Gentle Ghent

Explore the hidden secrets of the Belgian city

Who better to ask for tips than the locals? Veva van Sloun lives and works in Ghent and shares her favourite 10 hangouts.

1. Stadsgracht

‘In the Middle Ages, Ghent was one of the largest cities in Western Europe. Its past wealth is reflected in the beautiful monumental buildings. A relaxed way to discover Ghent is by renting a boat or booking a guided tour.’

2. Billie Rose

‘Wolf and his sister Noor run this trendy concept store. It’s the place for minimalist clothing, jewellery and interior accessories. Plus, whilst there, you can also enjoy good coffee with a delicious piece of home­made cake.’

3. Cuore di Puglia

‘This is the place where I purchase my ingredients for a large Italian family meal. Early in the morning Italian cheese makers prepare fresh cheeses, like mozzarella fior di latte, burrata, ricotta and other delicacies typical of the Puglia region. You can see the production area from the store and watch how the cheeses are traditionally made. That alone is worth a detour! The shop also sells great pasta, wine and olive oil.’

4. Bluet

Near the Stadshal Ghent you’ll find the stylish flower and plant shop Bluet. Founder Daniël only sells locally, sustainably and ecologically­ grown flowers and plants, supplemented with fair trade exotics. The store consists of two floors packed with green creations. Upstairs lies a paradise of small pieces of pottery, covering the entire ceiling.’

5. Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens

‘On the Leije river, just outside Ghent, stands the bright white, modern building housing the museum Dhondt- Dhaenens. The permanent collection boasts contemporary private pieces, with social relevance and the exhibitions change every six months. To get to the museum from Ghent, there is a great cycle route that runs along the Leije river. Visit tourism­ for more information regarding the possible routes.’

6. Rio

‘If you’re a fan of high­end fashion and designer bags, be sure to check out the luxurious Rio. Owner Christina has Brazilian roots, which shows across the boutique’s interior. The clothing and accessories from, for example, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Buscemi are tastefully presented. Don’t skip the jewellery by Kim Mee Hye: a great goldsmith who designed my wedding ring.’ LANGE KRUISSTRAAT 29

“In the Middle Ages, Ghent was one of the largest cities in Western Europe”

7. Restaurant Roots

‘Opened in 2016 in the Patershol, an old quarter in the historic centre, this bistro seats just 20 people and offers diners a relaxed and casual atmosphere. The name of the restaurant is obvious: ‘This is where our own story starts, this is where our roots grow,’ says chef Kim Devisschere and his girlfriend and hostess Nele Victoor. The  interior is playful: you sit on wooden school chairs, the cutlery can be found in a drawer under the table and the menu is hooked on its edge. During both the afternoon and evening the couple work with a fixed, seasonal menu comprising local and fair trade produce. Meat comes from smaller farmers, fish is caught in the North Sea and vegetables are grown at the organic farm Le Monde Des Mille Couleurs. I like to have lunch here with friends during the week. The service is  very friendly, with a good quality­price ratio.’

8. Clouds in my Coffee

‘Our coffee shop Clouds in my Coffee is just a ten minute walk from the centre. Guests come for an ‘I Love You A Latte’ breakfast or a strong espresso. I run a design shop on the property, behind the café, and a renovated chapel from the 19th century houses our bed and breakfast. In the late summer it’s a precious outdoor space nestled in the midst of an urban jungle.’

9. Chez Claire

‘If you have a sweet tooth and are curious to try a variation of the classic éclair, then bakery Chez Claire is definitely worth a visit. The shop, with walls in sugar sweet colours, neon lettering and mirrors, offers 13 luxury éclairs with a twist. Think of flavours such as Belgian chocolate ganache, hand­picked edible flowers, caramelized hazelnuts and 24K gold leaf. High­end guilty pleasures! Complement your éclair with coffee or a glass of champagne from their house brand Cuvée Claire. Taking home a pink gift package also serves as a fun souvenir!’

Oudburg in Gent

10. Paard van Troje

‘Paard van Troje is a popular bookshop with more than 25,000 titles. You can dive into your latest book whilst enjoying a good cup of coffee, either in the cosy café or on the outdoor terrace. Proclaimed bookseller of the year in 2013, owner Bart’s favourite book is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. He says he’s read it at least ten times.’

Would you like to explore more of this beautiful city? Our Pillows Team is happy to recommend you other fantastic hotspots of Ghent.

You can click on the button below to learn more about the location of the hotel and other highlights.

15% Discount Spring Offer

Experience our Pillows concept to the fullest with an overnight stay in the newly designed Pillow Grand Hotel Reylof and a 6-course “Best of Ron & LOF” dinner in LOF Restaurant. The collaboration with the Dutch Michelin star chef Ron Blaauw forms the basis of the intimate atmosphere and the culinary high-quality dishes that are served here. Only valid in the months May and June. This package includes:

Welcome drink

1 x Overnight stay in one of our luxurious rooms or suites

1 x breakfast for two persons

“Best of Ron & LOF” 6-course dinner

‘Turndown’ Service

 Free use of WiFi