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The hotel of family traditions TEXT: MYRIAM GWYNNED DIJCK | PHOTO: HOTEL LUGANO
A passion for hospitality certainly runs in the Vanhollebeke family. Third generation owner of Hotel Lugano in Knokke, Stefan Vanhollebeke, knows all the tricks of the trade to make his guests feel at home and experience a memorable stay on the Belgian coast. Located just 50 metres from the beach, Hotel Lugano combines the classic hotel experience with a modern and cosy interior. The strong family values of the Vanhollebeke’s has trickled down into the business, with personable staff, a friendly service and a welcoming atmosphere. “Guests aren’t numbers to us; we know them by name. We treat everyone like we would want to be treated ourselves. It is a level of commitment and engagement that you don’t see in many hotels any longer,’ says Stefan Vanhollebeke. Celebrating its 80th anniversary next year, the hotel was opened by Stefan’s grandparents just before World War II broke out. 48 | Issue 54 | June 2018
After a difficult start, which included occupation of the hotel by German, English and French soldiers, the hotel took off and has undergone many expansions and updates over the years. Stefan, who took over the business 25 years ago, continued where his parents left off. “We work on the hotel every year, sometimes doing big refurbishments, other times we just update the interior. This keeps the hotel fresh and gives our regular guests something new every time,” he says. This long-term commitment to quality has resulted in many guests returning to the hotel year after year, often over multiple generations. “It’s always great when we see regular guests bringing along their children or grandchildren, making their stay here like a family tradition” says Vanhollebeke. “When people say ‘see you next time’ when they leave, it gives us the confirmation that our hard work has paid off.”
The downstairs area of the hotel is largely taken up by restaurant La Terrasse du Zoute (see opposite page) which offers an extensive drinks menu, with fantastic wines, Champagnes and numerous cocktails at the lounge bar. “We actually have more than we list on the menu: if a guests requests a specific drink, then we make sure we have that on offer,” he says.
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