It might strike some people as an almighty sin. But a 19th-century Franciscan church in Mechelen has been turned into a stylish hotel.
When it opened in 2009, Martin’s Paterhof was the first church in Belgium to occupy a former church. Its 79 unique rooms incorporate original details such as Neo-Gothic arches, stone columns and stained glass windows. Hotel guest sit down to a buffet breakfast next to the altar.
In 2015, the Belgian singer Stromae booked the entire hotel for a secret wedding. He married his stylist Coralie Barbier in a simple ceremony inside the former church. The guests were asked not to take any photos, so there is not much to see on social media.
Room 528, where the couple spent the night, is a beautiful space with a Neo-Gothic vaulted roof and stained glass windows. It has become a favourite with social media influencers and romantic couples who can afford the price tag.
Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.