The first thought that came to my mind when I entered Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof in Ghent, Belgium, was that I was setting foot in an enlightened and romantic location which reminded me of great 18th and 19th century literature masterpieces!
I could totally imagine the novel’s heroine running on the stunning marble floor, holding a letter containing some interesting gossip about her friends staying in Bath for the season.
She would probably rush to one of the different lobbies which can be found throughout the ground floor and read the message peacefully. I bet she would choose the hall with the pale green wallpaper, the wooden parquet floor and the wonderful purple sofa which offer a relaxing atmosphere to the place and to the guests who are lucky enough to have discovered this gem.
But before this discovery, I am certain that people have wondered what treasure might be hiding on the first floor. The spiral staircase leading there is simply striking and many visitors, who were not invited upstairs, must have imagined the wildest and craziest stories, because this house has undoubtedly an incredible past.
You are truly captivated by its history, whose first owner was Ghentian merchant’s son and poet Baron Olivier de Reylof, as every element seems to beg for your attention through its looks, colors, and specificity. Indeed, every aspect of the design has something uncommon to show off.
One can see and feel that the wallpaper was created with tremendous care, the chandeliers which shine bright like diamonds presumably originate from the best manufacturers, the mirrors must have reflected the faces of the most attractive, interesting and influential women and men throughout the years, and the breathtaking fireplaces, ornamented with gorgeous moldings, offer the warmth we all long for during cold Belgian winter months.
This palazzo must have been witness to many interesting and glamorous events, held in public and more private corners behind fabulous Empire style closed doors, where urgent and important matters must have been discreetly discussed and decided.
The hotel is impressive as it has been able to keep its integrity and authenticity although most of its premises were modernized by David & Ehrig Interior Design which has done a brilliant job! The difference between the new and old section is so daring and huge that the eyes meet with two completely different spheres which are willingly assimilated, assembled and accepted.
Whereas pale colors reign over most of the authentic part, flashy tints were induced on the furniture, accessories and walls of the modern part which gives the impression that the house was provided with some lipstick and nose powder to highlight the place’s unconditional and infinite youth.
The various lobbies will take you to a historical and architectural walk which will awake all your senses: your sight will be amazed by the exhibited beauty of the place, your ears will eagerly listen to the conversations around you, you will want to touch the furniture materials, and you will be captivated by the heavenly taste and smell of your tea and dessert!
This jewel will surely leave its mark on your mind as it is unexpectedly surprising and different from what you’re accustomed to see when entering a hotel. You are immediately struck by the charm of an 18th century town house dating back to 1724, and its hypnotizing staircase but also astounded by its modernity which first timidly makes its appearance and very soon blossoms into a firework of unlimited prints and forms.
This mind blowing romantic, exciting and colorful patchwork oasis in the middle of Ghent’s history is an absolute must!