Burj Al Arab – Dubai

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Hotelchain: Jumeirah
Location: Dubai – UAE
Classification: 5 star hotel deluxe (some say world’s only 7 star hotel)
Official websitehttp://www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/dubai/burj-al-arab/

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Internationally renowned as world’s most luxurious hotel, I had the opportunity to experience the famous Burj Al Arab in Dubai. It is located on a man-made island, 280 meters from the Jumeirah beach. It is the flagship of the Jumeirah hotel group.  Only hotel guests (or guests with a reservation in one of the restaurants) can enter the hotel, so there is no sightseeing here.  This is a good thing, as I saw a number of people at the front gate taking pictures of the hotel.

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Location

Located at Jumeirah beach, Burj Al Arab is located between Dubai Marina and Business Bay. There’s a holiday vibe around the area.

When I approached the entrance, I was impressed with the height of the hotel… 321 meters above sea level… Trust me, it is HUGE!  As soon as you enter the Burj Al Arab, you will enter in a completely different world.  I truly was blown away… Gold everywhere.  It is reportedly the only 7 star hotel in the world and I can easily understand why.  After taking the escalator — with a huge aquarium – you can look up 200 meters. A lot of looking up!  Did you know that the Statue of Liberty would fit inside?  Also, there are dancing fountains all over the place with tons of different programs, so you’ll never get bored when watching!

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The suites

There are no rooms in the Burj al Arab, only suites. Starting at 170m² (1,829 sq. ft.), all of the rooms are duplex suites, each with the highest level of comfort one could wish for.  The Burj has 1600 staff members looking over “only” 202 suites.  So that’s… eight members for each suite? Yep! There is a private check-in and butler service for each suite. No waiting times here at the reception. They explain everything you need to know and will do anything you ask — like making reservations in one of the restaurants, booking day trips to the city, making sure you will get the dessert you want, etc.

Every suite in the Burj Al Arab is beautifully decorated. Although the hotel opened back in 1999, the suites look very up to date and brand new. From the marble entrance with large staircase to the oversized living rooms, you will feel like a king or queen while walking around. They have the world’s most expensive mattresses, which can be adapted to customer needs and preferences. These things are making this hotel truly unique; returning guests are assured they will have a wonderful night.

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The bathrooms are huge — they used Italian marble – and you will be so relaxed after spending some time in the oversized jacuzzi.  Oh, a great thing: did you know that Hermès produced a special edition of perfume for the Burj Al Arab?  That is right, full-size Hermès Burj Al Arab amenities (female + male) are offered to guests at no additional charge. Of course, you could take them home as a souvenir.

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Spa facilities

A full spa – the Talise Spa – is located on one of the top floors. I was not able to take pictures of the spa area, but there is an indoor pool, jacuzzi, fitness, etc. Several treatments are offered and after a relaxing massage you can relax in the spa resting area, accessible for guests only, of course. From there, you can look straight down (200 meters!) to the ground level. Very impressive and not recommended when afraid of heights 🙂

Spa treatments are excellent! They exactly know how to make you feel at ease and so relaxed. Just tell them which pressure you prefer and you will enjoy every single minute. The soft music all over the place made it even more relaxing.

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There is also an outdoor pool area — and the Burj has its own beach across the bridge. The recently opened Terrace is stunning! For water fun, there is complimentary access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark, which is located across the bridge.

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The famous Burj Al Arab hotel is one of Dubai’s highlights and one of world’s best hotels… The hotel’s immaculate reputation is well earned and you will be impressed with every aspect of your stay!

Four Seasons Des Bergues

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Hotelchain: Four Seasons
Location: Geneva – Switzerland
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websitefourseasons.com/geneva

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Located in the center of beautiful Geneva, Four Seasons hotel des Bergues is an ultra luxurious five star hotel decorated by the renowned architect Pierre-Yves Rochon. The hotel was built back in 1834 and is still one of the best hotels Geneva has to offer! Four Seasons is famous for their amazing flowers and interior designs. As soon as you enter the hotel, you will enter a place with eye for attention and details.

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With ‘only’ 115 rooms, this is not a very large hotel and that’s why they are able to provide a personal service to their guests. Right upon arrival, guests are pampered… nothing is asked for too much, really.

Each room is elegant and decorated with high quality materials. In a hotel like this, they really should keep the tradition of the old days. I liked the ‘old fashioned’ themed rooms. With plush king sized beds and the most comfortable sitting areas, you can in room all day long!

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Marble bathrooms are nice and feature oversized bathtubs and walk-in showers. Bulgari toiletries are offered and most of you know that those are my number one toiletries! 🙂

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One of the highlights at Four Seasons hotel Des Bergues is the rooftop spa with heated pool, sauna, steam rooms, etc. In most hotels spa areas are located on one of the lower floors, but here you are able to see the city while relaxing! I was surprised that the area has a totally different styling comparing to the rest of the hotel. It has a contemporary modern feeling which I loved very much! The adjoining fitness center has the most comfortable equipment one could wish for. Several body treatments are available. Trust me, this is the best place to relax and unwind after a day exploring the city!

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Four Seasons hotel Des Bergues has three restaurants. Their signature restaurant Il Lago has been awarded with one Michelin star and the food here truly is outstanding! We thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful dinner here. We were lucky it was the white truffle season which was served with fresh tagliolini pasta. It was just delicious, as was the whole dinner experience. From the roasted scampi, the swordfish carpaccio and squids to the glazed goat kid with green apple, verbena and lemon sauce. It all was heavenly. The head chef definitely knows how to combine ingredients and flavors. Il Lago deserves its good reputation! Make sure to book your table on time, as it always seems to be pretty busy here.

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Le Bar des Bergues offers inventive and delicious cocktails as well as an all-day dining menu. Again, food is outstanding and we thoroughly enjoyed lunch here. Do not forget to try one of the delicious desserts! They are to die for!

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The rooftop of Four Seasons des Bergues is fantastic and offers picture perfect views over Geneva!

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Four Seasons des Bergues is an exceptional five star hotel with an impeccable service – as a Four Seasons hotel should be! Guests are treated as royalty here without being over the top. Every staff member I met was friendly and greeted us with a smile! Highly recommended for a luxurious getaway in Geneva!

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

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Hotelchain: Mandarin Oriental
Location: Bangkok – Thailand
Classification: 5 star hotel
Official websitemandarinoriental.com/bangkok

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The famous Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is the flagship of the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Group. The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok was the first hotel in Thailand and is more than 140 years old, it was built in 1876. Today it is still one of world’s best hotels. Actually, it has been rated as world’s best hotel for 10 years and I can easily understand why. I was so fortunate to stay here and truly was and still am blown away by the service and comfort they provide.

Location

You can’t beat the location, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is located right next to the Chao Phraya River and the most popular tourist sites are nearby. The public boat will take you to the Grand Palace in just about 15 minutes.

This ultra-luxurious five star hotel offers 324 rooms and 44 suites, a world-class spa and several high end restaurants which I will tell you more about later.

As soon as I entered this palace, I noticed the attention to details. The way they combined the elegant Thai style with seductive modern touches is just wonderful. Mandarin Oriental hotels are known for their hospitality and service. Several staff members actually remembered my name. Those are small things, but they make a world difference. Every single staff member I met, greeted me with a smile and took care of every request in a very kind and professional way. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a traditional Thai flower hand garland.

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Rooms/suites

We stayed in a deluxe room and luxurious it definitely was. They decorated the rooms in a very elegant and very classy way. The leather couch was great for watching television. I could have spent here all day long 🙂 The view over the river and Bangkok’s surroundings was great. I watched the long tail boats floating by while enjoying some drinks. This is what a perfect hotel room looks like. Even the marble bathroom was an eye catcher featuring a separate bath tub and walk-in shower. The silk bathrobes were amazing. Another feature I appreciated very much was the in-room interactive entertainment system which allows iPod/MP3 integration. The high quality audio system was of a very good quality. All rooms at the Mandarin Oriental come with Butler Service, always a bonus! Did you know that the Mandarin Oriental has one of the highest staff to guest room ratio in the entire hotel industry (3 staff per guest room)!

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The recently redecorated rooms at the Author’s Wing are very stylish and the Royal Suite which I visited was the best and most luxurious suite I have ever seen, hands down!

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Restaurants/bars

At night we had dinner at Sala Rim Naam offering an authentic Thai cuisine, but first we had some cocktails at the Bamboo bar. It was pretty hard to choose from the extensive cocktail menu but the very knowledgeable bartender gave us some good recommendations.   While we were enjoying the delicious Thai food (I LOVE Thai food!), we were enjoying a classical Thai dance show. We were in Bangkok for just a few days and this was the perfect evening to experience the true Thai tradition and hospitality. I thoroughly likes the Mussamun Nuea, the southern style beef curry with sweet potato and onion. The menu was prepared in an excellent way and service was top notch! Although there’s a smart casual dress code where they kindly request guests to wear elegant attire, the atmosphere was very relaxed and easy going.

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Pool area

The next morning I started my day with a swim in the stunning pool. There are two pools, a wading pool which is perfect for leisure and a 25 metre long pool which is ideal for swimming laps. As soon as I approached the pool area, staff member greeted me and gave me some plush towels and some water. Although the Mandarin Oriental is right in the middle of Bangkok, it felt like a hidden gem here. It was so quiet here… fantastic way to start my day! Beside the pools, a full fitness center is available 24 hrs. They offer complimentary fitness classes… After your work out you can relax in the sauna, steam room or jacuzzi. And if you are into tennis and/or squash, the Mandarin Oriental has two outdoor tennis courts and one squash court.

Spa facilities

If you just want to relax make sure you visit the Spa facilities which are located in a separate building across the river. The spa of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is one of Asia’s leading spa center offering several beautifully decorated treatment rooms and steam facilities. They even have a few ‘specialty suites’ for couples with private steam showers and vitality pools.

I enjoyed a after-jet-lag treatment and absolutely loved it! After selecting my favorite scent I felt so relaxed and almost fell asleep which is a huge compliment. Just take a look at their spa menu as they offer several kind of treatments.

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Then it was time for breakfast! Breakfast is served at the Riverside Terrace and believe me, having breakfast here with such a stunning view is just awesome! Quality of the food was outstanding! The riverside terrace offers stunning views. I enjoyed the long tail boats passing by. Service was great, never was asked for too much. Do try their home made yoghurt and pastries!

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No wonder the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is well known for its service and overall facilities! The high reputation is well deserved and I can easily understand why this hotel is one of world’s leading hotels! From the personal printed writing paper with your name on it to the fresh flowers all over the room… The Thai hospitality is amazing and I can’t say enough good things about this hotel! Six stars all the way!

Svilla Turnhout

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Location: Turnhout
Classification: Luxurious guesthouse
Official websitesvilla.be

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Situated in Turnhout, Svilla is one of a kind! This ultra luxurious guesthouse has it all: from the most accommodating and charming host to the most impressive designer elements. The location is great as you are within walking distance of the most important and interesting sights of Turnhout. The small hotel is near a beautiful park which is ideal for walking. Be sure to walk along the main road and visit some local shops and bars. It is such a nice village!

Entering Svilla feels like entering a small paradise. It is so quiet and peaceful here. Staff made sure we felt welcome right from the beginning. There’s a lot to see here, it felt like behind every corner, a new surprise is waiting for you. The open reception area is very nicely decorated with some interesting art work and the most comfortable couch. The Christmas decoration was a great touch. Check-in was very efficient and our keys were handed in just seconds. A welcome drink was offered which is always a bonus!

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We stayed in the Marble Suite, a gorgeous design suite which is decorated with great taste. The king sized bed was very comfortable and bed linen were ultra soft, loved it! The small couch was great for reading a book and the small working desk was perfect to do some work.

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The best thing about this suite is the enormous marble bathroom with free standing bath tub and oversized shower. The floor to ceiling windows offers stunning panoramic views over the surrounding areas.

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Svilla has a total of 11 rooms and one apartment. Each decorated in a very stylish, contemporary way!

I can imagine that during summer time it is great to hang out around the pool and enjoy the nice area. Kindly note that children under 12 are not allowed at Svilla which guarantees a peaceful stay.

Breakfast is always included at Svilla and there’s a huge buffet waiting for the guests each morning. From the yoghurts to the Belgian chocolats, everything tasted excellent and was of a great quality. By the way, this whole place is maintained in an excellent way! I couldn’t find any dirty spot here!

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Svilla is one of the most luxurious guesthouses I have stayed at. I particularly loved the great hospitality and the gorgeous marble bathroom. All I can say is, try it out yourself and I promise you will be impressed as well!

Hotel Sablon – Bruges

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Location: Bruges – Belgium
Classification: 4 star hotel
Official websitehotelsablon.be

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We all know Bruges has many luxury hotels. Many of them in the traditional style of Bruges. Hotel Sablon is somehow different. Hotel Sablon has been operated as a hotel since 1597. It actually was the first hotel in Bruges and still is operating as a hotel today. I had high expectations, but still was totally blown away by this property. Having stayed at many high end properties in Bruges, this hotel was beyond words and I can’t say enough good things about this place.

First of all, the location is amazing. Right in the city center of Bruges and within walking distance to the major attractions of this beautiful city. Still you are in a private boutique hotel with all the luxury amenities one could wish for. The small inner garden before you enter the hotel is a hidden gem.

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Once I stepped in, I was greeted by the most accommodating staff who made me feel at ease right from the first second. Guests are treated like royalty here and nothing is asked for too much here. The personal approach is highly appreciated and one of the key factors of Hotel Sablon.The lobby kind of feels like a big living room with comfortable couches and an open fire place. I immediately noticed the sweet corner with complimentary sweets and refreshments. Be sure to have one yourself, I loved it 🙂

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After check-in it was time to explore our room. I stayed in one of their Mansion Suites and again I was very satisfied. The room had a great size. No standard furniture here, all items (and I mean every item/product/…) is of such a high quality. I fell at home here which is unique. The room had a nice cozy sitting area with the most comfortable couch. The bed was to die for. Some interesting art work can be found in each room which is always a nice touch.

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Bathroom is very luxurious featuring an oversized bath tub and a fantastic walk-in shower. There are plenty of luxury Moooi toiletries. Not only do they look great, they smell amazing too! The lighted marble sink definitely is they eye catcher of the bathroom. It certainly gives the extra luxurious feeling.

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The Loft Suite on the top floor is one of a kind. Actually, it is the most beautiful room in Bruges I have seen so far. Very stylish, contemporary and ultra luxurious.

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Breakfast at Hotel Sablon is something to look forward to. The breakfast room is one of a kind, decorated with style and eye for details. The buffet consists of freshly made products which are of a great quality. A lot of healthy options too! But also omelets, fried eggs, etc. everything is possible and again, service is provided – each time with a smile.

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It is all about service at Hotel Sablon. The staff is among the most professional and accommodating I have ever experienced in Bruges.  As said before, after spending so many nights at so many luxurious hotels, it is great to still be impressed by hotels like Hotel Sablon.

NH Collection Antwerp Centre

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Hotelchain: NH Collection
Location: Antwerp – Belgium
Classification: 4 star hotel
Official websitenh-collection.com/…/nh-collection-antwerp-centre

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Situated in a very interesting spot in Antwerp, the brand new NH Hotel Antwerp Centre only opened a few months ago. The hotel is located only a few steps from the famous Antwerp Zoo and also from Central Station, one of world’s most beautiful train stations. Also, the large shopping street Meir is reachable in just minutes.

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As I entered the NH Hotel Antwerp Centre, I was welcomed by very friendly front desk staff. Service here is always with a smile which is absolutely pleasant. The lobby area is pretty large and I loved the decoration: quite trendy, but not over the top… It is classy with a modern touch, just the way I like it! Sleek and chic yet cosy is how I would describe it. Although the hotel was almost fully booked at the time I was there, you wouldn’t tell as there is this absolutely relaxed atmosphere throughout the entire hotel. A big eye catcher of NH Collection Antwerp Centre is the urban jungle, a beautiful inner garden. Just beautiful!

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I stayed in one of their Premium rooms and was impressed with the room! It was very nicely laid out with wooden floor and a queen bed and Nespresso coffee machine. The room also came with a large working desk which was pretty convenient as I needed to do some work. All rooms come with high speed internet. The view from the room was stunning!

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The large and trendy bathrooms are equipped with a very good rainshower. As usual, fancy NH Collection toiletries are provided including the hand cream which smells amazing!

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NH Collection Antwerp Centre offers a fitness center. Although not too big, it does offer all the facilities for a great work out including towels and complimentary water. The entire place was very clean and well maintained.

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After a wonderful night’s sleep (I was spoiled as they have wonderful mattresses in each room) we had breakfast. The buffet style breakfast was excellent with lots of options to choose from. Local specialties such as the famous Belgian waffles and bread pudding can not be missed!

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NH Collection Antwerp Centre is a trendy and classy four star hotel in a great spot. The rooms are very stylish and offer the comfort you would expect from a high class hotel like this. Although it has 186 rooms, it kind of felt like staying in a boutique style hotel. Whether it is for business or leisure, you can’t go wrong by staying here. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here and I truly believe it is one of the better hotels in beautiful Antwerp.

Corsendonk Turnova

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Hotelchain: Corsendonk Hotels
Location: Turnhout – Belgium
Classification: 4 star hotel
Official websitecorsendonkhotels.com/…/corsendonk-turnova

Located in a very interesting and convenient spot, Turnhout’s newest luxury hotel Corsendonk Turnova is rated as one of the best hotels in the area. It is a brand new four star hotel and offers only the best of the best! From the moment we arrived untill the time we left, we felt great. The staff is just wonderful and will do their upmost best to serve you in a fantastic way.

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Upon arrival, everything is explained in a friendly yet professional way. The lobby is stylish and trendy decorated. There are several cozy sitting areas where it is great to hang out and talk about the everyday’s life. Our keys were handed in just seconds before we headed to our wonderful room.

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The suite we stayed in had a great size and is comfortably appointed. I enjoy the daylight and appreciated the floor to ceiling windows. Standard amenities are a Nespresso coffee machine, HD television and a safe. The suite also had a portable Bose speaker which was a nice touch. Plenty of sockets in the room as well which is rarely the case at most hotels! Loved it! There was also a separate toilet.

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I especially liked the bathroom which featured a wonderful free standing bath tub. I enjoyed some me time in the evening in this tub and loved every second. The bathroom was also appointed with a large walk-in (rain)shower and double sinks. Fancy Rituals toiletries are provided in each room. Every spot in our suite was spotlesly clean.

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A true highlight of Corsendonk Turnova is the Spa Area. When I was in Turnhout it was pretty cold and it was absolutely amazing to relax in the spa after a day spent in the cold. The spa is opened all day long. There’s a traditional sauna, an infra-red sauna and water experience walk where 4 several showers gave me an unique experience. Hot and cold water and even scents add even more exceptional feelings through the entire body. I loved it. An adjoining relax area with the two most comfortable lounge chairs are the perfect spot to unwind. I read a book afterwards, closed my eyes and enjoyed the very relaxing music. It was the perfect way to end my day.

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The next morning we had breakfast in the restaurant downstairs. It is a buffet style breakfast offering only fresh products. We sat down and the very accommodating staff immediately wished us a very good morning. The food was delicious and I appreciated the mix of sweet and salt. There’s just something for everybody. Some highlights were the ‘make your own waffles’ and freshly squeezed orange juice. Complimentary sparkling wine is offered as well. Make sure to add breakfast to your booking, you will not be disappointed!

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Our stay at the Corsendonk Turnova was wonderful and I can easily understand why it is rated as one of the best hotels in the area. From the personal approach to the comfortable rooms and amazing breakfast, Corsendonk Turnova is top notch and I highly recommend to stay at this hotel when you are in the area of Turnhout, whether it is for leisure or business.