Fantasies of medieval glory don’t get much closer to coming true than staying in one of the Belgian castle hotels that are dotted all over the Ardennes and former Duchy of Brabant regions. Whether it’s Christmas at the hearth of a lavish Château in Spa or dining in the palace that neighbors the famous Citadel of Namur, these Belgian hotels are the stuff of luxurious getaways.
Martin’s Château du Lac
Martin's Château du Lac | Courtes of Martin's Hotels
Looking out over the lake of Genval is Martin’s Château du Lac, located less than half an hour away from Brussels. The castle is nestled within a large park that offers a lush escape into the nature of Walloon Brabant, the Roman Empire’s historic seat of power in the Low Countries. The grand past can still be felt in the rooms, which boast four-poster beds and panoramic views of the lake. The sumptuous Heron Suite and Kingfisher Suite both offer salons and jacuzzis for the ultimate relaxation. Unsurprisingly, the possibility of romantic strolls by the lake has made the Château du Lac a steady wedding party favorite.
Set amidst the glowing fields of the Belgian Condroz since 1884, Château de la Poste has a royal past. It was Princess Clémentine, daughter to King Léopold II, who inhabited the stately digs for more than thirty years in the first half of the 20th century, before the castle became a holiday center for postal clerks. In 2009 it was turned into a luxury hotel and while its blue-blooded residents may have long departed, they left a warm hearth and beautifully landscaped 42-hectare park that makes for colorful walks in the fall. There’s even a tree house and a ‘Loft Cube’ in the adjacent forest for those who want to spend a night feeling at one with nature.
Legend has it that the Château d’Hassonville in Marche-en-Famenne was originally designed to serve as a hunting abode for Louis VIX, who loved the diversity of the region, which is squeezed between the Belgian Condroz and the leafy Ardennes. What is certain is the surrounding 55-hectare terrain was designed by a pupil of André Le Nôtre (the Sun King’s favorite gardener and the mind behind the Gardens of Versailles). The Château’s resident chef Sébastien Phys and his team serve French style cuisine and their culinary creations can be paired expertly with wine from the cellars upon request. The sunlit veranda and multiple salons featuring fireplaces make sure there’s always a snug spot to be found.
Château d’Hassonville | Courtesy of Château d’Hassonville
Manoir de Lébioles
Manoir de Lébioles | Courtesy of Manoir de Lébioles
Spa, one of the most picturesque and unspoilt areas in Belgium, also happens to be home to the Manoir de Lébioles, one of the most resplendent castle hotels in the country. Once through the woods, a meticulously kempt garden gives way to ‘the small Versailles of the Ardennes’ with a warm décor and a lively atmosphere. Among the many activities the castle organizes, such as a golf tournament and house concerts, the Christmas package with its hot chestnuts and homemade pastries by the fireplace sounds most alluring.
How about a medieval tower as your home for the weekend, week or longer? A holiday’s stay in the renovated La Margalette is enough to make you feel like an actual castle lord in the Ardennes for as long as you like. The four-level tower stands in a 2-hectare domain dotted with three small ponds and a variety of other historic buildings. The old-school fun doesn’t stop there seeing as the terrain is a mere two kilometers away from the ancient Château Logne and nine kilometers from the mysterious Abîme Caves.
Perched on the same summit as the Citadel that dominates the city, Château de Namur is the ideal starting point to explore the gateway to the Ardennes. Besides panoramic views from atop its high vantage point, the castle offers sumptuous dishes at its restaurant l’Ermitage. Here students from the Hotel School of Namur are trained by chef Axel Devillers and professionals to become future stars in the kitchen themselves.