Staying in the Hotel Gent Clock Tower

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“What time is it?”

I instinctively glanced down at my watch yet again while my boyfriend grinned from ear to ear. Got me again.

Yes, we were staying in a hotel room with possibly the biggest clock in the world and I was still using my little wrist watch to tell the time.

The hotel room, designed by Tazu Rous, is built around the clock tower at St Peter’s Railway Station in Ghent, Belgium. The clock, originally built in 1912, stands at 75ft high and has been an iconic landmark in Ghent ever since.

So why build a hotel room around it?

Tazu Rous, a Japanese artist, turns iconic monuments into public spaces while challenging spacial perceptions. He was asked to create something unique for the TRACK exhibition which sees the entire city being taken over by contemporary art.

When Rous arrived in Europe he noticed that some of our excessively huge landmarks have actually become so familiar that we barely notice them at all. A tourist may look up in awe and take a photo or two but we quickly become used to these monuments and fail to recognise their splendour.  Rous creates spaces that put monuments so out of context that we can’t help but see it in all its glory with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

Staying in the clock hotel

Yea, we were kind of excited…

Being so close to such an icon was incredible but actually sleeping next to it was something else. Weirdly, I kept forgetting it was a clock. It is such a ridiculously enormous thing to have in the centre of a hotel room that it started to feel more like a wall separating the areas of the room.

A lot of people have asked me if it was difficult to sleep next it and it wasn’t at all. In fact, I had one of the best sleeps I’ve had in ages which was probably helped by an evening of extensive Belgium beer tasting (research!) and being wrapped up in luxuriously soft Egyptian cotton.

We slept with the balcony doors open, safe in the knowledge that baddies couldn’t get us at 23 metres high, and were able to enjoy the sparkly night views over the city and then gentle hum of a sleepy city.

Thankfully, the clock didn’t tick or chime but it did feel a little like I was being watched from every angle in the room. I’m not sure if this comes from childhood stories of friendly faces in clocks that chatter and sing (yes, I was a massive Beauty and the Beast fan) or if it was because we were so high up and in such a focal point in the city that I felt sure everyone must be watching.

In reality, the room actually looks pretty ugly from the outside while it’s surrounded by scaffolding and plain white walls. This is a shame but it makes it feel even more special once you get inside.

The hotel room will be there for a limited amount of time and the room was fully booked for the entire duration within 30 minutes. You can visit it between 12-6pm and if you’re in Ghent I would definitely recommend it, not only for the unique opportunity to see the clock up close but also to see the incredible views across the city.

The gorgeous view from the balcony

 

 

23 Comments
  1. andy 9 years ago
    Reply

    wow – are they planning to do this anywhere else?

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago
      Reply

      I’m not sure but the artist has done it in a couple of places now. There was one in Liverpool around a statue of Queen Victoria. Hopefully they will do it again because I’d love to see. Would be incredible if they did it around Big Ben!

  2. Marky 9 years ago
    Reply

    Time is definitely on your side in that hotel room 🙂

  3. Jen 9 years ago
    Reply

    I’m so glad it didn’t tick – that would be like Chinese water torture lol! It’s so cool though, incredible that you stayed here! xx

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago
      Reply

      That would have drove me insane. Although we were pretty tipsy after sampling a few Belgium beers so I think that would have helped!

  4. Kayleigh 9 years ago
    Reply

    This looks so amazing! Would have no idea from the look of it on the outside, that it would look so beautiful inside.
    They should definitely use this idea in more hotel rooms 🙂

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago
      Reply

      They really should, it was brilliant. It,s a great new way to see sights in a city too. I would love to see it somewhere else.

  5. Wow, love this! I’ll add your post to my Travel Bucket List post today =D will send u the link once I do

  6. Wow…what a wacky hotel! Then again, wacky is usually a good thing…

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago
      Reply

      ‘Wacky’ is definitely the word for it. In fact, I can safely say that this is the wackiest hotel I’ve ever stayed in!

  7. What’s new ’round the web: week of 07/27/12 | Wanderplex 9 years ago
    Reply

    […] in the room for 105 euro/night though it’s currently fully booked, so the next best thing is to read about the experience here. I just hope the clock doesn’t chime… because nobody wants to sleep next to the world’s […]

  8. Turtle 9 years ago
    Reply

    Can you get a wake-up call? That would be great if they just made its bells chime or something…

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago
      Reply

      Haha, that would be an amazing way to start the day! A very loud way and you’d probably spend rest of the day with your ears ringing.

  9. Jennifer 9 years ago
    Reply

    Very unique hotel! How do you get into the room? Is there an elevator that takes you up?

  10. TheTravelHack 9 years ago
    Reply

    If you take a look at the second to last photo you can see a staircase all the way around the scaffolding. I think there were about 300 and odd stairs to get up it! A good way to work off all the Belgium waffles and chocolate we ate!

  11. Waegook Tom 9 years ago
    Reply

    This is amazing! You’re right though, it DOES look fugly from the outside. Would never expect that it would be that pretty – and have that great of a view – judging only from the exterior.

    By the way, great taste in Disney movies 😉

  12. […] more from Ghent, you can check out A weekend in Ghent: An Instagram Photo Essay and my stay in the Hotel Gent Clock Tower where I stayed in a magical room surrounding the train station clock!Disclaimer: The trip to Ghent […]

  13. Michael 9 years ago
    Reply

    Hope that this wouldn’t be your alarm clock or else… LOL Seriously, they’re awesome!

  14. Elle Croft 9 years ago
    Reply

    Wow! What a hotel room! You’d never guess it from the outside, but it looks gorgeous inside!

  15. […] Staying in the Gent Clock Tower Hotel […]

  16. […] UPDATE: Staying in this hotel was the most amazingly unique hotel experience I’ve ever had. I don’t think anything will ever beat it: Staying in the hotel Gent clock tower […]

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