#HilaryRowland

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

By  

Where to Stay While on Your Foodie Tour of Belgium

NE5T Hotel and Spa is nestled in the hills of the small city of Namur. It’s a very private, very boutique luxury hotel and spa run by a Michelin star chef. Never in my life have I experienced such incredible cuisine at a hotel — let alone in the privacy of our own suite, with multiple course meals and wine pairings being served as if we were in a 5-star restaurant. It felt more like staying in a private villa, but with the amenities of a luxury resort — and a private chef.

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

A reimagined farmhouse, NE5T marries old and new, beautifully

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

With six suites that feel more like country homes than hotel suites, NE5T was our luxurious home away from home for almost a week (although we would have loved to stay much, much longer). This uber-boutique hotel was carefully constructed from a renovated stone farmhouse and barn, which took a decade to renovate and managed to perfectly retain 100% of that charm.

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The walk to breakfast smelled like fresh, dewy flowers

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

We loved hanging out in the gorgeous gardens

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Taking a dip in the pool on a hot summer day is simply heaven. Chilly outside? Opt for the heated indoor pool, with its wave-making technology (so you can swim ‘laps’, in place) and automatic back massaging jets.

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Eat and drink around the outside pool

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Lounge by the pool

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Ridiculously comfortable luxury pillows by Tribu

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Drinking champagne and testing the (warm) water in NE5T’s incredible spa

The food at NE5T was beyond what we’ve ever experienced from a hotel. The owner is a Michelin-star chef, and he taught the hotel’s chef, Nicolas Renard, very very well. So well, in fact, that NE5T deserves their own Michelin star. Not only that, but you can eat in your suite’s private dining room, at the pool, or in the restaurant area.

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Seating in the modern, elegant and simple restaurant area

Note: Since writing this article I’ve changed my views about eating meat, seafood and dairy (even if it’s local and organic). I no longer waver from my plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle — here’s why.

We were floored by the delicious selections of squeezed-a-second-ago juices, just-baked pastries and breads, local yogurts and butter (the best butter I’ve ever had), and organic teas. And that’s just what gets placed on your table before you even tell them what you’d like to order for breakfast!

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Breakfast by the pool, with fresh squeezed juices and local, organic goodies

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Dinner at NE5T is a memorable experience. Not only can you tell them whatever you’re in the mood for (the morning of), but the chef (Nicolas Renard) will also be happy to check the local markets for what’s the most fresh that day, and whip up something simply spectacular using only those fresh organic ingredients. Wine pairings, of course, can be had with each course, and are extremely well chosen. The white we had, for example, was ranked the best white wine this year.

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The room service at NE5T is Michelin-star quality

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Dining in our private dining room was an incredibly luxurious experience

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

We cheated on our usually vegan diet …the food was all local and organic

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

A delicious work of art…

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The dining table in the Duplex Madeline suite

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

We were able to visit the outdoor farm where these grass-fed cows came from

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

We were served unique dishes that were absolutely delicious

I apologize if I sound overly excitable, but the suites are sheer perfection. Every detail was carefully thought out to be either flawless — or perfectly imperfect…

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The fridge housed a delicious collection of wines, champagne and fruit nectars

Four of the suites come with a full kitchen, and some have multiple bedrooms. We stayed in two separate hotel suites: Suite Blanche (the white suite) and the Duplex Madeline. Each and every bed at NE5T is outfitted completely by Hastens, including the pillowtop, duvet, pillows — and $35,000 mattress.

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The most comfortable bed you’ve ever slept on – Hastens EVERYTHING!

The Madeline suite had two floors, two bedrooms plus an office, a media room, a dining room, a kitchen and a living room. The decor was rustic-chic:

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Hanging out in the Duplex Madeline suite at NE5T

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The study in the Duplex Madeline suite

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The media room in the Duplex Madeline suite

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The upstairs bathroom has double sinks, a huge soaker tub and a large shower

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Themae – high-end French organic(ish) toiletries

Suite Blanche had a private garden and a modern-castle vibe:

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The bedroom in Blanche

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Every detail was carefully curated

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The Blanche bathtub

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The spa melted our stress away. Only four people are allowed in the spa at once, and usually it was just us. We loved the surprisingly effective DreamWater Jet water-powered massage bed, the heated back-massaging pool, the workout area and the lounge.

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

Enjoying champagne and chocolates from Namur by the pool in the spa was a highlight of our trip

We got a couples massage, which took place in a room with a curved stone ceiling, connected to another room with a private hot tub in the corner.

A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium

The couples massage room, with a hot tub in the adjoining area

Staying at NE5T is an incredible experience, guaranteed to satisfy any foodie, and the perfect launching place for your Belgian foodie tour. Yes, there’s more!

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

21 Comments

  1. Cody Pierce

    Nice photos! Makes me wish I was there right now…

  2. Naomi Linsei

    Wow!! That hotel is super luxurious. I just can’t wait till I get there as well. Thanks Hilary for sharing it.

  3. Hannah S

    OMG OMG OMG that hotel looks aaaamaaazingggg! I’m totally going to visit Namur with by boyfriend this summer. It looks sooooo super cute and romantic! I’m so excited. 🙂 I always find the best tips here!

  4. Meghan Cole

    GORGEOUS photos, Hilary! NEST looks super luxurious. I wish I could make my apartment look like that. Stunning. I’m going to book a trip there ASAP. Too pretty (and the food looks too good) not to.

  5. Absolutely breathtaking! I love the photos you took! I’m going to book this hotel with the guy I’m seeing — looks so super romantic… I also love all the detail you gave about not only Belgium, but the places you went. Like many others, I’m sure, I had no idea that Belgium was so gorgeous and interesting…

  6. Delit L'Angelier

    I had no idea Belgium was so incredible. I’ll add it to my bucket list!

  7. Henry Williams

    Wow!! What an amazing places!!!! I am going crazy to be there 😉

  8. Francis Woods

    Amazing trip, Hilary!!! 😀 And as always, I learn so many things just from reading your articles.

  9. Linda

    Hilary, an amazing informative and enticing article with very professional photos.
    If the reader hadn’t planned on visiting Belgium after reading your experience they certainly would put it on their list. All the Best to You in Your World Traveling!

  10. Chloe Miller

    This is exactly what I’m looking for in a travel article! I really felt like I just had an exciting and fascinating trip to Belgium! Keep them coming 🙂

    • Francis Woods

      I like how Hilary shares her experiences as they are, no sugarcoating! And also, I like how she always gives us additional information. Amazing, as always.

  11. Trish Potter

    Absolutely FABULOUS travel article on Belgium! I had no idea that Smurfs and “french fries” or the world’s first shopping mall originated in Belgium! I love that Hilary includes so many photos, it really gives the reader a sense of what it’s like there, especially all the photos of the NE5T Hotel where she stayed, it looks beyond cool and luxurious, I’d love to stay there. And to have a Michelin-starred chef at a tiny luxe hotel, wow!

    • Francis Woods

      That hotel is FAAAAAB. I just can’t wait til I get there as well!!!

  12. Ansley Barrington

    Hilarious photos! Belgium is and will always be “chocoholics” dream destination 🙂

  13. Wow, I had no idea Belgium was so dynamic. Would have never thought to travel there. Might have to check it out next summer : )

  14. Sarah Woodstock

    I definitely will try NE5T Hotel and Spa on my next visit to Belgium! I just got excited on trying out “warm” spa water while drinking champagne…

  15. Hilary — those photos are absolutely gorgeous. I love that you included yourself in them too. Really spectacular trip. I had no idea Belgium was so interesting and luxurious. I’m going to book a trip there ASAP. I can’t wait to experience Nest in person. That spa – wow!

  16. OMG that looks like an INSANELY AMAZING trip! Holy jealous!!! Wow. I just added NE5T to my hotel Bucket List.

  17. Courtney Watson

    Thanks for the history lessons 🙂 This article is really informative and I love it! I really didn’t know “french fries” was invented in Belgium! LOL

    • Francis Woods

      I’ve always thought french fries was an American invention. Thanks really for this informative article, Hilary 😀

  18. Sandra Brown

    Wonderful photos! I have a feeling that you enjoyed yourself 🙂 I would love to try homegrown Belgian artisanal beers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *