I'm thinking of taking a short independent trip to Belgium, visiting both Ghent and Bruges. I think I'm going to use Ghent as a base and was wondering if anyone who has been there before had a hotel that they would recommend in Ghent. I'm not as worried about price as I am charm and location. I have the Rick Steve's book for Belgium but any other suggestions people have - restaurant recommendations also appreciated!
We stayed at Hotel Harmony, Kraanlei 37, 9000 Gent, Belgium. It was is a great location and only a couple minutes walk from the castle. The #1 tram from the Gent-Sint-Pieters train stops at the castle.
I've never slept in Ghent, but it certainly would be convenient to be near a tram or bus line to get to the station for daytrips. Would you change plans if the weather is bad? (I simply mean, would you go to museums in Brussels or Antwerp, rather than walking around Ghent or Bruges?) I consider the Castle of the Counts to be one of my less favorite spots in Ghent, but that's a matter of taste.
I personally prefer to stay in Antwerp, but people you meet at cocktail parties back home will ask why you didn't sleep in Bruges. A small plus for Ghent is that the Mystic Lamb is a 7-days a week attraction. I did find (years ago) that some retail in Ghent was closed on Monday, anyway, as well as the Art Museum.
Two cities doesn't justify the purchase, but maybe your library might have Lonely Planet Belgium.
My wife and I used to absolutely love Hotel Harmony - mentioned above - several years ago when it was a small family hotel who sent the kids here to London to learn the trade at the best hotels.
We could afford it then - and really enjoyed the magnificent breakfast and extremely comfortable rooms. They even had a little place to pop my car in for parking.
Since then Rick Steves discovered it, the price went up a lot because it is in The Book, and availability went down after Rick started to use it for a group hotel.
I haven't been back since it went in The Book - but I'd say if it is in your price point and has availability it is fabulous place to stay. Upstairs, on the terrace, watching all the lights come on at night along the canal was special.
I’ve stayed at Hotel Harmony as well. I was there pre-pandemic for extra days before my RS tour and again this April before a Road Scholar tour which stayed elsewhere. Harmony is pricy but also has a lovely breakfast and very nice staff.
The Road Scholar tour stayed at Ghent River Hotel which is nearby. I liked my 6-night stay there as well and breakfast buffet was very comprehensive. I did not interact much with staff there but they seemed pleasant enough at check in.
Both of these hotels are close to many restaurants. I’m vegan so my restaurant choices might not be what you’d want!
I’d stay at either hotel again. Both had charm. Interior of Harmony is more contemporary, Ghent River Hotel had beam ceilings but otherwise was more traditional hotel room.
We stayed at Hotel Carlton for a few days at the end of April this year. Loved it. It was very close to the train station, and handy to the tram stops as well. The owners and employees were all just fantastic. If there was any negative it was the distance to Ghent's center. The tram took care of that for us though. The closeness to the train station far outweighed the distance the city center. We took day trips to other towns and were really happy to not have to far to go after arriving back to Ghent. I will stay here any future visit to Ghent.
Hotel Carlton - hands down!
Close to the train station. Helpful staff, great rooms and a wonderful breakfast
Just so there’s no confusion, Hotel Carlton is near the Gent-Sint-Pieters train station, NOT the Gent-Dampoort train station. When we were in Ghent we arrived at the Sint-Pieters station and departed from the Dampoort station, so the Carlton’s location wouldn’t have worked as well for us.