IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE BELGIAN TOURIST OFFICE

Five Best: Country hotels in Wallonia

Clare Thomson samples some of the finest rooms in rural Wallonia


Le Chateau d'Hassonville Marche-en-Famenne

In the heart of the Ardennes, this castle was built for Louis XIV and has been a luxury hotel since 1986. Set in parkland designed by a pupil of Le Nôtre, who did the grounds at Versailles, the hotel has old-fashioned romance aplenty, with frilly, flamboyant bedrooms and bathrooms that revel in their disdain for contemporary design principles. Pay the extra for a parkland view, and be sure to try the restaurant before retiring to the bar or the snooker room. Breakfast is served in bed or in the winter garden; work it all off by wandering around the lake.

Doubles from €130 (£93), or €180 (£130) for a park view; two-night gastro weekends from €265 (£190) per person; 00 32 84 311025, www.hassonville.be

Le Castel Fosses-la-Ville

Opposite the church in the country town of Fosses-la-Ville, this converted 19th-century manor house is an ideal resting point betwixt Brussels and the Ardennes. The rooms are light, sleekly styled and refreshing, with white covers, plain walls and bright bathrooms, and there's a pleasant outside terrace, with wooden deck chairs and an outdoor swimming pool (heated from May to September), artfully sheltered by foliage in the warmer months. But it's the kitchen that really counts here: the engaging owner-chef, Jean-Louis Mathy, whips up creative fusion-style dishes and local specialities, such as delicate "petit gris de Namur": snails in tempura, served in the lemon-walled salon or the conservatory, which overlooks a flourishing herb garden. Chef can batter through in English, so it's worth considering a culinary package, which combines cookery sessions and gourmet dining.

Doubles from €103 (£72), bridal suite €180 (£129); cooking workshops from €240 (£170) per person for two nights or €345 (£247) for three; 00 32 711812, www.lecastel.be

Hotel de Franc Bois Lompret

Lompret is as beautiful as it is obscure, and this modest, family-friendly establishment, in a rough-stone building is a local treasure. The newer rooms have parquet floors, the drawing room has a mosaic floor, and there's a breakfast room with a fireplace and stucco on the ceiling. There's no restaurant, so you'll be directed to the village's only eaterie for regional specialities and Chimay Blanc on tap. Enjoy an evening stroll along the l'Eau Blanche river or, in daylight, ask for the small iron gate at the other end of the village, which wends uphill for fine views.

Doubles from €75 (£53); 00 32 60 214475, www.hoteldefrancbois.be

Le Chateau du Pont d'Oye and Les Ardillieres du Pont d'Oye Habay-la-Neuve

There's a hint of class struggle about these neighbouring hotels, with one housed in the castle and the other in a building that was once home to forge workers. Les Ardillieres (pictured below) is the upwardly mobile one: thoroughly modern, with a well-equipped spa and a private decked terraces overlooking a lush green courtyard with a rockery and a waterfall. Its elegant, Michelin-starred restaurant, Les Forges du Pont d'Oye, has a glass panel in the floor, through which you can admire the wine cellar. The lawnside Chateau is a more rambling, affair, the kind of place where you'd expect to bump into an aristocrat with fraying shirt cuffs. Owned by a family of writers and diplomats, it has plush, if slightly faded salons, a guesthouse atmosphere and a welcome absence of televisions.

Ardillieres: doubles from €145 (£103); 00 32 63 422243, www.lesforges.be Chateau: doubles from €80 (£57), prestige rooms from €120 (£86); 00 32 67 219565, www.laviedechateau.be

La Malle Poste Rochefort

Fashionable, flower-filled glass vases in the high-ceilinged dining areas, thick mattresses and crisp linen in the bedrooms: you can tell that the owners of this renovated 18th-century inn have an eye for details. The suites have beamed ceilings, flagstone floors and contemporary-style four-poster beds with diaphanous drapes. The simpler rooms are equally tasteful and sybarites can opt for a bathroom with Jacuzzi. Breakfast is a cut above the standard continental: delicious breads and jams, good-quality cold meats and eggs and bacon cooked to order. Downstairs, beyond the labyrinthine wine cellars, are an indoor pool, sauna and hammam. The Ardennes are on your doorstep, but you might prefer to soak up the sun on the terrace of the French-style garden.

Doubles from EUR120 (£86), suites from €140 (£100); 00 32 84 210986, www.malleposte.be

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride