It’s hard to imagine how a hotelier with a historical bent could do better in terms of raw material than the gorgeous 15th-century hospice building in old Flemish-style Lille that now houses L’Hermitage Gantois. And while it’s managed by a company under the Marriott umbrella, you should know that the Autograph Collection is a world apart from the brand’s ordinary business hotels. Not content with just a lovingly restored exterior, it opts for a heady mix of eras and styles in its interiors as well, spanning the range in the bedrooms from Louis XV oak panels to transparent Lucite chairs by Philippe Starck.
Most of the rooms look inwards, to the courtyard gardens, and there’s still an atmosphere of monastic calm about the place, which does much to heighten the sense of luxury. So too do the comforts of the rooms, which are as modern as they come, despite the historical character of the architecture. A small spa comes complete with a hammam and a pool, and the restaurants, one a fine-dining gastronomic restaurant and the other a Northern French brasserie, are particular highlights of the experience — as is the glass-roofed courtyard, which serves coffee and tea by day and transforms into a piano bar by night.