Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III: One of The Prettiest Hotels in Bouillon, Belgium
Sometimes, things go differently as planned. When I planned to visit Bouillon, Belgium, I was dreaming of spending a weekend with long hikes in its forests and exploring its surroundings. Well, what was supposed to be an outdoor weekend trip to Belgium, quickly turned into a cozy, comfy weekend in one of the prettiest hotels in this quaint town: the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III ****.
You probably know that I have a strong “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out). Thus, when a place is able to calm me down and just let me enjoy the present moment, it must have something special! Being special is the least you can say about the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** (located in Bouillon that boasts 300 years of history) which lulls you with a warm-hearted ambiance, and top-notch food.
Get ready for a feel-good weekend in one of the best hotels in Bouillon, Southern Belgium: the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III ****.
Disclaimer: I have been a guest of Hotel de la Poste, Bouillon in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions, as always, are my own. This post contains affiliate links. In case you purchase one of the items, I’ll receive a small commission. The price remains the same for you.
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A Weekend Trip to Belgium
Bouillon, in the Ardennes department of Belgium, has a long-standing history of being one of the main tourist magnets in the region. Its towering fortress, the cute little houses, and the winding Semois river with its fairytale bridges have been luring travelers for several centuries.
Nowadays, the town and its near surroundings are attracting many outdoor and hiking in Belgium lovers due to the excellent trails departing from Bouillon.
With only 6000 inhabitants, Bouillon is small but has a lot of things to be discovered during a weekend trip to Belgium. Somehow, small-sized towns really calm me down because there is no endless bucket-list of things to do or attractions to visit. A weekend getaway in Bouillon is just perfect to explore the town at your own pace.
However, it was my stay at one of the most emblematic hotels in Bouillon which made this weekend trip from Luxembourg absolutely unforgettable and allowed me to regenerate.
Spoiler alert: the cuisine served at the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** is so refined and delicate, that it’s worth considering the location even if you’re just looking for a gastronomic experience or a romantic dinner!
A Family-run Hotel in Bouillon
What is it that makes the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** so special? Is it the 300-year old history encompassing the dining rooms? The extraordinary meal compositions including only seasonal products and the best ingredients from Europe? Maybe the extra-comfy beds manufactured in Poland? Or is it the vibe originated by a family-run hotel, a family that shares a passion for food, a sense for details, and hospitality?
It probably is an intriguing mix of all these factors that makes the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** such a unique place to stay.
When Mr. Bom purchased the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** building almost 40 years ago, it was bankrupt and with a heavy need for renovation. However, Mr. Bom with his unique sense for details and business re-created a gem of a hotel by overhauling it completely without compromising on its historic flair.
It is probably his sense for details and eagerness to get inspired by international hospitality trends that converted the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** into one of the top hotels in the Ardennes, Belgium.
Getting To Bouillon
The most convenient way to visit Bouillon is by car. – Check here the best prices for car rentals.
The closest train station is located at 30 km in Libramont. – Check here train prices and schedules.
The bus line 8 connects Libramont to Bouillon. – Check schedules here.
The Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** is located just across the Liege bridge, the first bridge that was built over the Semois river, thus at only 2 minutes from the city center. It takes less than 20 minutes from the hotel to the castle and it’s the starting point for many hikes in the region.
I guess you don’t want to spend the entire day in the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III ****’s cozy bed (even though it’s a very tempting idea!) and explore Bouillon. So, what makes Bouillon so special to stay an entire weekend?
Also known as the “pearl of the Semois river”, Bouillon is one of the most important tourist attractions in the Belgian province of Luxembourg. The picturesque town lures you with its medieval setting. Indeed, the castle of Bouillon was first mentioned in 988, and still today, it impacts its size and good condition.
In 1082, the Bouillon Castle was inherited by Godfrey of Bouillon, who sold it to the Bishop of Liège in order to finance the first crusade. The castle was later fitted for heavy artillery by Vauban, Louis XIV’s military architect in the late 17th century.
The castle of Bouillon is open to visitors and the entrance fee includes a falcon and owl show. A treasure hunt can be organized upon request. Visiting the Bouillon Castle is definitely a highlight of your weekend break in Bouillon. Schedules and opening times depend on the time of the year you want to visit.
On a city stroll, you’ll also pass along the stronghold of French-Brittany which is part of the remaining ruins of the city fortification. It is a particularly picturesque place located near the river which invites you to sit down for a moment and enjoy the place in all its beauty.
I particularly liked how different each quarter of Bouillon is. There’s the old town, right below the castle which has vast streets, open plazas, and bright colored houses.
Then, right next to it, you’ll find yourself in the Quartier de Bretagne (Brittany Neighbourhood) where soldiers from Brittany used to live. They were in charge of the protection of the town in the 17th century. The houses have a very particular style and it is the perfect place to relax.
Related: Day Trips from Luxembourg
Even though the property is one of the most historical ones (after the castle, probably), the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** has a contemporary, very stylish interior. The contrast and the fusion of historical elements, revamped furniture, and cozy corners make the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** truly unique. The feeling that you’re staying at a place boasting a long history and character, is something that you can’t find in large hotels anymore.
Functioning as a hotel since 1730, the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** hosted personalities such as Napoleon III, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, and even Queen Elisabeth II during the 1940s.
Paired with the vibe of a family-run hotel, where the staff is a well-coordinated team for years, the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** will let you feel like in a refined place that you would love to call your home.
The Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** comes with 60 rooms in 6 different categories ranging from a twin backside to the Grande Suite with Bubble Bath Riverview. All of the rooms are fully renovated and correspond to international standards. So far, I slept in many hotel beds, but the ones from the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** were truly exceptional. Well, they are handcrafted in Poland!
That’s what I mean with Mr. Bom’s sense for details and guest experiences!
Facilities and Service
All the facilities and services offered by the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** have a common purpose: make you feel comfortable and pampered.
The Gastro Bar Bistro is open during the day and the perfect place to enjoy a crafted Belgian beer or a wine of the hotel’s extensive wine card. The Gastro Bar Bistro also offers traditional Belgian meals for lunch and for dinner they have a more elaborate menu card. I really liked the setting of its sophisticated dark interiors and modern decoration elements.
The gastronomic restaurant is the best place to enjoy a fancy dinner in Bouillon. The menu card has several seasonal meals and the preparation is very refined. The presentation of the meals is worth a Michelin star. It’s definitely a place to visit for foodies!
Both the Gastro Bar Bistro and the gastronomic restaurant have lovely panoramic views on the towering castle, the winding Semois river, and the historic town center of Bouillon.
One of my favorite places in the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** was the lounge which is perfect to have an after-dinner cocktail or an aperitive. The historic parquet, in combination with cutting-edge decoration and the revamped furniture, creates a truly unique setting. Here, you can breathe and feel the historic atmosphere of the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III ****.
Within the hotel building, just around the corner, you’ll find BOM Food and Drinks which is managed by the daughter of Mr. Bom. Her sense of style and international cuisine makes BOM Food and Drinks one of the coolest places to hang out in Bouillon.
There are also several rooms that can host your business or private event. I also want to mention that Wi-Fi is working exceptionally well and is complimentary!
The food alone is worth staying at the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III ****! That means that even if you have only limited time to spend in Bouillon, you should definitely stay for dinner or for lunch. I would qualify the cuisine as refined French but at very competitive prices.
Mr. Bom, the manager, is passionate about food and has a long trajectory in the industry that gave him an exceptional sensitivity to find the best products from Europe, meal presentation, and wine.
The ultimate foodie experience lays in the details: asparagus come from Limburg (considered as some of the best in Europe!) meat comes from Luxembourg because that’s where the criteria are the severest, cava comes from Catalonia because of its incredible quality-price relationship, etc. But then still, many meals of the menu card include local ingredients and refined versions of the most typical Belgian food.
During my stay, I had the asparagus from Limburg, Netherlands, also known as the “white gold or pearl of the land”. The preparation was just perfect: firm to the bite, a pronounced taste of asparagus, and a light mousseline sauce. The asparagus of the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** are addictive!
I also went for the gastronomic bistro menu which was a feast for the eyes and palate.
The starter with lime-marinated scallops, grey shrimps, foie gras, and light avocado mayonnaise was a dream! Even though I am not a big fan of lamb, the main course consisting of lamb and seasonal vegetables was to die for. Finally, the fruity dessert with a passion fruit mousse and a raspberry sorbet was the colorful final of an ultimate foodie experience.
Did I mention that they smoke their salmon all by themselves? I highly recommend to try it as a starter!
I also have to do a big shoutout for their breakfast buffet! They have a machine to squeeze fresh orange juice (my breakfasts could consist only of fresh orange juice, basically!) Fresh, thin pancakes, Belgian cheeses, and local spreads will make the breakfast buffet one of the highlights of your day!
The most important sustainable aspect of the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** is that it has been managed by a family for several decades. I am convinced that in times of large monopolies, it’s important to maintain bastions against the uniforming, anonymous corporations.
The Bom family raised the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** to international standards and is continuously looking at how to incorporate the latest trends of the hospitality sector. Thus, the standards are equal to some of the top hotels in Belgium and you’re truly supporting a local, family-run business.
International food like cava, ham or wine is only purchased from small businesses across Europe.
Especially the breakfast buffet is laying a strong focus on regional products. Thus be ready to indulge in Sirop de Liege, Ardennes ham, Belgian cheese, and speculoos spread.
The Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** is one of the most emblematic ones in the region and thanks to its excellent cuisine, it attracts visitors across Belgian borders. That’s how the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** creates value for Bouillon as a tourist destination.
- the bathtub with castle view
- the machine squeezing fresh orange juice at breakfast
- the home-made smoked salmon
- the super extensive tea card
- the finest food from Europe: cava from Catalonia, beer from Belgium, pata negra ham from Spain and asparagus from the Netherlands
Another highlight of the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** is its price structure. Not only is the quality-price relationship unbeatable but on top, they offer a wide range of different rates. That means that you don’t need to ruin your budget if you fancy a weekend getaway from Luxembourg or any other place.
Prices vary from 75 € for a twin backside room to 135 € for the Grande Suite with Bubble Bath Riverview. All the rooms can be combined as half-board or with a gastronomic package. It can thus be considered as one of the top hotels in Bouillon.
There is a wide range of activities that you can do in Bouillon. The town is surrounded by lush forests, thus many visits in order to enjoy its hiking trails. I particularly like this region during spring when all the flowers are blooming and the forests are saturated green.
If you want a medium-difficult hike, I recommend hiking up the Belvedere viewpoint. From here, you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of the forests, the quaint Semois river, and Bouillon‘s old town. You can find the best hiking trails in Bouillon here.
More fun things to do in Bouillon include visiting the castle, the Musée Ducal, and strolling on the flea market on Sundays.
During sunny days, I love to grab a kayak and paddle down the Semois river. Followed by a great Belgian beer at BOM Food and Drinks in Bouillon.
I would visit Bouillon only in order to spend a relaxing weekend at the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** or only in order to enjoy its sophisticated cuisine at unbeatable prices. Bouillon is a gorgeous, quaint town. However, it’s the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** that will make of Bouillon more than a destination for a day trip from Luxembourg.
The historic flair and the family management in combination with avant-garde decoration reflect a personality and flair that you won’t find at any large hotel chain.
Staying at the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** is thus a unique experience, perfect for those who want an authentic and individualized hotel in Bouillon, Belgium.
You can feel the family’s unique sense for the hospitality and gastronomy sector in the smallest details. Indeed, they only take the best products from European small businesses in order to create their extraordinary dishes.
Thus, even if you don’t have the time to spend a night in Bouillon, lunch or dinner in the Gastro Bar Bistro or restaurant is a mandatory foodie experience when in Bouillon.