We woke up in a church this morning.

Hallelujah!

Sleeping in a Neo-Gothic Church

When we got the new Bongo ‘Castles and Historic Hotels’ we immediately decided to stay at Martin’s Patershof, a church which has been turned into a hotel. We were a little disappointed to see that the original church interior and elements are gone and have been replaced by kitschy furniture. Luckily, they left the glass windows in place which adds to the experience. I can’t say that waking up and staring into the eyes of an angel isn’t special. Oh and they serve a champagne breakfast. There wasn’t a more heavenly way to start our day.

Martin's Patershof

Art at the Monastery

So off to the former monastery which is now the Cultural Centre for the moving image biennale, Contour 7. We recommend you see the short movie Lilli which tells the story behind the China Girl.
Try to visit Het Hof van Busleyden, the St. Rumbold’s Tower and the vlietenkelder, an underground corridor complex which served as an air-raid shelter during the Second World War too.

Hof van Busleyden Mechelen

Kim and San at Hof van Busleyden Mechelen

Vlietenkelder Mechelen

Il Cardinale

Thank god for burgers. And this burger place. Because the burgers at Il Cardinale include juicy meat and unusual dressings such as spinach pesto and tzatziki. And the details here are just spot on. From the burger names – Mary had a little lamb and The Godfather – to the novena candles, the Mother Mary statues on the wall and the cheque.

Il Cardinale Burger bar Mechelen

Il Cardinale Mechelen

Divine hotspots

Bar Marie

Bar Marie is a media bar owned by Sanoma Magazines. It’s the perfect bar for business meetings, chilling out in a comfy interior, healthy lunches or spotting Belgian actors.

Bar Marie Mechelen

Als ik mijn ogen toe doe ben ik in Honoloeloe

Honoloeloe is a quirky place which serves lunch and beer from local breweries. They perfectly combine a cosy grandma atmosphere with a modern twist. Think sandwiches with meatballs and mustard combined in a wooden interior with designer chairs and fun little details.

Als ik mijn ogen toe doe ben ik in Honoloeloe Mechelen

Als ik mijn ogen toe doe ben ik Honoloeloe

Shop till you drop

I totally fell in love with Mechelen because it has so many cool shops. There’s My ex Boyfriend, a designer store who sell vintage furniture and decorations. For cute jewelry go to Simple comme bonjour. And if you are looking for something sweet go to Zoet, the smallest shop in Mechelen who sell all kinds of colorful candy.

design items

Simple comme Bonjour Mechelen

design store

Zoet store mechelen

We’ll definitely return to Mechelen so if you have got more tips, drop them in the comments!