1898 The Post, Ghent

For our first trip abroad as a family of four I wanted something charming but accessible… 1898 The Post is a boutique hotel that has been on my radar for a while, a beautiful 38 room accommodation located in the centre of Ghent in Belgium. Just a few hours away from London (via Eurostar and a local train connection) this destination is perfect for a short 2-3 day trip and is small enough to explore entirely by foot.

1898 The Post

We arrived late morning on a Thursday and though the entrance was a little tricky to navigate, once inside the staff were swift with our check-in and took us immediately to our room, despite us being several hours earlier than planned.

1898 The Post inhabits a small part of an impressive neo-Gothic building which was once Ghent’s head post office. The exterior has fairytale turrets and a decorative facade, while the interiors is blessed with tall windows and historic details. The hotel emphasises the charm further with its postal themed rooms and furnishings.

1898 The Post

Choose from various room types – the smallest is ‘A Stamp’ the largest 8 rooms are each uniquely arranged suites. We were very comfortable in a split level ‘Letter’ room with magnificent tall windows and a very high ceiling. The room is dark in decor which gives the perfect cosy feel in winter, and we were very grateful to have this warm hideaway when the weather turned torrential outside!

1898 The Post

The King size bed was blissfully comfortable, and other facilities included an antique writing desk, marble-clad bathroom with walk in shower upstairs and a small toilet. Free WiFi, flatscreen TV, stocked minibar, free bottled water, Nespresso coffee machine and Guerlain toiletries ensured all our needs were met.

1898 The Post1898 The Post

Though the common spaces are small at 1898 they are certainly well looked after and well loved (both with staying guests and visitors). A small honesty bar area is ideal for a quiet evening nightcap with a book… Or you can head to the main bar area which becomes The Cobbler at night. This cocktail bar is known to be one of the best in the city, with a succinct but award-winning menu. We had a lovely evening here listening to vintage jazz and sipping on strong, tasty drinks.

1898 The Post

Breakfast is also served in this room, which overlooks the city square. A high quality buffet offers fruit, pastries, meats and cheese, yoghurt and cereal and much more. On our second morning we ordered omelettes from the hot kitchen, they were absolutely delicious and set us up for a day of exploring in the cold winter weather! There was also plenty to feed our 2 year old son, who delighted in the mini cereal boxes and fresh orange juice.

Just a few train journey from London I found Ghent to be the perfect weekend destination. And if you do decide to visit Belgium for a longer trip, Brussels, Antwerp and Bruges are all under an hour by train from Ghent, so you can devise a full Belgian itinerary!

More information and book a room at 1898 The Post here.

I was a guest of the hotel.

A Stay at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

The iconic St Pancras Renaissance Hotel could not be any more ideal for a pre-Eurostar trip. With its comfortable rooms, great food, and side entrance within St Pancras International station, it takes all the stress and effort out of the night before or after a European train trip.

Renaissance St Pancras

This January, ahead an early-morning trip to Ghent in Belgium, I spent an evening enjoying cocktails and food in the Booking Office, before spending the night in a cosy room on the 7th floor of the hotel.

Booking Office

To kick-off our stay, we enjoyed inventive twists on classic cocktails with two of the Booking Office’s signatures; a balanced, sweet and smooth Beekeeper (featuring Glenmorangie whisky, almond & rose honey, and apricot liqueur), and an Ol’ Signalman (a nutty take on an Old Fashioned, made with pecan nut infused bourbon).

Renaissance St Pancras

We followed this with a fight-worthy sharing portion of fried chicken, the Booking Office burger and a portion of Rum & Raisin profiteroles. Whether you are staying at the hotel or not this centrally located eatery is brilliant for a drink or meal. The atmosphere is buzzy and the dining room itself is very impressive, thanks to the redesign by Parisian architect and designer Hugo Toro.

Renaissance St Pancras

Our room, 717, was perfectly pleasant but not as luxurious as the room I stayed in last time I visited. With no view of the kissing statue on the Eurostar platform, and a smaller bedroom space, it was still a nice place to spend the night (and had enough room for a camp bed on the floor for my eldest son), but lacked the excitement and indulgence of other 5* rooms. The bathroom was petite but well appointed with a bath-shower and plenty of soft towels. We slept well and woke up feeling refreshed and ready for adventure!

Renaissance St Pancras

Bright and early, we popped down for breakfast ahead of a relaxed 2-minute stroll (out of the side entrance) to the Eurostar terminal. A great start to our trip to Belgium, I’d recommend a stay here ahead of any early Eurostar journey!

More information and book a stay here.

I was a guest of the hotel.

10 Scented Candles for Christmas

Whether you are looking for a candle to scent your home ahead of festive entertaining or the perfect gift, this list has been carefully compiled to ensure there is something for every occasion. From beautiful vessels to magical perfumes, my top ten scented candles includes some classic favourites to some more unique new releases.

Acqua di Parma, Panettone – I’m not sure what I love more about this candle, the beautiful yellow marbled design or the brilliantly festive smell of panettone. It’s a warm and sweet scent with the flavours of candied fruit and sugary brioche coming through. I adore Panettone, and I’ve often thought it should be enjoyed year round, this candle will keep the memory of this Christmas baked treat alive long after 25th December.

Ginori 1735, Centauro Palazzo – This stylish candle is a collaboration between British designer Luke Edward Hall and Ginori 1735. Together they have created an array of scents to capture the spirit of some of his favourite destinations. This candle is inspired by the Palazzo Centauro in Venice and the smell of incense you experience when walking past the city’s open church doors, I adore it.

Skandinavisk, Takka and Nordlys – Evoking memories of magical winter nights this duo of smaller 90g candles make the perfect stocking fillers (especially as they are priced at £25 each). Takka is finnish for ‘fireplace’ whereas Nordlys means Northern lights and has an artic intensity.

Diptyque, Neige – Diptyque are surely the queen of scented candles and every year they bring out a wonderful winter collection for the holiday season. This year Neige is my favourite, a limited edition scent which combines soft hues of heliotrope and powdery white musk.

Vilshenko, Autumn – The award for most charming candle goes to Vilshenko who have brought out a collection of Matryoshka doll candles, each in a different colour and scent. The Autumn is a cosy combination of blackberry, nutmeg and patchouli paired with the uplifting freshness of jasmine, bergamot and plum.

Never Go Alone, Sandstone – This is the ideal gift for the candle lover that has them all, from the brand new company Never go Alone. Sandstone is a calming, soothing smell with dominant flavours of cardamon and sandalwood. The candle itself is in a lovely heavy glass casing which makes it feel even more luxurious.

Henry’s Townhouse, Saturnalia – From the ultra boutique hotel, Henry’s Townhouse in Marylebone, comes this sophisticated candle. They have worked with a top French perfumer to create a scent that perfectly captures the concept of the hotel with fiery notes of ginger, orange, vanilla and cinnamon. Saturnalia feels like the perfect scent for Christmas.

Overose, Pain au Chocolat – The perfect gift for all pastry lovers… I have the viennoiserie trio – croissant, pain au chocolat and croissant aux amandes, you can also now get macaron pistache and cinnamon roll! Light it on Christmas morning to bring the smell of French bakeries into your home.

Boy Smells, Gardener – For something a bit fresher (I love this candle in bathrooms or even the kitchen) the Boy Smells Gardener has a lovely combination of citrus groves and honeysuckle, with notes of orange tree and tomato leaf. Priced at £42 it makes a lovely and luxurious present for friends and family.

Paul Smith, 1kg Botanist – This epic 1kg candle is a seriously special candle. Inspired by the clean-cut tailoring at Paul’s first Nottingham shop, the Botanist evokes freshly-cut grass and greenery, and contains notes of Haitian vetiver, moss and lemon. There are some other lovely scents in the range, each housed in a different coloured glass duo.

Post includes some press gifts / samples.