Hotel de Flandre, located in the city centre, consists of two coach houses, both of which have five floors.
These buildings date from the early nineteenth century and, as far as we can tell, have served as a hotel since their existence. As a result, some of the original details from this era have remained in honour and many of the authentic elements are still present in most of the rooms that the hotel houses.
A beautiful example is the entrance hall. At the beginning of the 1800's, this offered access to the merchants who arrived by horse and cart. The rooms on the ground floor overlooking the courtyard were once stables.
Another feature of this period is the plastered facade of this beautiful building, which has been well preserved and restored with great care. The Hotel de Flandre has eight bays with four and a half storeys, and has a decorated frieze with ornaments at the top. The entrance to the building is a gate.
Throughout its illustrious history, the hotel has welcomed many celebrities and important guests. The suite, for example, was once home to the Austrian composer Joseph Strauss, who stayed in Ghent during performances of his music in 1838. Other famous hotel guests include the remarkable French writers Chateaubriand and Lamartine, members of the entourage of King Louis XVIII's Baron Louis, Count de Beugnot, and Bertin de Vaux, director of the 'Journal Universel'.
In 1815, the Hotel de Flandre housed the famous writer Chateaubriand (even Minister at the time), Baron Louis, Count de Beugnot and Bertin de Vaux, director of Le Journal Universel. They were part of the entourage of the French King Louis XVIII when, during the 'Hundred Days', he was on the run from Napoleon, who had returned from Elba.
Johann Strauss's father (1804-1849) also stayed here during his concert tour of 1838 on 21.23 and probably on 25 March.
The neo-classical building, which once housed the 'Hôtel de Flandre', now houses the new 'Hotel de Flandre'.
Just an anecdotal fact. After the first train arrived there in 1837, there was a service of omnibuses at the South Station of Ghent, actually carriages pulled by horses. They could each transport about ten passengers from the station to the hotels situated in the city. There was fierce competition between these omnibuses to attract as many passengers as possible. Of the 15 omnibuses that provided this service, five remained after a good year and after ten years after the arrival of the first train, two were still in service; one for the Hôtel de Flandre and one for the Hôtel de Courtrai, both located in the Poel/Drabstraat. A few years later those carriages disappeared as well.