“A romantic, utterly unique maison d’hôtes in a beautifully restored historic mansion in central Ghent”
There are 5 large and impressive bedrooms. All have original 18th-century fireplaces, 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.
Chambre des Amoureux is the smallest room (still 50 sq.m!), with a beautiful canopy bed. De Luxe Italianne is a similar size, but with twin beds, oil paintings and wood panelling. The aptly named Cosy is very private, tucked up in the eaves with a bath hidden in a cupboard. The best room for a view is tranquil Paola’s Room (the Junior Suite), which 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 fireplace. It also has an illustrious history: the Queen of Belgium stayed here as a child. 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.
Bathrooms have big tubs, waterfall showers and complimentary Floris products, and all rooms have flat-screen TVs and WiFi. Minibars hide a selection of fine wines and champagne.
Guests also have the run of the gorgeous communal areas, which go way beyond anything you’d expect to find in a B&B. The Grand, Chinese and Dining Salons are magnificent with fabulous furnishings, while the serene and fragrant garden is the perfect spot for a cup of tea.
Marc and Jan's scrupulous attention to detail continues at breakfast, where perfectly poached eggs and flaky French pastries are served on silver platters at a communal table. The Dining Salon is stunning, with a heavy chandelier, 250-year-old Rococo paintings by Pierre Norbert van Reysschoot, and a log fire in winter. If, however, you're tempted to linger in bed, ask for breakfast to be delivered to your room.
Ghent’s restaurant culture revolves around local seafood and you're an easy stroll from an eclectic mix of bars and eateries. On Jan Breydelstraat, The House of Elliot is a 1920s-style brassiere recommended for its lobster menu. Down in the 14th-century Patershol quarter there are some great fish restaurants, including Nzet. 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. Or try the bijou Cuisine Ouverte on Annonciadenstraat for a gourmet veggie feast. After dinner, head back to the hotel and unwind in the Grand Salon with one of Jan and Marc’s fiery cocktails or a cigar and fine brandy.
Children are welcome, 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.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
The 4 smaller rooms can fit a baby cot; Suite Années ’40 can fit a rollaway bed. If guests are coming with older children or more than 1 child we'd recommend booking 2 rooms. De Luxe Italianne is twin bedded.