on December 1, 2007
The Marriott in Ghent was only a year old when we stayed there for part of our American Thanksgiving weekend in November 2007. Sleek and modern with all the niceties you would expect from the Marriott brand, the hotel proved to be a very pleasant base for our trip in Beligium. The biggest advantage is that we were perfectly situated to explore the historic section of Ghent itself on foot while Brussels, Bruges, and Ypres were within easy reach by car. While rates vary, we also felt as if we got a bargain per a special on the internet at 119 Euro a night for two adults and a child. (Additional adults will always add $$.) Parking will set you back another 15 Euro. Internet for 24 hours in your room is 20 Euro. Still, not terrible for Europe. Heck. It REALLY felt like a bargain compared to hotels in England!So what was the room like? Very nice. Spacious. Comfortable. Modern. We had two double beds in our room that were cushy with plenty of pillows. Nicely appointed with simple lines, silver frames, black and white pictures. Tons of storage space. A decent sized bathroom. A large workspace if you want for a desk. Flat screen TV with four channels in English. Tea service. Mini-bar. We splurged one evening with our son by laying out the 13 Euros needed to select an in-room movie while I eyed the room service menu. While we didn't eat within the hotel, you can order traditional Flemish food from the chef. How was the service? Great. Quick. Eager. I'm always a bit blown away when I learn a guy at the reception desk can speak five different languages. Geez. Was there anything special about this hotel? Well, one thing I found striking about this particular Marriott is how the building itself has been integrated into the historic front of Ghent. On the modern side of the hotel that you approach from the less-than-pretty sections of the city, it looks like any other big hotel anywhere. (This is where you'll find the parking garage.) When you walk through the atrium-style lobby splashed with the red color of poppies on the carpet, you can tell the place is new. Now go through a door that leads to the historic section of Ghent... the side that overlooks a canal. Turn around and see the Marriott is understated. The building could be hundreds of years old here! The architect did a fabulous job, and I'm impressed by these sorts of things. Bottom line? This isn't a boutique hotel with local charm, but it is a quality place to stay... as good as any other that have earned the Marriott brand a good reputation.
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