored
  • Perfectly placed for Ghent’s medieval canals and galleries, and just 5 minutes' walk from the Graslei
  • The warmth of service. Jan and Marc go out of their way to make you feel welcome in their home, as if you are visiting old friends
  • High-ceilinged rooms with smart panelling, designer fabrics, mural paintings and marble fireplaces. Gorgeous bathrooms, too
  • Breakfast in the elegant dining room is fabulous: fine china, silver tableware, candles, freshly squeezed OJ and an assortment of tasty treats

Lows

  • Rates don't include breakfast, and rooms are expensive compared to more simple B&Bs in the area, but they're absolutely worth it for special occasions
  • Closed on Sunday & Monday nights
  • This being an elegant B&B, it's quiet in the evenings, and there's no night bar, but there are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby
  • There's no lift or night porter so no arrivals after 9pm (contact the hotel beforehand if this is an issue)
  • There is a very friendly dog living here - a perk for some

Best time to go

Spring and autumn are lovely times to visit Ghent - temperatures are fairly mild and it's not too overrun with tourists. There's a real buzz in the air in early July when the festival season arrives, though be aware that the city shuts down for a few weeks after this. August brings warm weather and sees locals out enjoying the sunshine.

Our top tips

Conveniently placed between Bruges, Antwerp and Brussels, Ghent is a great base for exploring Flanders. All three cities are within easy day-trip distance (30-45 minutes by train), as is Ypres.

Like all great European cities, alfresco dining and drinking is popular in Ghent even into the winter months. t'Kanon is a lovely Parisian-style waterfront cafe/bar set slightly away from the main hubbub, with a good selection of wines and gourmet small plates. Layer up and watch the world go by.

Great for...

City Style
Romantic
  • Boutique B&B
  • 9 rooms
  • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 23-25 December inclusive
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Private tours
Room:

Rooms

There are 5 bedrooms and 4 large and impressive suites spread across the 18th-century mansion and the newly restored 17th-century extensions at the end of the garden.

All mansion rooms have original 18th-century mantels, dramatic high ceilings and elaborate cornicing, but they are completely different in décor, with bright colour washes and handpicked antiques (parchment leather washstands, vintage screens, marble tabletops). Retro touches, like Roberts radios and modernist art, act as a clever counterpoint and add a lived-in feel.

The aptly named Cosy is very private, tucked up in the eaves with a bath hidden in a cupboard. Tranquil Paola’s Room (the Junior Suite) overlooks the manicured garden. Its sitting room is decorated in vibrant hues of red, and quirky artwork - a 'Pasta' poster by the French artist Razzia - hangs above the old fireplace. It also has an illustrious history: the Queen of Belgium stayed here as a young princess. For complete and utter decadence, splurge on the enormous Suite Années '40. It's airy and luxurious, with grey and cream walls, a private reading room and a lovely balcony.

We stayed in a Deluxe, named 'La Chambre des Amoureux' due to its romantic appeal. A cosy nest for couples, it's the highest part of the house and has a hugely spacious ensuite bathroom with twin basins, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a generous bath. The grand four-poster kingsize bed had the softest sheets I've ever slept in, and clever placement of lamps kept the room feeling warm and romantic - Jan and Marc's interior intuition coming into play again.

In a buttercup-yellow stable house at the end of the garden are four more opulent suites: beautiful (and enormous) Atelier d’Arthur Suites, which have the best views and come with kitchens so you can self-cater. The Family Suite has one double and one twin bedroom, plus plenty of living space for a family of 4. There's another Cosy room, too, which can be combined with one of the Atelier Suites to form a 2-bedroom apartment.

Bathrooms have big tubs, waterfall showers, complimentary Floris products, marble finishes and exclusive taps, often in silver or gold. Minibars hide a selection of fine wines and champagne.

Guests are encouraged to make use of the gorgeous communal areas, which go way beyond anything you’d expect to find in a B&B. The Grand and Dining Salons are magnificent with fabulous furnishings, while the serene and fragrant garden is the perfect spot for a cup of tea. Despite the grandeur, these areas feel lived-in and loved; piles of books are casually stacked in corners and on tabletops, and toys litter the floor here and there in the wake of Tomba the dog's play. In all of its opulence and finesse, it is easy to forget that this is someone's home, but these little reminders breathe life into this historic monument.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar
  • Safe box
  • WiFi

Eating

Marc and Jan's scrupulous attention to detail continues at breakfast, where perfectly cooked eggs are served in a cloche and fresh bread and flaky French pastries bulge out of their baskets. I washed my scrambled eggs down with freshly squeezed orange juice, to a soundtrack of soothing classical symphonies. The Dining Salon is stunning; a heavy chandelier takes centre stage above original herringbone wood floors, 250-year-old Rococo murals by Pierre Norbert van Reysschoot adorn the walls, and a log fire burns in winter. It is quite expensive to have breakfast here, but it all felt suitably ceremonial. If you're tempted to linger in bed, ask for breakfast to be delivered to your room. Dietary requirements can be catered for - just ask.

If you're staying in one of the Suites Atelier d’Arthur you get a little kitchen for self-catering, which is complete with a fridge, oven and dishwasher. There's a dining table in the living area.

Ghent’s restaurant culture is booming, with a number of Michelin-starred restaurants continuing to spring up around the city. Generally, the cuisine revolves around local seafood and you're an easy stroll from an eclectic mix of bars and eateries. On Jan Breydelstraat, The House of Eliot is a 1920s-style brassiere recommended for its lobster menu. Down in the 14th-century Patershol quarter there are some great fish restaurants. A Flemish staple is waterzooi (a stew made with fish or chicken) and this can be sampled at many restaurants, including the well-known Pakhuis - an industrial-chic former warehouse. Jan and Marc will spend time going through the top spots in the city at check-in, so listen out for their recommendations.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Communal dining
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Stroll along the canal to the Graslei, Belgium’s most famous quay. It’s only a 5-minute walk to the busy medieval port with its lively restaurants and specialised old merchant shops
  • Ghent is famous for its splendid 18th-century Flemish architecture, dating from its textile-trade past. Marc and Jan can organise a private guided tour of the historic centre
  • The SMAK museum holds a world-class collection of contemporary art, including Hockneys and Warhols
  • St Bavo’s Cathedral is a must, with 3 impressive towers and a Rococo pulpit built from Danish oak. It’s worth the token entrance fee just to see The Adoration of the Lamb altar piece - one of the finest examples of religious art
  • Head to Zwarte Zusterstr for clothing boutiques and artisan products. Recommended shops include Volderstraat, Henegouwenstraat and Vlaanderenstraat
  • Listen to jazz and admire the art at the Hotsy Totsy Club, just down the road from the hotel. Over 30 years old, it's popular with artists and photographers
  • Check out the Parisian-style second-hand book market of Ajuinlei, located along the Lys. Hunt down some old classics or stock up on vintage postcards and records
  • While in Ghent, it would be wrong not to sample the mouthwatering chocolates at patisserie Joost Arijs. The owner used to work in the famous Michelin-star restaurant Hof van Cleve and his cookies are sublime

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Children are welcome and will love the fairytale vibe and friendly dog, although it's not an obvious choice for a family stay. It's probably best suited to babies or older children. Baby cots/extra beds are available.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

There's a Family Suite with two bedrooms (one double, one twin) and a living area. The Suites Atelier d’Arthur have kitchens for self-catering. A few rooms can fit a baby cot; the Suite Annees '40 can fit a rollaway bed. Some rooms can be combined to form large private suites.

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Location

B&B The Verhaegen is situated in the centre of Ghent (Gent), northern Belgium. It's at a crossroards between Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp. The easiest way to get here is by train.

By Air:
The nearest airport is Brussels International (50km). Or you can fly into Lille in France and cross the border.

From the Airport
Taxis are available from Brussels airport (likely to cost around EUR100) or you can hire a car.

By Car:
We would not recommend driving here - it’s far easier to take the Eurostar or train, then a taxi, bus or tram. However, if you do want to drive, see our car rental recommendations. If you're hiring a car from Lille, check you're OK to take it into Belgium. The hotel has private garages which can be used by guests for an additional fee.

By Train:
You can reach Ghent by rail from across Europe; if travelling from the UK by Eurostar, rail travel around Belgium is often included in the price. Gent Sint-Pieters station is a 15-minute taxi ride from B&B The Verhaegen.

Getting Around:
Ghent is best seen by foot and the hotel is perfectly placed for walking around the centre. The tram network is a good way to get a more scenic tour of the city.

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

Airports:

  • Brussels International 50.0 km BRU
  • Lille (in France) 80.0 km LIL

Other:

  • Beach 50.0 km
  • Shops 0.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
8/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for B&B The Verhaegen

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