If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium. What better way to spend the day than in Bruges, a medieval city that’s known as the “Venice of Belgium” because of its canals. For many of us, Bruges fits our pre-conceived notions of what a medieval city should look like. There are the requisite town squares lined with buildings dating back to the Middle Ages, cobblestone streets, canals and museums featuring works by Flemish masters. In fact, Bruges has so many wonderful sights, you’ll want to stay a day or two more. That’s not a problem as there are some pretty interesting places to stay in Bruges that provide a high quality of atmosphere.
When staying in a “green” hotel is important to you, consider the Hotel Fevery, located a short walk away from historic Bruges. The Hotel Fevery was the first hotel in Belgium to receive a European Flower Ecolabel for its conservation practices. Organic foods are included in the breakfast buffet. This bed-and-breakfast originally was part of a larger hotel built in the late 1800s. You’ll find antiques, such as clocks and a lace maker’s chair, in the common areas, with the 10 guest rooms featuring more modern décor.
Though Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce is miles away from the ocean, you can still have a waterfront room. That’s because it’s located at the intersection of two canals in the old town of Bruges. Four houses from the Middle Ages were joined in the 1720s to create one building. The half-timbered building is on the main canal, with the interior featuring traditional furnishings and works by artists such as Chagall and Matisse.
The Hotel Navarra Brugge looks more like an official residence than a hotel, perhaps because in the 16th century it was home to the consul of Navarra. Belgium was ruled by Spain at the time. It was rebuilt in the neoclassical style in 1720. Look for the N in the stairwell window, added in honor of Napoleon’s 1802 visit. The hotel’s history doesn’t extend to the rooms, however, which are thoroughly modern. The old wine cellar has been converted to a fitness room and there’s a swimming pool.
The façade may be classic, but the Flanders Hotel is quite modern, complete with tennis court, an indoor swimming pool and a koi pond in one of the two gardens. Not to mention it’s just steps away from Bruges’ historic center. The four-star luxury hotel has 50 rooms, including triple rooms for families. Air conditioning is available in the upper tiers of rooms. The hotel serves a breakfast guests rave about, but you’ll need to visit a nearby gourmet restaurant for other meals.
You can’t get much closer to exploring Bruges’ historic center than staying at the Grand Hotel Casselbergh. It’s located right on the Burg, considered the prettiest of the city’s squares. Three old mansions were joined together for the section that faces the square; common areas feature 18th century style. It sites on the site of a former medieval palace. Fourteenth century cellars have been converted to a fitness room with Turkish bath. A newer addition in the back overlooks a canal and is ultra-modern.
If the Hotel Dukes Palace looks aristocratic, that’s because Burgundian nobility once lived here. It stands on the site of a 15th century palace, though it later became a convent. A castle tower at the entrance greets visitors, adding to the medieval feel. The only five-star hotel in Bruges is close to the historic town center. The hotel is a conference center drawing business travelers, but tourists will feel at home here as well. The hotel, which serves sparkling wine at breakfast, has a huge garden where guests can relax.
The Pand Hotel has an old-world feel to it, fitting since it’s situated in a magnificent 18th century townhouse. The entrance was once passage way to the carriage house in bank, This 26-room boutique hotel oozes elegance with traditional furnishings and luxury – though privately owned, it’s a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The hotel is on a quiet street within walking distance to major sights. Oh, and champagne is served with breakfast along with cooked-to-order eggs.