Situated between Bruges and Brussels, the university town of Ghent is known for its medieval architecture, world-class art museums and the lively Vrijdagmarkt Friday Market . Visit Gravensteen, a 1,000-year-old castle with a real moat, and explore the 10th-century Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, before tucking into frieten, or fries – they were invented in Belgium, after all.
Looking for a weekend city break? Ghent offers an ideal combination of quaint European streets, international gastronomy and excellent Belgian beer. It also proudly names itself the veggie capital of Europe, with proportionally more vegetarian restaurants than London or Paris. When you’re ready to bed down for the night, there’s a range of boutique hotels to choose from – here are Culture Trip’s favourites.
Housed in a 1928 art-deco building, Hotel Orion is in the Millionaires’ Quarter in Ghent, home to the city’s most beautiful villas and mansions – and this hotel is no exception. Once the home of the wealthy Lalemant family, Hotel Orion could be described as closer to a retreat than a traditional place to stay. It has a sitting room, sauna, indoor heated pool and fitness centre, and the De Smet de Naeyerpark is just around the corner. Throughout the hotel, you’ll find plenty of inviting nooks and crannies to read a book or enjoy a cup of tea.
Located in a former baron’s townhouse from the 1940s, charm is certainly at the forefront during a stay at the Charme Hotel Hancelot. The stately lobby boasts a huge fireplace and a lovely courtyard garden, while an abundance of crystal chandeliers light up the rooms and hallways. Charme Hotel Hancelot sits in the south of Ghent, close to a big park and next to public transport that will get you to all the tourist attractions within minutes.
Hotel Verhaegen is where you’ll want to stay if you’re planning the ultimate romantic getaway to Ghent. The hotel is situated in an 18th-century palace that is listed as a city monument. The palace oozes class and baroque romance, and the furniture is mostly antique, hand-picked by the owners. The dining room is majestic, with murals in golden filigree frames and exquisite fishbone parquet. Hotel Verhaegen only has four rooms, so securing one can be quite difficult.
Hotel Harmony is situated in two renovated merchant houses that date back to the 18th century, giving the hotel a stylish, historic air. The biggest draw for this hotel is its heated rooftop swimming pool. Hotel Harmony is located in the popular Patershol neighbourhood, the oldest district in Ghent and an area known for its many restaurants and bars. One side of the hotel is next to the river Lys, providing rooms with pretty views. Several rooms feature wall-to-wall black and white photographs of old Ghent, and all higher priced luxury rooms come with a jacuzzi.
This gorgeous former post office in Ghent has been converted into a boutique hotel with 38 rooms, including duplex and mezzanine rooms. The rooms at 1898 the Post refer to the building’s past with names such as the Envelope, the Letter and the Stamp. The hotel’s atmosphere is nostalgic and homely, with high ceilings, antique furniture and dark green walls. Special attention has been paid to wooden details on doors, windows and staircases. The hotel is centrally situated with most of Ghent’s tourist attractions within a short walking distance.
If you want to stay at the Ganda Rooms & Suites, you’ll need to plan your trip to Ghent well in advance. This 1757 manor house has only eight rooms, and they get booked very early, especially at weekends and during the tourist season. Inside, you’ll find a quiet patio, a romantic salon, decorated ceilings, original 18th-century chimneys and lots of artworks on the walls. Ganda Rooms & Suites sits in the heart of Ghent, with the famous Saint Bavo’s Cathedral only a stone’s throw away.
Travelling with kids but not keen on staying in an impersonal chain hotel? Boutique Hotel Onderbergen in Ghent is where you want to be. Explicitly marketed as a family hotel, kids are very welcome here, and several rooms can comfortably host a family of four without anyone having to sleep on a camping bed. Prices are also very family-friendly. Hotel Onderbergen has a classy atmosphere, with high ceilings and hardwood floors. Most of the 24 available rooms feature original wooden details.
This chic boutique hotel combines the old-world charm of Ghent with luxury contemporary design. Think Scandinavian-style furnishings alongside Louis XIV ornate doorways and mantelpieces. Rooms are elegant and flooded with natural light; Nespresso coffee machines and walk-in showers are standard, while many include their own balcony or terrace. Take a dip in the indoor pool (the floor-to-ceiling windows are thrown open during the summer) or warm up in the sauna during the winter. Top gastronomy at the LOF Restaurant is another key highlight.