I was assigned the Scottish Room on the second floor (the English Room is on the first floor, the French Room is in the attic suite, and Claude’s reception and residence are on the ground floor). The Scottish Room is in essence a string of separate rooms (bedroom, bathroom, and toilet stall). The bedroom has a moodily dark and masculine look, though its centerpiece is the luxurious canopy bed. The heater gives the impression of a cozy fireplace, and the room has varied touches like tartan wallpaper, old wooden chairs, manly portraits, fluffy pillows, a sculpture of a monkey holding a skull (I am not kidding), old books, lots of lamps, etc. Modern touches include cable TV, a radio/CD player, and a little refrigerator with a complimentary selection of beverages. There is a bowl of fruit and some chocolates on the side too. And this is only the bedroom! The spacious bathroom, which is next door but not connected to the bedroom, is like a set piece in a museum. This resembles a ladies boudoir, with flowery wallpaper, pinkish furniture, plush bathrobes, paintings of Victorian ladies. The freestanding bathtub has a hand-held showerhead, but be careful lest you get the lady in the painting wet. It was odd to take a bath in this museum-like setting. The toilet stall is down the stairs from the rest of the Scottish Room.
Claude is a fit host, as he helps you up the stairs with your luggage (there is no elevator) and brings you heavy trays of breakfast (included with your room rate) to your front door. What a breakfast it is! The scent of the scrumptious croissants, fresh bread and jam, ham and cheese, fresh orange juice, tea or coffee should awaken you if you are not already up. It is not an easy task to finish the entire tray, but your stomach will enjoy trying.
It was a unique experience at this mansion-like setting, sort of like staying at the home of a dear rich Belgian aunt. Obviously this is a B & B and not a full-service hotel, and it is a bit removed from the old town center (the walk from the central train station is at lease 30 minutes, but a ride on a local tram, bus or taxi will cut that down). However, I thoroughly enjoyed the cozy accommodations and the generous hospitality of the host. Note that credit cards are not accepted as payment here, and the artworks are supposedly for sale if the price is right.
April 8, 2004
From journal Bill in Belgium - ANTWERP