Formerly known as the Château de la Poste or the Château de Ronchinne, the Domaine de Ronchinne was the home of Prince Victor Napoleon and Princess Clementine of Belgium.
Today, it is a hotel. Since 2006, it has belonged to a few friends/partners who have developed a hotel with 81 rooms. And the term "château" has disappeared from the name. "Because it was a bit annoying. It sounded too bling-bling or princess-like,” says Laurent Marée, the general manager of the estate or rather the "guardian of authenticity”, as he likes to address himself.
One of the most beautiful countrysides in Wallonia
"We're not interested in the ‘fussy' side of things. We're relaxed here. Nevertheless, considering the facilities, there is really everything you could want in a five-star hotel. But the service is not that. Neither is the price, for that matter. Our philosophy is rather to be a three-star hotel in the countryside,” he says.
The countryside in the Crupet valley (between Namur and Ciney) is one of the most beautiful in Wallonia and a 42-hectare park surrounds the castle.
However, when this 19th century building was renovated at the end of the 2000s, "in order to maintain the heritage and keep its soul, while adding a touch of modernity", this famous park was forgotten for a while. "And then the question arose of using it to cultivate our difference. To create an experience."
This is how the first unusual hotel appeared in Ronchinne. "And this was in 2010, well before it became fashionable,” says Laurent Marée.
Sleep under the stars in the middle of nature
Today, there are ten “rooms” scattered throughout the park, in the shadow of the castle.
The bivouac: A cowboy-style bivouac in the forest, where you sleep (in pairs) in wagons grouped in a circle. It can accommodate ten people.
The pheasantries: Three small houses where peacocks and pheasants used to be raised. Nowadays, they sit in the middle of the vineyards and the orchard, with a view of the castle.
The perched hut: Made of wood, it is perched in a tree, while offering a view of the forest, the castle and the vineyard. With a double bed and a bunk bed, it is ideal for a family of four.
The Loft Cube: A creation of German designer Werner Aisslinger. "The latter expresses his vision of the nomadic habitat of tomorrow", with a cube that can be placed wherever you want. In this case, in the beautiful Namur countryside.
Prices range between €175 and €320
The carillon: A room fitted out in the old carillon, with beams, bells and a clock forming an inevitably surprising decor.
The hut: A sort of wooden igloo, it is enclosed in the wellness area. As a result, when these facilities are closed to the public, from 9pm to 10am, access to the Nordic bath and sauna is reserved for you alone.
La belle étoile: A rather unique experience. A large bed is placed in the middle of nature, under the rhododendrons. You can sleep under the stars. Of course, in case of bad weather, a room inside the hotel is also reserved.
The budget family room: A children's dormitory for eight people. But with a bit more luxury than the summer camps of your childhood. Here, you will be entitled to very good beds and mattresses.
In terms of prices, they vary from season to season and depending on the accommodation you choose. But you can expect to pay between €175 and €320, depending on the type of experience you choose. The most popular rooms can be booked in advance for three months.
For more information: https://www.domainederonchinne.be/
This article was originally published in Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.