From commercial buildings to luxury hotel
Martin’s Relais comprises five exquisite houses on the bank of the Spiegelrei, Bruges’ oldest harbour. The hotel stands witness to the city’s glorious past.
In the 13th century, the five patrician homes belonged to state agents-hoteliers. They granted permission to foreign merchants to conduct business in Bruges; and they also offered them these dwellings as lodging for their stay in the city. So, the houses functioned as a residence, tavern, factory and storage space.
At the end of the Middle Ages, the central building of Martin’s hotel was called "Oud Huis Amsterdam" after the flourishing Dutch merchant city of that time. In the 16th century, the city alderman Jan de Boodt lived in the house next door – from whence the name "Den grooten Boodt". "Ten Duinenezel" and "Witte Monnik" served as a place of refuge in wartime and as the factory of the Cistercian abbey Ter Duinen. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, the houses changed owner frequently. Various merchants took up residence in them and traded in textiles, tapestries, wines and colonial wares. In the 18th century, the houses were rebuilt and adorned with the typical Bruges stepped-gable, two bull’s-eye windows, and a high round-arch door. Absolutely superb!
The houses in which Martin’s Relais is incorporated have evolved with the 700 years of Bruges’ history. Today, they stand witness to the city’s international merchant past – a past that was intimately connected with its harbor activities. Your visit to Bruges begins here.
Bruges, The Venice of the North
The Venice of the North is an architectural gem in Europe. Every history- and culture-loving soul should see this jewel! Let yourself be transported into raptures by the charm of this mediaeval city. Both young and old will be in their element here.
The marvelous canals testify to a strong economic past. The protected buildings are listed as UNESCO World Heritage monuments. But the city also offers beautifully laid-out gardens, old carriages and local artisans. In Bruges, you take a journey through time. Martin's Relais is the ideal home base from which to discover the major historical sites – ranging from the belfry and the beguinage to the herb garden and the nation houses. Bruges is a city for exploring hand-in-hand. But the many museums are well worth a visit too – whether they’re displaying the art of the Flemish Primitives, the local handicrafts, or the mediaeval town plan.
In addition, The Venice of the North offers everything that you expect from a modern and dynamic city. You’ll find innumerable businesses, beer cafés, restaurants, jazz clubs, music festivals, a golf course … and even the beach! Bruges is just 15 km from the Belgian coast.Local sights of special interest around Martin's Relais