In a Louis XIV-style townhouse that once belonged to the namesake poet, Pillows Grand Hotel Reylof in Ghent is a palatially proportioned Belgian stay. Sweeping staircases, roaring fires and wood-panelling rub shoulders with contemporary furniture and lighting in a chic palette of browns, creams and greys. If the setting has you feeling inspired, you can wander the series of high-ceilinged salons while crafting your own verse… or just settle in for fine-dining fare in the elegant dining room. And you can rest assured: anywhere with the word ‘pillows’ in its title is going to give good sleep.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability and a fee. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible.
Double rooms from £115.46 (€130), including tax at 6 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast, from €25 a person.
The hotel’s entirely cashless, so be sure to pack your plastic.
Due to Covid-19 precautions, guests must book a 90-minute slot at the hotel’s wellness centre in advance; these are €50 a person (excluding treatments) and give guests access to the Finnish and infrared saunas, the pool and gym. The hotel’s LOF restaurant is closed at this time, but food and drink from another outlet will be served on the hotel’s garden terrace.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, valet parking, gym. In rooms: LED TV, air-conditioning, minibar, free bottled water, tea-making kit, Nespresso coffee machine and Pillows bath products.
Our favourite rooms
If you want to ponder your next volume of poetry from the bath, book a Reylof Suite, which has a freestanding tub by the window. For added inspiration ( and some Ghent rooftop gazing), go for a room with a balcony.
There’s a heated adults-only pool in the spa.
Spa Reylof is open between 6am and 11pm every day except Monday. There’s a sauna, steam room and treatment rooms for rituals ranging from mani-pedis and Asian-inspired peels to hi-tech Sothys facials.
Bring suitably sweeping-staircase-ready attire.
The restaurant and ground-floor rooms are accessible for wheelchair users, but no rooms have been specially adapted.
All ages are welcome, but there’s nothing special for mini Smiths.
Go for a table by the lofty windows to enjoy the natural light, or hold court in the chic central banquette.
Don smoking jackets and slippers to make Baron de Reylof proud.
Breakfast is available in Lof Restaurant, Lof Café and the Living; it’s a buffet in the former, coffees, granola and croissants to go in the café, and dishes to order in the latter. The Michelin-starred Dutch chef Ron Blaauw designed the menu for the restaurant, which features French and Flemish fare, all washed down with a global wine selection. High ceilings, huge windows and parquet floors up the elegance. Lof Café is opposite, and is great for cups of coffee (and cups of wine), depending on the time of day.
The Living is upstairs from the main restaurant, in the room where the baron penned his poems, but with similarly palatial proportions – settle in for a Raspberry Reylof or a Belgian beer in style.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am. LOF serves lunch from noon to 2.30pm and dinner between 6pm and 9.30pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays. LOF Café is open all day from 7am to 11pm (10.30pm on Mondays). The Living is also open all day.
A selection of French bistro classics can be served in-room.
You’ll find the hotel in the of Ghent, an hour or so north-west of Brussels.
There’s no airport in Ghent, so you’ll have to land in Brussels and make your way from there. Hotel transfers for the 50-minute trip cost €125 each way.
Ghent’s Dampoort station is about a 10-minute drive from the hotel. From here, trains come and go from other cities including Brussels and Antwerp. The Eurostar has direct trains from London to Ghent (journey time, around two hours).
Driving to and from Brussels will take under an hour; there’s valet parking when you arrive (€50 a day). It’s easy to get around Ghent on foot, but it’s worth hiring a car if you don’t fancy catching the train from Brussels airport.
Worth getting out of bed for
Pen your next poems in one of the salons or cosy nooks throughout this palatial home, enjoy the shiny new spa or feast on some seriously fancy fine dining in a sleek modern space, before heading out to explore this often-overlooked Belgian city. Art lovers will enjoy the modern works on display at SMAK, the city’s Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art on Jan Hoetplein; closed Mondays. If cobbled mediaeval lanes, artisan ateliers, tiny restaurants and independent shops are more your thing, make a beeline for the Patershol part of town. Or compare notes between the two abbeys: Saint Peter’s and Saint Bavo’s. Count the crenellations at Gravensteen Castle, the waterside former fortress of the counts of Flanders.
Take your pick from the series of cafés and restaurants along the waterfront at Korenmarkt, or check out the brunch and bakery goods at the popular De Superette on Guldenspoorstraat. Anyone with a dietary requirement will find a haven at Plus, which caters to most, and has an appetising array of organic salads and juices. For an homage to ball-shaped food (of both the meaty and veggie varieties), try Balls & Glory on Jakobijnenstraat; or if it’s got to be patties, make for Uncle Babe’s burger bar. Or push the boat (and the purse strings) out at Chambre Séparée.
Check out the wine cellar of Bar Win on Burgstraat and guzzle a few while you’re there with a tasting.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this townhouse hotel in Belgium and unpacked their high-cocoa-percentage chocolate and waffles, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Pillows Grand Hotel Reylof in Ghent…
You’ll be in good company at Pillows Grand Hotel Reylof, the erstwhile home of namesake Baron Olivier de Reylof, who penned poems from within these walls in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The wide entrance was built for horse-drawn carriages, back in the day (no drama if you’ve failed to travel light), and much of the Louis XIV-style townhouse remains intact. Huge windows and doors, wood panelling, decorative ceilings and grand staircases form the backdrop to newer additions, such as design-conscious lighting, modern art and sleek sofas. The palace is, handily, on a main road, so you’ll have easy access to all of the city’s major sightseeing players. But you won’t want to be out for long – the inviting salons, spacious suites and creative cuisine on offer at the three restaurants will see to that. It’s pure poetry.
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