Filips de Schone suite at Kempinski Dukes' Palace
The lowdown Located smack-bang in the centre of historic Bruges (a Unesco World Heritage site), the Kempinski Hotel Dukes' Palace is perfectly placed for exploring the stunning medieval sights the city has to offer (the 15th century Belfry in the central Market Square is a highlight). But it's not just the location that'll blow you away: this hotel, with its first five-star accommodation, is stunning, majestic even. It was formerly a royal residence and its grandeur – from the front cobblestone courtyard to the architecture and plush décor – is still in full swing today.
Drinking and dining Even though you'll be eating what Bruges is most famous for – world-class beer and chocolate – on an hourly basis, make sure to leave room to enjoy the hotel's fabulous food. The Manuscript restaurant is where you'll enjoy a delicious breakfast (from eggs benedict to fresh-from-the-oven pain au chocolat), light lunch or fine dining dinner (think gently cooked fillet of venison, celeriac ravioli, cream of beetroot and crispy almonds, followed by mascapone mousse flavoured with Pedro Ximinez, chocolate sherbet and pistachio biscuit). Lip-smackingly good. Not only is the food sublime, but the fact the restaurant is housed in the 15th century former palace, and the walls dotted with contemporary oil paintings, only adds to the elegance of the experience. And don't forget to pop in to Bar Atelier to sip on bubbly before you head out. Softly-lit paintbrushes change colour to create ambience, and there's a brilliant terrace leading out in to manicured gardens, where you can watch the sun set in style.
Pamper time After a day of walking around Bruges' winding canals (it's not known as the Venice of the north for nothing), you'll be in need of a little rest and relaxation. Cue the gorgeous hotel spa. The treatment list is extensive – from hot stone massages to feel-good facials using ocean-based Thalgo products. Or simply chill out in the sauna or indoor swimming pool, where you can admire the feature mosaic and bamboo wall.