Late afternoon is a good time to arrive in Bruges, at least when I arrive it is. A long June sun is glowing and even after an exhausting day travelling, the city feels fresh despite its medieval pedigree.
I’m staying at the exclusive Number 11, perhaps a microcosm of Bruges in its attention to detail, blurring the old with the new. Even before I set foot in the place one of the close knit team who run it has taken the time to contact me (as I’m held up by a series of delays) so expect great hospitality.
Strangely, Number 11 has been a temple of sojourn for 11 years exactly, but it’s only in the last two that it’s been under the current management, fronted up by Carine Deprez who fell in love with the place when she herself was a visitor – and it’s not hard to see why – by the time I make it, the late sun streams into the front lobby area (possibly the best time to see it).
The property feels like a home from home with a lounge and dining area in one. There’s a petit chandelier, an adequate dining table and artefacts from candles to sea shells. A short passage leads to both the ample kitchen and garden.
The arts receive significant patronage, visible in the paintings of previous owner Pavel and the sculpture of Matine Bossuyt. In recent years the film ‘In Bruges’ was partially shot here in the expansive studio (not usually open to the public, though they are happy to give a quick tour).
With only three rooms (not including the suite) the mood is pristinely cosy and never feels crowded. I have the Vanilla room, sumptuously lit by a sun still high enough to imbue it perfectly. The bed is huge, the TV modest but to be honest in a town exquisite as Bruges, it’s all you’re going to need.
Should you require bodily pampering, rest assured the en suite bathroom will cater to your every whim. With both a bath and shower available, Jasmine bath salts are among the familiar soaps and lotions (along with a variety of towels).
The only thing to be a little wary of and which I had forgotten is that houses in this part of the world have very steep staircases! This however fails to subtract from its overall style and the endearing staff whom strive to make your own time in Bruges an enjoyable and memorable one.