A Foodie’s Tour of Belgium
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…
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.
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:
Suite Blanche had a private garden and a modern-castle vibe:
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.
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.
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!