We had originally booked the Ibis Centrum Opera to stay in for a one-
night stay in Ghent in late-April 2008. We always prefer staying in locally-run establishments and hate chain hotels, but a combination of late booking and a strange insistence in Ghent B&Bs for booking two nights at weekends meant we ended up booking the Ibis.
Then, just the day before leaving for Belgium, I received an email from the Brooderie asking where the cheque was. I'd emailed a number of B&Bs a few weeks before, and the Brooderie had space but wanted a cheque (in Euros) as deposit. Realising that my bank would charge so much for a Euro cheque that it would push the price past that of the Ibis, I didn't bother - but the Brooderie thought I had confirmed a booking. Nonetheless, despite having other enquiries for the two rooms, Hilde promised me them despite not sending a deposit, and even recommended a carpark that was convenient to its location.
When we arrived, we could almost sniff out the Brooderie: the bread and cakes smelt so good! But the best was yet to come: the rooms were absolutely enormous! Rooms 1 and 2 (the rooms we had for two couples) are above each other, and are directly above the inside of the cafe. Room 3, which we didn't see inside, is a single room on the same floor as room 3.
Its location, on Jan Breydelstraat, just off the river (the river runs behind the building and can be seen from the corridor windows) is its best - but also its worst - feature. Just a few minutes stroll to all the main attractions in the city, but also noisy in the evening (admittedly it was the hottest weekend of 2008 so far, but still, it was only April), especially with single-glazed windows in the rooms. We couldn't get to sleep because of the noise until around 11:30pm, and were woken up again around 6:30am by street cleaners and the hustle and bustle of the city starting up for the morning.
However, breakfast made up for the shorter sleep: 4 amounts of bread, croissants, boiled egg, various jams, coffee/tea and the best freshly squeezed orange juice I've ever tasted. Breakfast is served between 8:00am and midday.
Check-out is by midday, although you can leave your bags in a private room until 6:00 in the evening if necessary. The price? €135 for the two double rooms (one is €65 and the other €70). Breakfast is included, along with a toilet (shared by the cafe customers when it's open) and a shower (shared between the three rooms).
More photos: www.stuart-pinfold.co.uk/photos/2008/ghent/
More Ghent info: www.stuart-pinfold.co.uk/travels/ghent/
Brooderie website: www.brooderie.be