A Night in Ghent – Callas B&B
I much prefer staying in B&Bs and small boutique inns in Europe. I get enough of boxy hotels where all the rooms are sterile and look like all the others in the hotel’s chain in the U.S. A quick drive from my husband’s home in Holland, we only had a night to stay in Ghent. I found Callas B&B on Tripadvisor. I know that every review can’t be trusted on the review site. People are quick to post their negative experiences but most people tend to forget to post their good reviews (which I myself am guilty of – sorry!). But I’ve never been misled by Tripadvisor reviews. If the majority of reviews says the place sucks, I stay away.
Forget the stuffy grandma image you have of B&B’s. That image certainly doesn’t apply to Callas B&B, which offers two stylishly decorated rooms. When we first arrived, I admit the neighborhood seemed kinda dodgy. Not in a dangerous way but it’s definitely a neighborhood of the working and immigrant class. There is a free parking lot down the street which is a great perk – free parking is hard to find in Ghent. The parking lot was bordered on one side by a building wall which was completely covered in graffiti art. It wasn’t just random gang scribblings but one giant mural consisting of different scenes.
Unfortunately Karen wasn’t there when we arrived but her husband let us in. The Suite and Attic are located in a building behind their residence connected by a little garden and common entry hall. I chose to stay in the cheaper Attic. I’m a sucker for red and black designs. I loved the look of the open bathroom (the bath and sink opens to the room, toilet is closed off).
Once we settled in, off we went to explore the city center, a quick 10 min walk (my Ghent city experience will be in another post). It was great to be able to walk after our day of sightseeing to what felt like our private residence. I remember turning on the TV, watching some crappy MTV reality show whose purpose was to find the next B horror movie actress. The girls were judged in their ability to act scared and scream – truly hilarious. I don’t know what it is but watching TV programming from home in a foreign country always makes it 10 times more interesting.
Anyway I digress. The one thing I should point out is that the bed is covered by mosquito netting. It actually looks quite romantic but after leaving the window open (there wasn’t a screen) for a while, the room was bombarded by mosquitos. My hubby spent a good 15 mins trying to whack every one of them with rolled up magazine. We learned to surround the bed completely with the netting and didn’t fall asleep until we were sure there was no way one of them could get in. The sound of a mosquito buzzing in my ear totally freaks me out. Wait until I’m dead asleep to bite me please.
The very best thing of Callas B&B is the gourmet breakfast. Either Karen or her husband put the breakfast tray outside our door. I have never had a better breakfast. We’re talking fresh-baked breads (croissants, a really big pretzel, etc.), home-made jams (which Karen sells), cheese, ham, apples, along with tea and juice. Everything was of very high quality. There were even two little chocolates for us. I would stay there again just for the breakfast.
When we went down to leave we finally met Karen. She was actually working with a broken foot so the breakfast was even more impressive. She knew we were going to the train station so she called a cab for us. As a parting gift, she gave us two little envelopes of sweets. Now this is what I call service.
Whether you choose the larger Suite or the upstairs Attic, expect a warm welcome, a gourmet breakfast delivered to your door, and the chance to experience Ghent in all its grittiness right outside.