I wouldn’t normally recommend a hotel bar, but the Poppy Coffee & Wine Bar at Ghent’s fancy Marriott Hotel took me by surprise. The hotel is famous for its historic guildhouse facade on the touristy Korenlei. And that’s where I assumed the story ended. But if you go through the main entrance and head on straight through the automatic doors you’ll skip several centuries in just a few steps. Behind the historic front, the hotel has contemporary lighting and a soaring glass wall and ceiling. This is where you’ll find the Poppy Coffee & Wine Bar. At night, the glass is sometimes lit up in bright colours.
Because hardly anyone knows this is there (apart from the lucky hotel guests presumably), it always has a totally calm feel as you sink into one of the sofas and the well-trained staff come and take your order with a smile. It’s nice to feel like you’re on holiday in your own city. Sure, it’s a bit more expensive to have a drink here, but it’s worth it if you want a quiet spot in the centre where you can open up your laptop or sit on your own and nobody will make you feel in a hurry to leave. I always come here if I’m early to meet friends, and it’s also a good spot for a professional meet up.
If you want a steak restaurant nearby then you don’t even have to leave the building – check out Farah’s Midtown Grill article.