The rich history of Martin’s Hotels

Discover the history and values behind each of our hotels in Belgium. A heritage and convictions that accompany us in all our new chapters.

The history of Martin's Hotels is above all the reflection of the entrepreneurial spirit of two men: John J. Martin and John Charles Martin. A desire to dare to innovate and to think outside the box in order to share with all our guests the warmth of the family values that have punctuated the entire history of Martin's Hotels. A desire to constantly seek excellence, to go further and further. And to write more and more new pages in our history through our many hotels in Belgium.

Our story: a timeline of Martin's Hotels

1909 :

1909 :

The beginning of the Martin’s Hotels story

John V. B. Martin, a 23-year-old British master brewer, arrives in Antwerp. He imports a version of the famous Irish stout Guinness, created especially for Belgians, as well as Gordon Scotch Ale and the famous Martin's Pale Ale.

1934 :

1934 :

Acquisition of the chateau

John V.B. Martin obtains an exclusive license from Schweppes for the Benelux union and France. This will be the platform from which he launches the now-famous Indian Tonic, converting a former spa resort on the shores of Lac de Genval into a drinks production plant, known colloquially as Château Schweppes.

1966 :

1966 :

The beginning of the Martin’s Hotels story

In 1966, the year of their father’s death, Andrew and John James Martin took over at the helm and kept a steady course as they steered through waters increasingly conducive to business development. From Paris, John J. Martin managed the French subsidiary of Schweppes, whose sales of Indian Tonic were spiralling.

1980 :

1980 :

The birth of the Martin’s Hotels group

The eldest son, John C. Martin, takes charge of the family business and proposes converting Chateau Schweppes – now Martin's Château du Lac – into a 5-star hotel with conference rooms. The Martin's Hotels group was born!

1985 :

1985 :

Inauguration of Château du Lac

John C. Martin marks a new milestone in the history of Martin's Hotels with the inauguration of Château du Lac and its gourmet restaurant, Le Trèfle à 4. Between 1986 and 1998, 84 new rooms, the Argentine salon and a fitness centre are added, completing the transformation of one of the most prestigious hotels in Belgium. In 1998, Château du Lac was awarded a prestigious fifth star and expansion continued to include a total of 122 rooms.

1988 :

1988 :

The Villa du Lac

John C. Martin acquires the Villa du Lac and its magnificent park, both located on the shores of Lac de Genval.

1990 :

1990 :

Development of the Country House Hotel

John C. Martin converts a majestic country house into a 12-room hotel. It is then completely renovated in 2006 before officially becoming the Martin’s Manoir in 2008.

1992 :

1992 :

Opening of the Grand Hotel in Waterloo

The Grand Hotel Waterloo, a 79-room 4-star hotel in a converted sugar store, opens its doors in Waterloo.

2003 :

2003 :

Refurbishment of the Martin’s Klooster 4-star boutique hotel

John C. Martin continues his expansion with the creation of the Martin’s Klooster boutique hotel. It is an intimate property in the heart of Leuven that is extended in 2021 to offer 103 hotel rooms and 3 meeting rooms.

2005 :

2005 :

Acquisition of Martin’s Brugge***sup

The growth of Martin's hotels continues with the acquisition of this 150-room hotel that also has 8 meeting rooms for business guests. In July 2010, the footprint is extended into an adjoining building, whose vaulted cellars date back to the 12th century, providing an additional 27 rooms. In 2017, the meeting rooms are replaced by 20 new rooms. In 2018, most of the rooms are completely renovated, giving guests the choice of 199 rooms in the heart of Bruges.

2007 :

2007 :

Opening of Martin’s Brussels EU ****

John C. Martin now offers hotels in all corners of Belgium with the opening of Martin’s Brussels EU in the heart of the European district. With 100 hotel rooms and 6 meeting rooms, this strategically located address will go on to be renovated in 2016.

2008 :

2008 :

Opening of Martin’s Waterloo ***

The Martin's Hotels story adds a new chapter in Waterloo. This cosy establishment complements and extends the Martin's Grand Hotel, providing 27 additional rooms.

2009 :

2009 :

Breathing new life into old buildings

Our group welcomes two new hotels in different regions of Belgium. In June, John C. Martin embarks on a unique project for the country: the opening of Martin's Patershof, a 4-star hotel located in a church that was deconsecrated in 1999. One month later, our portfolio is further enhanced with Martin's Relais Oud Huis Amsterdam, a unique collection of Bruges-style mansions that date back to the 17th century. This exceptional hotel will go on to be renamed Martin’s Relais in 2012.

2016 :

2016 :

Opening of Martin’s Red ****

This unique offering is dedicated to the Belgian national football team and is located in Tubize at the Proximus Base Camp. Sports lovers are able to enjoy delicious food at the restaurant, The Red's Sports Bar & Grill.

2018 :

2018 :

A year between modernity and tradition

In May, Martin's Hotels takes over the management of a ground-breaking new project developed by Eckelmans Real Estate Group. Martin’s Agora is an exclusive urban complex located in Louvain-la-Neuve that brings together different entities from the group, such as Martin's All Suites, perfect for long-term stays, and Martin's Louvain-la-Neuve, which has a contemporary feel. Guests have plenty to keep them entertained with brasserie B'Comme serving Belgian cuisine with a twist, the inviting ambiance of the Di’Vino wine bar and the superb Martin’s City Spa, with thermal baths, treatments and fitness equipment.

In June, the group expands to include a new hotel in Belgium: Martin's Rentmeesterij in Bilzen (Limburg), which centres on wellbeing thanks in no small part to Martin’Spa, the gourmet restaurant Akko, and brasserie favourite, ‘t Gasthuis in Alden Biesen.

2019 :

2019 :

An evolution that makes you dream

Martin’s Hotels continues to grow its diverse portfolio with the acquisition of Martin’s Dream, a property in the historic heart of Mons. Food lovers are in for a treat at the Bistro Martin restaurant, while all guests can find calm and relaxation behind the doors of the Martin’s Alterego spa.

Different hotels in Belgium, one common standard of quality

The kingfisher logo – a sign of unrivalled hospitality 

It’s no coincidence that John Charles Martin chose the kingfisher as the emblem of his hotel group. Although a possible nod to his surname (kingfisher in French is martin-pêcheur), this beautiful bird also represents the family’s passion for fly-fishing. More importantly, the bird enjoys fishing in clear and unpolluted waters that reflect the group's pledge to operate as sustainably as possible. Darting flight and the ability to catch fish with precision are symbolic of the group’s focus on efficiency. Finally, the kingfisher has a striking natural elegance that can also be found in all Martin’s Hotels in Belgium.

 
 

A family vow of excellence

Our group has been able to safeguard its family values ​​even as the business expanded and times changed. Values ​​that we call upon daily to guarantee a superior experience include loyalty to our customers, attentiveness, warm and sincere contact, authenticity and the simple pleasure of sharing unique moments with our guests.

Values that run through the business

At Martin’s Hotels, family values and business performance align. This is a non-negotiable element that allows us to guarantee you authenticity and efficiency in every aspect of your stay at our hotels in Belgium. Every aspect of your stay demonstrates our commitment to quality and service, from the layout of your room to the preparation of your plate and the care and expertise at our spas.

 
 

The perfect blend of variety and consistency

Our group has grown steadily over the years under the leadership of John C. Martin. Today, the Martin's Hotels brand is proud to offer 14 hotels, 8 restaurants and 4 spas, including the exceptional Martin'Spa in Genval, one of the most beautiful treatment areas in Europe, and the Martin's City Spa in Louvain-la-Neuve. Each of our properties offers unique character, but with the same high quality you would expect from a family owned group built on elegance and precision. Just like the kingfisher.

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