Martin’s Patershof

Whenever I travel, I make it a point to choose a nice hotel. It doesn’t have to be five-star, although I do require a queen-sized bed, an en-suite hot shower and clean restroom, and enough space for my luggage. But one other thing I look for is that the hotel itself should be worth the trip.

Hubby was all for booking the cheapest hotel but as soon as I saw Martin’s Patershof from the list of hotels in Mechelen, I was sold (and there goes hubby again, accusing me of splurging on hotel stays).

 
Martin’s Patershof used to a be a church, built by the Friar Minors (a Franciscan order) in the latter part of the 18th century. However, in the late 1990s, the order decided to sell the building and it was finally deconsecrated in 1999 and converted into a residential area. How can I not stay in this hotel?

The nice thing about the conversion is that the old church was not torn down to make way for a new structure. Instead, the church was retained and almost all of the church’s elements were incorporated into the new hotel: the altar now serves as the focal point of the main dining hall, the patio is the reception, the stained glass windows and wooden beams make for interesting interior design in most of the suites.   

The church doors turned hotel entrance
I also liked the fact that the reception area had a subdued atmosphere, not unlike the feeling you get when inside a church. It was very quiet and the lighting was dim which rendered the place all the more classy. And I must say the staff were very accommodating, allowing us early check-in (we were six hours too early for check-in since we came from Paris that day and had taken the 5am train to Brussels), and even drawing a map for me so I can decide if I wanted to walk from the hotel to the train station (which I happily did) the following day.

Lounge area near the reception.

I didn’t get to enjoy the breakfast very much though, since I woke up too late on our first day, and we left too early on our third and last day. But I did get to try it on our second day. It wasn’t as grand as the buffet spreads I’ve grown accustomed to (offering different cuisines which I don’t eat anyway) but the food was very good and all the must haves in a breakfast buffet were there – a wide selection of fresh fruit juice, cold cuts and cheese, and various types of bread, cereals, and fruits – so who am I to complain? I was more than happy and satisfied.
And the ambience was just unbeatable. How often do you get to have your breakfast inside a church? It was sooo quiet inside the dining hall and everyone looked so serious I almost felt guilty snapping these photos – I had to do some serious ninja moves to take them without being seen, hahaha!

The dining hall.

I miss having freshly baked croissants for breakfast.
The spread may look spartan but they refill them whenever each plate is almost half-empty.
Stuffed myself with smoked salmon.
Since we were staying at the hotel for the duration of the conference, I think we didn’t have any options on the room type that we were allowed to book and use our discount codes on. But I honestly didn’t bother asking as I was only too happy to stay at this hotel.
It was love at first sight when I opened our door and saw the inviting bed – comfy mattress, comfy (and many!) pillows, a nice desk, and a big bathroom (I had been dreading miniscule bathrooms since our hotel mishap in Paris – which made me swear I will never ever let hubby book our hotels again).
In fact, I loved staying in our room so much I stayed there the entire day and didn’t go out until dinner time! Fortunately, it was summer and the sun sets much later at around 11PM so I still had plenty of time to roam around.

I’ve stayed in about 15 hotels across three continents for both work and pleasure in the last 10 months before this trip but I must say, this hotel is one I would willingly choose again. I guess I’ll see you again then! 😀 
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