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The Verhaegen Hotel owes everything to the fame of its former illustrious occupant and the decorative talents of its new owners. Gifted with an undeniable taste for the finer things in life, the elegant French windows that open onto an impeccably manicured garden are only the beginning of this property’s beauty. With their oh-so Belgian warmth and conviviality, they introduce guests to their passion for the arts and beauty in all its forms. As the water laps at the edge of the delicate fountain, a peaceful rhythm is set for the happy days that flow through this house in the heart of Ghent.
I am originally from Ghent. We discovered this place when it was on sale in 2004. An hour after the viewing, we decided to buy it in view of its exceptional qualities. Fully classified as a historical monument (the building as well as the interiors and garden) it is the smallest private mansion in Ghent and one of the rare few that are still privately owned. It is also one of the best preserved.
As the former winter residence of the counts of Hane-Steenhuyze, the mansion boasts several eye-catching features including the Chinese living room, superb woodwork and gypseries, and a series of paintings by Pierre Norbert Van Reysscchoot. Few changes have been made since the end of the 18th century. The French garden with boxwood trees and a pond in the centre dates back to the thirties and was designed by René Péchere.
The house was home to Baron Arthur Verhaegen in the 19th century, a notable figure of his time. As a canal and port engineer, he was encouraged by his father-in-law to integrate the neogothic movement. He was initially in charge of a workshop that made stain glass windows for restoring churches, but he quickly became Belgium’s answer to Viollet-le-Duc. He was a worldly man and a fervent catholic who was also amongst the first socialists. In an effort to represent the interests of the people, he founded the "Peuple" review. It was, however, for his acts of resistance during the Great War that he was knighted.
We offer them the unique opportunity to stay in one of Ghent’s most beautiful houses. It is located right in the heart of the city, just a stone's throw from the historical centre, restaurants and shops. In the privacy of the house and the interior garden, we offer them a journey through time and an introduction to the arts – this ranges from ancient China and 18th century silverware to contemporary art, gardening and music.
Ghent is a relaxed city where you will see far more people wearing jeans and a shirt than those in a suit and tie. The city is an important economic centre, but is mainly known for its large student population and numerous music festivals. Gastronomy is no exception to the casual atmosphere here. The logos of great Flemish restaurants are scattered all around, such as Naturell, Jef, Publiek, Oak, Volta, Vrijmoet, Lepelblad, Horzeele and Table d'amis. The same is true of pastry chefs and chocolate makers such as Joost Arys. Ghent’s vast architectural heritage will leave art lovers just as satisfied as the foodies, it covers all periods from Gothic through to Art Nouveau. Some beautiful examples include a 19th century opera house, a 16th century cathedral and Jan Van Eyck’s unmissable Agneau Mystique.
210 € - 290 € per night
The five rooms each have their own bathroom and are all located in the main building. The annexes have not yet been renovated, but our guests have access to no less than four lounges on the ground floor where they are welcome to have their breakfast if they have chosen not to eat in their rooms or the garden.