Novotel Gent Centrum Hotel restaurant
We ate there on a Monday night and although it was very quiet the waiting staff gave the impression that they were doing us a favour by being there. They seemed to get irritated that we kept ordering more bread but this was only because they kept bringing it in a tiny basket that lasted the four of us about two minutes. However the food quality was good and the prices reasonable for a hotel restaurant. Some tables have views out towards St. Nicholas' Church. I can recommend the chicken and mushroom vol-au-vent (as pictured)
Gent - Go There - Drink Beer
So, is it Gent or is it Ghent, I guess the jury is out. I believe that Gent is the local spelling and that is the one used on VT but I've always known it as Ghent. Anyway, for the purposes of my "place in the region of Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen" page on VT I will use the term Gent, for two reasons. Firstly that having been there I feel entitled to use the local spelling and secondly, I tossed a coin and it came down heads.
I first visited Gent in February 2006 and the inspiration was my fellow travelling companions. I normally hold a few days holiday over from the previous year and go away somewhere in January or February. So when one of my mates suggested a Belgian Beer Hunt I set about arranging things. After deciding on Gent and sending out a dozen invites I got four firm commitments and the Great Belgian Beer Hunt was on.
The participants were Michael, our beer consultant and a thoroughly good bloke despite being a Kiwi, Keith who rarely drinks anything less than 5%, the father and son partnership of David and James, and of course myself. All of these august Gentlemen had accompanied me on previous trips to either Prague, Budapest or both.
Eurostar was quite clearly our chariot of choice and a good choice it was, London Waterloo to the first beer in our hotel in Gent in a little over four hours (please note that from Mid November 2007 the Eurostar terminal in London will move from Waterloo to Kings Cross). Our hotel was the Novotel Gent Centrum and the location was influenced by the tips of VT member Win (RhineRoll), local Gent information was courtesy of Luc's (Luchonda) excellent page. Thanks to you both.
As befits a group of five blokes in the pursuit of ebriety, we spent much of our time in bars with the occasional bout of sleeping in between, although veteran Keith managed to combine the two at one stage. We did however take in our fair share of culture and history with The Belfry, St Bavo's Cathedral, St Nicholas' Church and the old harbour area all within close walking distance. In fact if I had to give one piece of advice to anyone thinking about visiting Gent it would be don't worry too much about location, you can walk to almost anywhere. We also managed a few hours (i.e. bars) in Brugge, which is only around 20-30 minutes away.
Hope you enjoy my Gent tips, as any regular visitor to my pages will understand, they mostly involve bars and beer with a little culture and history thrown in.
Gent - Go There - Drink Beer.
Good hotels for children
I'll be visiting the Gent/Antwerp/Brussels area for business, accompanied by family including children under 12. Are there good hotels, with swimming pool, that would allow my wife access to motorways for sightseeing while I am having meetings?
RE: Good hotels for children
I don't think it is a brilliant idea to bring a car into the centre of Brussels (or Antwerp - and if Brugge is on the agenda, it is necesary to park on the outskirts anyway), so if you are coming to Brussels by car, it would be best to stay out near the airport, which is also close to the motorway to Antwerp and to the Ring for access to everywhere else in Belgium: I believe the Holiday Inn Brussels Airport (in Diegem) is the only one of the hotels near the airport to have a pool http://www.brussels-airport.holiday-inn.com/.
RE: Good hotels for children
PS If you meant, you want to stay in Gent (it isn't clear from "visiting the Gent/Antwerp/Brussels area), I don't think location is such a problem anyway, as it isn't hard to get out of the city. In that case I would recommend you stay at the Novotel Gent Centrum, which has a swimming pool. Look on here for other possibilities - but you may have to choose between being on the motorway (Formule 1, which is a chain of very basic hotels) and having a swimming pool: http://www.elis.ugent.be/LCP/hotel.php