by Linda Kaye
San Antonio, Texas
November 19, 2002
We are always looking for unique accommodations to replace the conventional hotel and although we could not spend the night here, we couldn’t resist learning more about the PoortAchere and simply asked if we could "have a look". We were invited to walk around the grounds, through the downstairs dining and meeting area and were given a key to one of the empty rooms.
As we walked down the long wooden-floor hallways with magnificent neo-gothic arches above us, we couldn’t help but imagining women dressed in long black robes, habits covering their heads, hands folded in prayer as they walked these same halls.
The rooms are divided into two categories: the Hotel Monasterium has 34 impeccable hotel-style rooms with private bathrooms, television, telephone and internet availability. Rates are between 70 and 120 Euro. The Guesthouse rooms are simple convent cells with one or two beds and a washbasin. A few of the double rooms have private bathrooms, but most have shared facilities. Rates are 45 Euro for single and 95 Euro for a double room with a private bathroom. The rates for both styles include the breakfast buffet.
The room we viewed was for one person. It was very simple with a single bed. The walls were bare except for a lone painting of Christ. An undraped window overlooked the quiet street that bounded one side of the monastery. This certainly would be a humbling experience.
The large dining tables remain from years gone by and invite its guests into the Kapittelzaal (Chapter House) where the Chef prepares wonderful dinners. This is also where a Breakfast Buffet is served.
In the morning, you can watch the sunlight illuminating the stained glass windows in the Church at the Monastery, just as it has for hundreds of years. Although the absence of creature comforts was evident, the sense of simplicity drew us closer to its intriguing atmosphere.
Another great possibility to get away from the ordinary is the Boatel. We were not able to see this location, but I felt it was well worth passing it on to you. It is located on the Leie River on Voorhoutkaai #29A and is a rebuilt and completely transformed ship, with each room having its own unique character. There are five standard rooms (2 persons, 95 Euro) and two Deluxe Rooms (2 persons 119 Euro) and this price includes breakfast. Talk about being rocked to sleep; I can just imagine after a long day of sightseeing, cuddling up with that special person in your life to the quiet and gentle movement of the Boatel. We must return to Ghent for this wonderful experience.
From journal Ghent-Somewhere between Heaven & Earth