Main Street Hotel is a pretty special boutique hotel in the original heart of Ypres, made to surprise and please guests!
Built between the 2 world wars in 1938, the red-bricked town house was also used to sell and roast coffee-beans. In 2008 the house got stripped, re-designed, completely renovated, filled with intriguing curiosities and opened as the Main Street Hotel on the 1st of April 2011!
It was quickly noticed to be something out-of-the-box and –although small – became the number 1 hotel in Flanders.
Main Street Hotel has been rewarded by the Trip-Advisor reviewers with wonderful reviews that gave the hotel a Travelers’Choice Award each year: best service in Belgium, best small hotel in Belgium, most romantic hotel in Belgium,… Main Street Hotel pleases in so many ways!
If you see the breakfast photo’s on their sites: They are mouth watering!
Touring in Belgium and visiting the cities of Mons (Bergen) and Namur (Namen) we made a small detour to visit the Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift.
In 2002 the boat lift of Strépy-Thieu was completed, almost 20 years after its construction started. Together with a deviation in the Central Canal it replaces 4 historical boat lifts. The Central Canal connects the Meuse and Scheldt rivers. Two rivers important for water transportation in Belgium. Until a boat lift in China ( 3 gorges dam lift) will be completed, the Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift is the largest boat lift of the World. On the photo both caissons are hanging in the air just under the building and in connection with the upper branch of the canal.
The caissons have useful dimensions of 112 m by 12 m and a water depth of between 3.35 and 4.15 m. Each caisson is supported by 112 suspension cables (for counterbalance) and 32 control cables (for lifting/lowering), each of 85 mm diameter. The mass of the counterbalance was calculated to keep the tension in each of the control cables below 100 kN at all times. The suspension cables pass over idler pulleys with a diameter of 4.8 m. Four electric motors power eight winches per caisson via speed-reduction gearboxes and the 73.15-metre lift is completed in seven minutes. The structure is massively reinforced to provide rigidity against torsional forces during operation and has a mass of approximately 200,000 tonnes. The vertically moving watertight gates are designed to withstand a 5 km/h impact from a 2000 tonne vessel.
I took this photo in Ostend, Belgium at the exhibition The Sea which became a memorial to Belgian Museum curator Jan Hoet. I found it in Mu.zee. There the caption is Brave Men From La Jolla and the ownership attributed to Studio Ruscha
Clearly there is a Flying Dutchman analogy which connects the quote “Brave Men Run in My Family” to the sea.
My first encounter with Ed Ruscha was in another Seafaring City, Venice, Italy at the occasion of the 2005 Venice Biennial. There he presented mono color work from his Blue Collar series with new work which he called Course of Empire (see this Traditional Fine Arts Organization writeup)
Strangely enough I took only photo’s from the mono color work and not from the multi color work. With hindsight I believe I found the black and white work much more impressive, especially in the USA pavilion.
The connection is this: After Venice the Ruscha paintings were exhibited in the Whitney Museum NYC. Currently the Whitney museum is on the move from its Breuer designed museum to a Piano designed new Museum that will be opened spring next year. Soon the US Embassy in the Hague will leave its Breuer designed building for a newly built Embassy. I hope the US will show the same respect for the only Breuer designed building we have in The Hague as the Whitney museum did by making a deal with the MET. See this NY Times article.
Currently in the Belgian city Ostende there is an exhibition in various locations in honor of curator Jan Hoet who passed away January 27, 2014, before the exhibition even started.
I’ve visited it and it is really worth while the journey. Open until April 19th, 2015.
The installation “Altar” at the beach by Kris Martin is part of the exhibition. It refers to a triptych by Van Eyck and gives a view on the Sea (and the air above the sea off course)
The sea has always been a great source of inspiration for the arts. Its attraction can undoubtedly be ascribed to its ever changing impressions. In its infinite beauty it may be soothing but in its unpredictability it becomes threatening again. Artists will always be fascinated by the endless play of light, space and movement. The Sea is an exhibition that is elusive just like a wave, ebbing, flowing and leaving traces that time and again are erased by new forces. The Sea is an exhibition in dialog with Ostend, spread over several locations, with Mu.ZEE as the starting point of this voyage of discovery.
Jan Hoet was behind the planning of this event. For him, this was to be his last major exhibition. However, on 27 February 2014 we had to bid our curator farewell. He had focused on this project until the very last weeks of his life. The exhibition thus grew from a tribute to the sea into a homage to Jan Hoet… one of grand gestures and short stories, a salute of honor.
Yesterday, as the first of the 5 or 6 prestigious restaurant guides in The Netherlands, the Dutch version of the Gault Millau Guide presented its 2010 awards and 2010 guide with the best 500 and something Restaurants and best 220 Hotels of The Netherlands here around the corner in The Hague. I’m a bit sad I had to miss the ceremony…so near by.
Today I received the sticker proving the Gault Millau editors deem Haagsche Suites worthy to belong to the best 220 Dutch Hotels in their guide. Thank you Gault Millau for the quick service, that even beats the new listings on your own website 🙂
Gault Millau started in France as a restaurant guide in 1969. It was founded by two restaurant critics, Henri Gault (1929-2000) and Christian Millau. The French site is a mere window for their paper guide.
I grabbed the following from the Misset Horeca Site:
Plaese note the best restaurant has been awarded 20 points out of 20 which is remarkable in the Gault Millau history. At the same time our Belgian neighbors awarded a Dutchman, Roger van Damme the Chef of the year award for his Antwerp based lunches only restaurant.
Gault Millau’s top 13 Restaurants of The Netherlands:
La Rive Amstel Hotel
Two of those top restaurants, Parkheuvel and De Zwetheul are easy to reach for a dinner when staying in Haagsche Suites.
Two other Restaurants Calla’s and Seinpost who also earned good points are even nearer to Haagsche Suites. Seinpost has the best wine food combining sommelier of 2010.
Austria, Italy, Germany and Switzerland each have their own Gault Millau guides.The US and the UK have their Gayot guides. Gayot was a friend of Gault and Millau and they published joint guides until a schism in 2000.
Gault Millau is said to be the guide of the food purists more than the Guide Michelin….