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Hotel Walburg
History, photos and review of the four-star hotel in Bruges

Added on August 27, 2013
Hotel Walburg in Bruges is no longer operated as a hotel. It is a private family house now. But don't worry, the city is full of nice hotels to stay at.

Article added on November 2, 2007  
The four-star Hotel Walburg in Bruges has just completed its ten years of existence. It was opened on Friday 13, 1997 by the Belgium couple Bieke and Gaston Vandewiele-Nuytten.

Mr. Vandewiele-Nuytten has a hotelier background. His parents used to run hotels since the 1950s. Together with his brother, he owned a 96-room hotel in Roselare, situated some 30 km from Bruges.

In 1994, Bieke and Gaston Vandewiele-Nuytten bought the mansion built by Isidoor Allerweireldt on Boomgaardstraat 13 in Bruges. On September 13, 1997 after three years of renovation, they opened it as a hotel with thirteen spacious rooms.

Already in 1995, the dentist next door offered the hotelier couple to buy his adjacent house, and the hotel owners gladly accepted. At present, Hotel Walburg offers sixteen rooms on three floors in the main building and three additional rooms in the former stables and carriage house, separated from the main building by a small garden. The carriages were drawn by the horses through the main door and the present-day hallway of the hotel to the adjacent building.

Isidoor Allerweireldt is the architect of Boomgaardstraat 13. He and the company he worked for later became famous because they finished the Palace of Justice in Brussels, for many years the world's largest building, after its original architect, Joseph Poelaert, went mad.

The mansion at Boomgaardstraat 13 was built for the noble family De Vestel - De Lille in 1861. Later inhabitants included the Baron Prosper van Zuylen-Nyevelt with his family, Narcisse-Auguste Ablay-de-Perceval, a retired lieutenant-general and former military commander of the province of West Flanders, and the liberal lawyer Auguste Vander Meersch, who was a key-figure for the monument care in the city of Bruges.

From 1942 until March 1955, the gynecologist Dr. Henry Godar lived in the house with his wife and daughter. He turned the house into a private maternity hospital. Therefore, a lot of people from Bruges were born here.

The building in Boomgaardstraat 13 had been abandoned for some ten years when the Vandewiele-Nuytten hoteliers bought it. The ground floor was last used in the early 1980s as a bar-dancing hall named Palazzo. I saw some of the impressive pictures of the poor state of the mansion before the renovation.

The Standaerdt company from Bruges restored all the neo-classical plasterworks with the help of silicon moulds. The hall and the ballroom were once painted in purple-grey. The present owners opted for a white color instead, inspired by a nearby church. Several hotel chimneys could be restored, but parts of the building had been vandalized too much. Because of its former use as a maternity hospital and a dancing, no original furniture of the 19th century mansion remained.

Some of the present day hotel suites are on the first floor, where the original owners of the De Vestel - De Lille family used to have its private quarters. Some of their staff slept in the attic, where I slept too, in one of the spacious deluxe rooms with equally spacious marble bathrooms.

The kitchen is in the basement, as in the old days. However, the restaurant only works on demand, normally for larger groups. In the basement is also a beer cellar which used to be the heating room. In 1861, coke was burnt here and the rooms heated through pipes, a sophisticated system for the time.

The most lavish room in Hotel Walburg is the former ballroom, which today serves as (breakfast) restaurant. The fireplace is original. The marble wall paneling near the floor had to be replaced in the same style. The French oak floor with its  “Hungarian point” pattern has been replaced by an identical one. However, at present, under the floor, they installed a floor heating.

The chandeliers throughout the hotel had disappeared. In the bar for instance, a new one from the early 20th century in the Marie-Antoinette style was bought around 1995 from a closed-down hotel. The cutlery comes from the same seaside hotel sale, from the Majestic in Knokke.

The present-day bar adjacent to the ballroom with its restored white marble fireplace, the already mentioned chandelier and a golden-framed mirror with two putos on top are from the dentist's building next door, which was constructed in the 1850s and therefore fits perfectly in the Hotel Walburg.

The bathrooms are all new and in Carrara marble. If you have a close look at the Rouge-Belge marble on the steps in the hallway, you will recognize that they are not all the same. The Belgium quarry where the Rouge-Belge marble came from had been closed down for many years. It has been reopened, but now does not produce the red marble anymore, but only one that is mostly grey. Therefore, the hotel owners had to import a Spanish red marble from Alicante, which fits well in the hallway. Only people who have a closer look will recognize that during the restoration parts of the marble on the stairs to the ballroom had to be replaced.

Among the hotel guests have been several film companies. Some came to shoot here Belgian commercials. One episode of the Belgian crime TV series “Aspe” was shot here too. Shortly before I arrived, in October 2007, a German film crew of seventy people shot in the ballroom for two weeks a part of a Buddenbrocks film, based on the novel by Thomas Mann, with the actors Marc Waschke and Lea Bosco in some of the leading roles.

Hotel Walburg is a well-maintained, spacious and elegant four-star hotel in a traditional Louis XVI style which combines comfort and technology, including Wifi trough the entire 19th century mansion, situated in the heart of old Bruges.

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The façade of Hotel Walburg. Photo © Hotel Walburg, Bruges.

The entrance with the the Rouge-Belge marble and  the Spanish red marble from Alicante. Photo © Hotel Walburg, Bruges.

The restaurant. Photo © Hotel Walburg in the city of Bruges (Brügge), Belgium.

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The Blue Room. Photo © Hotel Walburg in the city of Bruges (Brügge), Belgium.

A standard room. Photo © Hotel Walburg, Bruges.

View of a marble bathroom. Photo © Hotel Walburg in the city of Bruges.

The Geel Room. Photo © Hotel Walburg in the city of Bruges (Brügge), Belgium.

Upstairs the restaurant. Photo © Hotel Walburg in the city of Bruges, Belgium.

The original staircase. Photo © Hotel Walburg in the city of Bruges (Brügge), Belgium.

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