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,

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,

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,

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, Chateau: doubles from €80 (£57), prestige rooms from €120 (£86); 00 32 67 219565,

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,

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam