There are hotels you stay at, just to sleep and there are hotels you stay at, to experience them. The Chateau Saint Gerlach Country Estate is one those.
Nested in a natural reserve which hosts the cutest Galloway cows and the Polish Konik horses, the estate is composed of several exquisite buildings which have been refurbished with elegance and taste, while preserving their origins. The surrounding park is adorned by modern sculptures which transform it into a outdoor museum. Everywhere you turn, there is something that will attract your eyes. And everywhere you will want to stop and admire the view and passion which transpire from the attention to details that has been put into creating such a place.
The St Gerlach Hotel
The main building in the estate is the red building pictured below which was, in 1759, built to host farm animals and store harvests. It has been beautifully renovated and decorated as you will see in the following pictures. It now is the main part of the hotel where the reception is located and where you will have breakfast in the Garden Pavillon.
The next most important building is the Chateau which now hosts the restaurants and salons. The cuisine served in the restaurant is as refined as the decor and the picture below doesn’t do justice to the delicatesse of the 5 courses menu which was served to us… despite our culinary requirements! A challenge the chef faced with incredible talent!
Behind the restaurant, lies the Cours d’Honneur which was the former cloister of the convent.
The above picture was taken in day time, but the magic truly happens in the evening, when candles are flickering and every details are brought to life and shadows dance on the surrounding walls.
OK, I just loved this doggy bar too much to not show you!!
The spa and swimming pool is just a few meters away as well as the apartments created in the former farm. They offer a view on the vegetable garden, the orchard and the rest of the park.
The Galloway cows and the Konik horses
The St. Gerlach Sanctuary
The whole Saint Gerlach estate is pure beauty but what truly makes it amazing is the Sanctuary!
As you walk into this church, nothing could ever prepare you to see such baroque beauty in such a place, not even the small video below!
Saint Gerlach was a 12th century knight who became an hermit after returning from his pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He took up residence in a hollow oak tree on his former residence, where the convent would be created after his death. The frescoes of the church retrace his story. From the entrance, walk counter clockwise and follow his path.
As you can see in the video, the memorial tomb of St. Gerlach lies above sacred sand and you are invited to take some home.
Next to the sanctuary, there is also a chapel where you can go to meditate, pray or just admire the mosaic mural by Irene van Vlijmen.
You should tour the whole cloister including the treasury as it displays some interesting pieces including the below reliquary bust of Saint Gerlach which dates from 1704.
The technical bits:
The official website: Chateau St. Gerlach
I can not recommend you enough, to experience the Chateau St. Gerlach for yourself. Everything about it is perfectly charming. The staff is amazing. The cuisine, the spa, the decor and every details made our stay relaxing and yet interesting. Even the bed was a treat!
I have a true admiration for what Camille Oostwegel, the owner, has made of Chateau St. Gerlach as well as the Kruisherenhotel, located in Maastricht (another must see). It says on the official website linked above, that Mr Oostwegel has a passion for history, culture and gastronomy. I can only concur and add that he not only has impeccable taste, he also has true love and respect, for both the past & the present, as well as for his guests. I am also greatly thankful to people like him who dedicate their lives to bringing back to life historical places in such a delightful manner, while giving them to others to enjoy.
Chateau Saint Gerlach is conveniently located just a few kilometers from Maastricht. From the Chateau you can also walk across the Ingendael Natural reserve, and reach Valkenburg, a surprising little town, with a castle and some caves… I will take you there next!