From Namur to Knokke: Sabato’s tips for a last minute staycation

We are also swapping our city trips for weekend breaks in our own country during the spring holidays. Sabato will help you on your way.


The design hotel BareFoodGiulia (Leopoldplein 26, Hasselt) opened in a renovated mansion at the end of 2019. The seven rooms form an eclectic ensemble at the intersection between art and kitsch. For example, the old front door was used as a bathroom screen, the Genk artist Sonnie Melerowitz made some works especially for the hotel and street artists were allowed to perform on the historic walls.

Rooms from 119 euros per night, excluding breakfast. Possibility to order drinks from the cocktail bar in the room.

Hotel BareFoodGiulia, Hasselt

In recent years, Hasselt has emerged as a small paradise for vegetarians and even vegans, although Limburgers like to give it their own Burgundian twist. For example, the eternal quinoa salad at Lento (Zuivelmarkt 34) is exchanged for a colorful four-course menu packed with seasonal vegetables.

The vegan takeaway menu can be ordered via [email protected], no later than Thursday. Collection always on Friday or Saturday between 5 pm and 7 pm.

After the departure of artist Koen Vanmechelen to Genk, the Hasselt art scene was awake for a while, but the renewed center for contemporary art, design and architecture Z33 (Bonnefantenstraat 1, Hasselt) is changing that. The new wing, a creation of the Italian architect Francesca Torzo, is already called the ‘most special exhibition building in Flanders’. Good for two architecture awards, and a successful start for the ambitious plans of the center.

Z33, Hasselt


The Hotel Van Bunnen (Van Bunnenlaan 50, Knokke) is housed in a handsome Art Deco building 300 meters from the beach and has a close relationship with contemporary art. The façade of the family hotel features a work of art by Peter Downsbrough and in the hotel there is one special room – ‘Wake up in Art’ – which is housed in an art gallery.

A double room in the Hotel Van Bunnen is available from 130 euros per night, including breakfast.

© David Samyn

If you want to be catapulted even further back in time, we can recommend the Grand Hotel Belle-Vue a little further in De Haan (Royal Square 5), one of the best-preserved institutions of the Belle Époque. With a substantial injection of capital, the new owners restored the Anglo-Norman building to its former glory. At the same time it was given a strong rejuvenation treatment, in the form of luxury suites with jacuzzi.

Grand Hotel Belle-Vue, De Haan
© COBA Photography

Pure C chef Syrco Bakker is also launching a take-away formula for the first time since the pandemic. He cooks an extensive rice table under the name Toko Syrco. ‘Everyone in the Netherlands knows this festive Indonesian meal,’ says Bakker. ‘The flavors and recipes are local, the way of serving is European, inspired by a banquet.’ With two Indonesian grandparents, Bakker knows Indonesian cuisine like the back of his hand. ‘I start from family recipes, translated into a Zeeland context. For example, I use North Sea fish and winter vegetables such as kale. ‘

85 euros for two people, 135 euros for four, order via Free to pick up in Knokke-Heist, but delivery is also possible.

Toko Syrco, Knokke

Gokelaere & Robinson (Golvenstraat 6, Knokke), the design gallery of Stanislas Gokelaere and Céline Robinson, is holding a special occasion exhibition until 28 February: ‘Rio de Janeiro: between everyday life, art and design’. Among other things, a selection of Brazilian vintage designs by Jorge Zalszupin, Joaquim Tenreiro, Carlo Hauner and Sergio Rodrigues can be admired.

Gokelaere & Robinson, Knokke


The Domaine de Ronchinne (Château de la Poste 25, Maillen) is a beautiful nature reserve of 42 hectares between Namur and Dinant. The Belgian designer Lionel Jadot designed a ‘natural’ wellness center there, with a swimming pond and a traditional outdoor hot tub. Furthermore, the ‘faisanderies’ and the ‘maison du jardinier’ were converted into rooms two years ago. For those even more trendy, the lords of the castle installed a few ‘tiny houses’ in the backyard, including a modernist ‘loft cube’ and five covered wagons that have been renamed sleeping tents. The castle woman 2.0 has found her habitat.

Domaine de Ronchinne, Namur
© Ivan Verzar

Last year, the Attablez-Vous chef (Tienne Maquet 16, Namur) opened a catering and delicatessen shop next to his restaurant. That investment is now paying off: here they have clearly mastered how they can give take-away meals that little bit extra. They do this by offering a few à la carte dishes in addition to a competitively priced menu (two courses for 30 euros) in which high-quality products and thoughtful combinations evoke the real restaurant feeling.

The restaurant receives orders for takeaway until Thursday evening. Collection is on Friday and Saturday from 4 pm to 6.30 pm, on Sunday from 10 am to 12 noon.

Attablez-Vous, Namur

While selfies and facial recognition technology are ubiquitous, the culture house Le Delta in Namur is creating a contrarian exhibition about art that literally turns our back on us. In addition to work by Michaël Borremans, who has a patent on back-to-back anti-portraits, Dirk Braeckman’s elusive figures mysteriously turn away from the viewer. And Pistoletto mixes mirror image and reverse in his work into an impossible ‘encounter’. Or how an exhibition with portraits without faces can still be expressive.

‘Vu.e. de dos’, until 21/2 in Le Delta in Namur.

‘Vu.e. de dos’, Namur
© Vincent Everarts


The historic Steigenberger Wiltcher’s is considered one of the most beautiful palaces in the capital. Although in normal times the hotel mainly receives business people, in the coming weeks it is aiming at a completely different target group: families. This is how the EXTRAVAKIDS formula was created, an activity program for children in two age groups. Those who prefer a romantic weekend can call on a Bentley with a driver for shopping trips or have gourmet meals delivered to their room.

From 210 euros per night for a double room excluding breakfast.

Steigenberger Wiltcher’s, Brussels

Michelin does not shy away from exclamation marks in its restaurant guide when it comes to Kamo (Waterloosesteenweg 587, Ixelles), the only Japanese restaurant in Belgium to have a star behind its name. Kamo has been closed for months now, but fans of refined fish preparations are fortunate that chef Tomoyasu Kamo has started a shop with takeout service 200 meters away. Scallops in the shell lie on an ice bed in the bar next to crispy fresh tuna and snow-white haddock. If you want to get started yourself, you will find a few accessories on a rack against the wall, such as roasted seaweed for rolling maki sushi.

Poissonnerie Kamo, Brussels
© Alexander d’Hiet

Martin Margiela’s first outlet in the world opened here in 2002. The legendary boutique also remained open when the radical designer disappeared from the fashion stage, but closed in the summer of 2019 due to bankruptcy. Since October, the Saint-Martin Bookshop has been located here, with a strong selection of art books, both new and second-hand. And two floors full. Initiator Stéphane Aisinber left the Margiela interior intact. The name is also a nod to the previous ‘resident’. The plan to organize four exhibitions a year is now also taking shape. Recently, the exhibition of the French artist Emmanuelle Lainé opened, who occupies a large part of the ground floor with her installation.

Expo until February 27, Vlaamsesteenweg 114, Brussels.

Saint-Martin Bookshop


In recent years, the more than a hundred years old Augustinian monastery of the Military Hospital in Antwerp has slowly but surely turned into August (Jules Bordetstraat 5, Antwerp), an exclusive hotel with restaurant, wellness and shop. Although the restaurant is currently closed, the hotel does offer a ‘culinary package’ (from € 489 for 2 people), in which a four-course menu, breakfast and glass of champagne are included in the room price. A wellness package is also one of the options, or an August & Julien package (€ 750 for 2 people), where you stay one more night in the equally beautiful sister hotel Julien.

August, Antwerp
© rv

5 Flavors Mmmi (Volkstraat 37) is an Antwerp restaurant that serves authentic dishes from the Cantonese kitchen. It is best known for the quality of its dimsum, which are baked, steamed or fried snacks. The takeaway menu lists 21 different types of dumplings, accounting for over a third of the full menu. In addition, classics such as siu mai, a snack in which shrimp and minced pork are wrapped in open dough (6 euros per portion).

5 Flavors Mmei, Antwerp
© Dries Luyten

The creativity of Dirk Van Saene, one of the ‘Antwerp Six’, does not stop with fashion or ceramics: he also paints, as an autodidact by the way. In his first solo exhibition ‘Stories of hope and despair’, which opened last weekend at Galerie Sofie Van de Velde (Léon Stynenstraat 21, Antwerp), he shows both his ceramic sculptures and colorful paintings of his sculptures. Read more about Dirk Van Saene’s artistry here and take a look at his studio.

Expo Dirk Van Saene, Antwerp
© Charlie De Keersmaeker


Wonder opens this month close to Ghent, with two suites and top notch catering. The initiator is namely chef Maël Schamp, who still cooked at Wout Bru en Graanmarkt 13. Schamp and her friend Johannes De Bruycker, photographer and journalist, want to organize lectures, workshops and small-scale events in the historic building. That is not yet possible. But the suites do open. ‘We drew the Belgian map for the interior, with furniture from Vormen and Muller Van Severen, among others. We found works of art at Demain, a Brussels initiative that puts young artists on the radar, ‘says Schamp. ‘We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in the room on request.’

Wonder, Ghent

Every Friday and Saturday, Michaël Vrijmoed, chef of the restaurant of the same name, serves a sustainable take-away menu, where you can choose between a five-course menu with meat and fish (€ 110) or a pure vegetable menu (€ 115). Those who want to pamper themselves can order a portion of caviar or truffle as a supplement (€ 15).

Michaël Vrijmoed, Ghent
© Diego Franssens

Morten Klitgaard, Sigve Knutson, Studio Truly Truly: Siegrid Demyttenaere and Sofie Lachaert not only selected these names for ‘Kleureyck’ in the Design Museum Ghent. In total, about a hundred well-known and upcoming designers are shown who do amazing things with color.

Kleureyck, Ghent

The trajectory begins in the 18th-century period rooms, with new research projects that make you see, taste, hear or feel color. Above, design objects are arranged in eight color groups, linked to details from Van Eyck’s ‘Ghent Altarpiece’. They stand on handsome chipboard plinths that make even the compelling post-modern museum architecture forgotten. If walking is thé corona sport, then the Design Museum Ghent currently has the most colorful trail in house.

Leave a Reply

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