My wife and I are grateful to all the Advisors who persuaded us to make our Bruges accommodations a bit of a splurge by reserving at the Cote Canal. There are B&B's in all sorts of charming places in Europe, but this one really sets a high bar, and, in fact, holds the current trade association award for best B&B in Belgium. No arguments there.
The location is amazing. It is right on a canal, but situated off the main tourist routes so there is never noise. We were part of the weekend hordes--even during a tough economy in March--that marched past hotels near the old town center, and were very glad we weren't staying in the middle of all the noise. On the other hand, you can walk leisurely along the canal from the Cote Canal to all the attractions in minutes.
We stayed in the room called "Clin d'Oeil" ("wink") and it was spacious, clean, and delightfully decorated. There is a large, inviting bathtub, as well as a stall shower. All the fixtures appeared to be in new condition. The generously-sized bed was comfortable, and the bedclothes were of high quality. There is a flat-screen television in the room with Flemish, French, and English channels. Wireless internet is also provided without cost--just ask for the credentials.
Breakfast was a real treat. In addition to a wide and horribly tempting selection of fresh breadstuffs, there was fresh-squeezed orange juice, a variety of cheeses [including the excellent alte brugge (ph.)], three kinds of sliced meat, yogurt, homemade jams, fabulous real, live American-style coffee (espresso and tea available as well), and even fresh scrambled eggs made on the spot.
Let me add my praise of Carolyn to the choir. She is just a sheer delight. The house belonged to her great grandfather who bought it more than a hundred years ago, and every piece of furniture, artwork, and decorative piece belonged to some member of her family. No flea market finds here. Carolyn is one of those people who genuinely enjoys meeting people from all over the world and making them feel comfortable while they enjoy the pleasures of Bruges. She speaks at least Flemish, English and French quite fluently, and could even understand the charming Yorkshire couple who were there when we were.
There is a large and comfortable living room which is open at all times to her guests, a spacious garden between the house and the canal, and a covered outdoor terrace, all available for use on fine days.
Oh, a word about the house celebrity. Carolyn's dog spends a good portion of the day looking out an open window that overlooks the canal, and it turns out that the dog appears in the British film, "In Bruges"!
Bruges is just a gem of a city, and guests are wise to follow Carolyn's advice on how best to enjoy it. She can also help you choose a restaurant, and make a reservation for you. Many restaurants in Bruges are closed on Sunday or Monday night, at least in March, so planning ahead pays off. We had dinner at Den Divers and at the Swaene, and enjoyed both. The former specializes in dishes prepared with beer, and they provide a pairing menu that includes a complementary beer with each dish. The Swaene offers both Flemish and French-style dishes, and their Flemish stew was excellent.
The cost of Cote Canal is higher than we generally expect for a B&B, but we couldn't have had a better experience at any price.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Exclusive Guesthouse - Unique Location! Along one of the most picturesque canals in between the two oldest bridges of town. All of our rooms offer a view on garden and canal. But we offer more than a room: the garden with terrace, the lounge and the dining room are all yours.Official classification: de luxe ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Cote Canal Hotel Bruges