January 11, 2023
Tablet is your source for discovering the world’s most exciting boutique hotels — places where you’ll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. For over twenty years we’ve scoured the earth, evaluating hotels for every taste and budget, creating a hand-picked selection that’s proven and unforgettable. Now, we’re the official hotel selection of the legendary MICHELIN Guide.
Here are the top 5 boutique hotels in Ghent, Belgium:
The harmony between these characterful town mansions and the Patershol district is obvious right from the first glance. But that is not all… The rooms are exquisitely comfortable and the heated outdoor pool is a delightful surprise.
This hotel is located in a handsome 18C town mansion, appointed in keeping with modern tastes and demands. The lady of the house bends over backwards to help her guests, and the lovely rooftop terrace is another bonus. Delightful establishment.
Ghent did well to pedestrianize its historic city center: in so scenic a city, walking (or biking) allows time to linger with longing over its sumptuous frontage. Right in the thick of it all sits Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Reylof Ghent, spanning a 1724 townhouse and its 20th-century neighbor — a union which is almost a perfect metaphor for the contemporary boutique hotel, balancing local authenticity and personal intimacy with global, forward-looking standards of service.
The public spaces exemplify Empire style to a tee — ornate mantelpieces and wainscoting, pedimented doorways — and bear the names of a slew of Ghent’s finest, from Valerius de Saedeleer to Emile Claus to Lieven Bauwens. (It’s okay if they’re not household names.) The whole enterprise honors Baron Olivier de Reylof, a wealthy poet from a time when such a thing was imaginable. Yet this hotel also puts modern “green hotels” to shame, incorporating sophisticated micro-cogenerators and heat-recapture systems throughout in a marvelously competent display of sustainability.
Not a hotel in the way we typically use the word, the Verhaegen slides in on the Francophone exemption. In English we’d call it a bed and breakfast, or maybe a guest house — whatever you want to call it, it’s a carefully preserved 18th-century mansion located just off the old port, two streets away from the historic center of Ghent. It's a historic center of its own, as well; Count d’Hane Steenhuyse, famed diplomat and key facilitator of the treaty of Ghent, lived here for a time with his family.
Yes, that’s the sound of the party animals and hip-hotel barflies clicking their way back off this page. Hotel Verhaegen is quiet above all, each of its four guest rooms individually decorated (though sharing a family resemblance) in a charming blend of original architecture, antique furnishings, and modern accents. Here the old style meets the new, and it’s a lively, well-humored mix: stately picture windows cast plenty of light on both sumptuous canopy beds and framed contemporary artwork; delicate antique furnishings dodge stodginess by virtue of the rooms’ expansive modern dimensions and airy, lofted ceilings. It’s clear the owners, Jan and Marc, have leveraged their careers as interior designers into a singular and gratifying personal statement.
Though completed at the turn of the last century, thanks to its neo-Gothic style Ghent’s old Central Post Office looks hundreds of years older than that. You don’t come to this part of Belgium in search of hyper-modern architectural experiments — you come in search of history, and 1898 The Post, a brand-new renovation of this beautifully preserved structure, has got a bit more than its fair share.
That’s not to say 1898 The Post is a precise historical reconstruction. Inside you’ll find echoes of varying periods, from the medieval atmosphere of the winding stairways and stone-walled public spaces to a sort of early modernist vibe in the richly colored and textured guest rooms and suites. The look is dark and moody, almost more like a film set than a typical hotel room, and that’s no bad thing. And in a delightful bit of whimsy, the categories are named for their relative size — from Stamp and Postcard up through Envelope, Letter, and Carriage (not quite to scale, presumably).