Ghent River Hotel - A Review (Flanders - Belgium)

More than regular luxury hotels, I’m a sucker for luxury hotels in exotic locations or heritage hotels which are renovated old buildings - remember Winderemere Munnar or Neemrana Bungalow on the Beach??!!! Recently I got to stay at Ghent River Hotel which is managed by Historic Hotels Belgium. 

The specialty? This was built in 1518! It was a Renaissance house then! Another portion of the hotel was a rice husking facility built in 1857, a site in which there was a sugar mill prior to that. By 1873, this became a steam cotton mill and by 1879, this served as a car garage and finally a bakery. Since the last 13 years, this has been under the wings of Heritage Hotels Belgium, which has both the old building called Historic Wing and a new extension as well!
Today the hotel has 77 rooms of which 37 are standard, 27 are executive, 8 are luxury, and 5 suites. As usual the rooms were equipped with toiletries (except dental kit), coffee bar, mini bar, snacks etc. Ofcourse, the mini bar & snacks are separately billed! The rooms are also equipped with iron box, hair dryer and safes. Free wifi is available throughtout the hotel. 
Except Standard rooms, the rest come with bathrobe and slippers as well. The rooms either have a shower or bathtub (most standard rooms have only a shower). While executive room and upwards have enough space to easily accommodate 3 people, 10 rooms are set up for 3 to 4 people as is! All the rooms have both air conditioner as well as heater. There are also safes, iron tables, large cupboards, TV, life size mirrors as well. 
The best thing about this hotel is that it’s bang on the river bank. This is the only hotel in Ghent that has its own jetty! You can get into the hotel directly from the river!!! Several rooms starting from the standard rooms itself, there are river view rooms. Almost all of the luxury rooms and all the Jr Suites over the river! Those are the perfect examples of a room with a view and to wake-up to this view just makes the day better.

The room that totally took me by awe was this Jr. Suite room which has this stunning ceiling! This is from the historic wing. This equipment is from the cotton mill and which is still intact! Ofcourse it’s the good old brick wall and wooden ceiling! The pillars holding the ceiling are also old (there are walls now though so the structure is stronger). This was the perfect room of all the rooms in this hotel. With its quirky set up with the machinery, it also has a river view!!! If only the room had a balcony, this would have been paradise! Being a heritage building, those kinds of alterations aren’t allowed.

Two of the 4 people suites, has 2 rooms with 2 beds in each. One of it also has a defunct fire-place which serves as a decor now, as well as canopy bed (that's the 1st pic of the post)! This too has river view, brick wall wooden ceiling and wooden pillars in the room. This was perhaps my 2nd favorite room. 

There are 46 rooms in the historic wing which all have such stunning interiors. There are 31 rooms in the new wing and obviously they do not have these brick walls or wooden ceiling and is all made of concrete. The rooms, even within the same category, are of different dimensions, and different interiors and dΓ©cor, typical of any heritage hotel and unlike any regular hotel! The difference between the historical wing and new wing is pretty evident, in the exteriors & wall itself! 

The hotel technically doesn’t have a restaurant per se, but there’s a limited room service all day a-la-carte menu and a stunning breakfast array! The best part, being a veggie, I didn’t feel left out, there was so much for me to eat too! There were quite a variety of breads, cheese, spreads, jams, donuts, cakes, waffles etc as well as fruits, vegetable salads, fresh juices, infused water etc as well. 
Plus the coffee machine has such a lovely range of hot chocolate, coffee chocolate, cappuccino and so many more options. Yeah, the coffee chocolate was divine, do try that out! However quite surprisingly, for a luxury hotel, the breakfast isn’t complimentary. Waking up early morning to the river view and having breakfast as well, with river view from the terrace is just perfect! 
The house keeping does a decent work. As a part of social responsibility, the towels left in the hanger are not replaced while the rest are replaced. The toiletries were neither added or replaced on day 2, which was a bit weird for me from a 4 star hotel!

The other facilities in the hotel include Bar, Sauna, Gym and Luggage room. Since it’s a heritage building where there isn’t much that could be altered, there isn’t a pool here. There is an inner courtyard next to the bar. There is also a conference room. There renaissance cellar room at the basement has also been restored and today the entire place can be hired for events. It is large enough for about 100 people, so the venue would be perfect for a private wedding party or a birthday party. 
Ghent is perhaps one of the most unique, beautiful, historic city in Europe and most definitely it is, for sure, in Belgium. Staying a night here and enjoying the night life (I'll talk about that in another post) here is a must-do and what better way than to stay at a centuries old building here!!! Btw, Historic Hotel Belgium also manages 4 other hotels - 3 in Ghent and 1 in Aalst.
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To Get There:
On Google Maps: Ghent River Hotel, Belgium
Nearest Airport: Brussels 
Nearest Railway Station: Ghent Dampoort
From Ghent Dampoort Railway Station: 1.3km
From Brussels to Ghent: 68km (intercity trains are available and takes about 1 hr) 

To Book: Ghent River Hotel
Room rates begin at €123 for standard double rooms.
Breakfast - €21
Sauna & Gym - €8 per hour
Hotel Ph no: +32(0)92661010

P.S: I was invited by Historic Hotels Belgium to stay and experience Ghent River Hotel for review purpose, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.


  1. Lovely! The wooden beam ceiling reminds me of my grandmother's house. Do you know the myth that if you sleep directly under a beam and if you dream, the dream will come true? It has come true for me in the past in myriad ways

  2. I'm a big fan of old buildings. I'm impressed how they manage to transform the place into a wonderful hotel. I was in Netherlands early this year for a conference, and I was planning to visit Belgium after conference. Unfortunately, my friends who are currently living in Netherlands have already planned our road trip, and sadly, Belgium was out of the list. Nice review by the way. :)

  3. This is such an amazing property. I have never stayed anywhere that was built before the 1800's that I can recall and to see this was built in 1518 is just fabulous. So good how they have done such a wonderful job to preserve and maintain it, while still serving a purpose for people to stay and appreciate it. Would love to give this a try someday.

  4. I love that hotels are now becoming more and more beautiful and cozy. Gone are the days when it's simply a place to leave your things or sleep in. The interiors are so beautiful and modern! Looks like the perfect place to stay in Belgium!

  5. Omg--1518! That sounds wonderful, and the pictures are beautiful. So glad you had a great time! Belgium has never been on my radar as a travel destination, but I hope I get there one day!

  6. Wow. I was reading about architecture during Reniassance this morning and here I am with the view of a Renaissance building. I like the idea of the jetty, from the river to the room. The wooden decor too works for me. The Ghent River Hotel is just my taste and style.

  7. 77 rooms is enormous for a city hotel in Europe- wow. I love how the old mill works are reborn with neo-industrial styling. Belgium is very far from rice growers. I wonder if they shipped the rice in from thousands of miles away only to mill it in industrial Europe.

  8. it looks more like a mansion than just a hotel this looks really amazing.. would really love to visit this sometime. the place jsut looks so romantic as well

  9. This historic building along the river which is now a hotel is really worth to stay. I also love such kind of hotels. As a vegetarian I find lots of variety in breakfast which is again a plus point of this property.4 people suite room is spacious and comfortable for families. The decor is quite rustic because of ceiling and bricked wall. Loved this place.

  10. Ghent River Hotel really seems the perfect location to explore the city. I like they have many room options according to budget and taste. 1518 is really historic, and you can see this from some of the photos. The breakfast options look good, and chocolate coffee sounds yum!

  11. The place looks okay based from your photos. It also looks old. Not that grand.

  12. The Ghent River Hotel looks like the perfect place to stay in Ghent. I only visited Ghent on a day trip and haven't seen enough of it. When I arrange my second visit I'll stay overnight and the Ghent River Hotel is the place I'll check first!

  13. Ghent River Hotel looks like a great place. I love staying a places with some history and heritage behind them. You can't fault a gym either!

  14. i Really like the location of the hotels just near to the river it makes it worth staying. Rooms are so good different from regular hotel rooms. wooden work is so good.

  15. I love the rustic style with the exposed brick - similar to what I have at home. I've not been to Ghent but if I do - I know where I'll be staying.

  16. Stunning! I will not want to leave that hotel if I am going to stay in there. I feel like staying in that hotel will make me feel like "wow! this is life!" So lucky of you to experience the Ghent River Hotel. :)

  17. This looks like such a lovely and beautiful place to stay!!! I enjoyed all of your gorgeous photographs!! Shell

  18. I would definitely chill in that bath rub and move around beautiful Ghent :).

  19. These are some great hotel highlights; I'd love to visit! Each one has its one quaint and unique offerings. I'm especially partial to the ones with fantastic breakfast spread and the full access to gym equipment. I like the option of hopping on a treadmill or bike if it's rainy outdoors.

  20. So beautiful, so charming and so old! Did it give you the feeling that it is haunted at any time. Sometimes very old places give that vibe. But your pictures look so sunshiny and happy, so maybe not.

  21. A comfortable place to stay in . I like that combination of rustic and contemporary look that the place has. Ghent is something that I still have not done. Though have heard a lot about it

  22. Wow, this is indeed very well written. I love how detailed this post is and the Hotel looks so beautiful and very spacious. I love how they organize everything and good to look at. I also love the fact that they also have Gym. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  23. So sad I did not get to visit Ghent on my trip to Belgium...the city looks lovely. I love the eclectic style, exposed brick and industrial feel! I cannot believe it has a sauna too! What a perfect way to unwind after a long day.

  24. What a lovely hotel, I really do like when there is a history attached to a place and wow built in the 16th century that is amazing! Really something you only see in Europe! I have never been to Ghent but it looks like a really nice city to visit.

  25. That Ghent River Hotel looks so awesome. and What I really like the most is the Jr. suite room which has a unique ceiling. I will definitely put this on my book mark as my future references to my next travel visit.


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