A delightful crossing on Norfolkline to Dunkirk, then a quick whizz down the notorway to Ghent and then...
We drove, and drove, and drove. In fact it took an hour just meandering around Ghent's hideous mediaeval one-way street system with unfathomable names to find our hotel slap bang in the middle of the old part of town. The streets themselves are gorgeous, it's just their layout that is hideous. For drivers. For drivers without a map. For drivers without a map who hadn't worked out even which side of the city we were approaching from. Sigh.
Still, once there, you could not have asked for a better location - the Marriott had the canal-side facade in keeping with its 16th century neighbours, but inside was a fabulously stylish modern boutique hotel. Best of all worlds, and a huuuuge bedroom, a real treat compared to the usual shoeboxes we sleep in when we go to Paris.
Even the telly in the bedroom was superior - a large widescreen with BBC1 and BBC2 (and CNN) as well as the usual full array of mainstream continential channels. French quiz and game shows are a particular favourite.
And the lobby was a glass curved roof over a huge atrium, with glass lifts and doors opening on to a balcony-style corridor, giving a light and spacious feel to the whole place. Friendly and attentive staff and a generally calm, relaxed and welcoming feel. Perhaps that's what you always get in a 4 star hotel, but it felt refreshingly different for us!
And only £70 a night, if you were wondering... (via Expedia.com)