Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Birthday in Bruges: Part One

Birthday spent in Bruges BelgiumAs I've mentioned one million and one times now - it was my birthday last week!  I'm wondering at what age I'm supposed to act cooler about blowing out candles on the cake, because it sure as hell wasn't this year.  I still get 100% excited for pretty much any sense of occasion, except this time around I had slightly more of a reason to get excited thanks to a return trip to Bruges! With four or five trips to the Belgian city behind me, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect - though with a slightly different agenda and a different hotel booked, there was everything to look forward to...
Luxury Hotel Dukes' Palace in Bruges Belgium
Exterior and flags of Hotel Dukes' Palace
White winding staircase at hotel dukes' palace bruges
After parking underneath the hotel, it's a short walk up to reception and a very friendly welcome to the only five-star hotel in Flanders, Hotel Dukes' Palace.  Glimpses into meeting rooms as well as the bar area can be spotted on the walk towards the reception desk, where a grand staircase can be found circling above you.  Truly, I can say my stay was both luxurious and elegant from beginning to end - I've undoubtedly found my new 'home from home' when visiting Bruges!        

Hotel Dukes' Palace
Prinsenhof 8
8000 Brugge
Luxury travel blogger in bruges belgium
Hotel Dukes' Palace luxury interior design
Large golden curtain tassel at hotel
Luxury travel blogger visit to Hotel Dukes' Palace
After unpacking and taking a little time to appreciate the hotel room's view of the garden, we headed out into the square to track down a late lunch.  One thing's for sure, I have no regrets whatsoever about wearing relatively flat shoes throughout this trip; I'd forgotten - the cobbles are merciless!  Though thankfully, less than five minutes from the hotel by foot and you find yourself at the heart of Markt (''Market Square'').  Sure, there are some gems tucked down the lanes and with brilliant service, however if you've travelled a fair distance and looking to very quickly appease the food monster within, the slightly higher rates found within the square are entirely worth it.

On this occasion, La Belle Vue was on the cards, a restaurant with a ludicrously unfair score on TripAdvisor - and for the life of me I can't figure out why!  The food is delicious (try the half roast chicken) and it's slightly set back from the square's traffic without compromising the view.  Ideal for a quick meal or light snack.
Travel blogger belgium bruges photography
Half roast chicken at la bella vue bruges belgium
Beautiful canals and boats of Bruges in August
After an hour or so of exploring the city, there was no way I was heading back to the Hotel Dukes' Palace before getting my paws on some ice cream!  To my surprise, popular ice bar Oyya is located just seconds away from the hotel; in fact, Hotel Dukes' Palace's private turning is even visible from the shop's corner.  One scoop of Speculoos later and I was ready for some much needed beauty sleep.  Back to the hotel...

Oyya - Ice Bar
Noordzandstraat 01
8000 Brugge
Oyya ice bar travel blogger review Bruges
Oyya ice cream bruges belgium travel blog review
Europe luxury travel and fashion blogger in BelgiumOh sweet loungewear, how I'd missed you!  You know me, I'm all for silk slips and satin gowns, but for some reason, there's something really satisfying about curling up in comfortable oversized basics after exploring a city.  Wait, did I just say that? Blame it on last week's birthday, I'm not the spring chicken I was eight days ago...


Rise and shine, breakfast is served!  If you've been reading my blog for a while now, you'll probably have twigged I'm not a huge fan of going down for breakfast.  It takes me an eternity to properly wake up, and so to avoid pouring juice on early birds' laps and seeing the croissants go flying, I prefer to enjoy breakfast from the comfort of the hotel room.  Hot chocolate?  Always.
Hotel Dukes' Palace room service breakfast
Selection of sweet pastries at Hotel Dukes' Palace
Hotel Dukes' Palace only 5 star hotel in Flanders
Luxury travel blogger exploring Hotel Dukes' Palace
Okay, well now I can see why I've at times been accused of eating my way through cities.  Uh, after a gorgeously presented breakfast, we visited a couple of the many churches in the area... and then headed to Tea-Room De Proeverie for a sweet snack.  Visit and you'll very quickly understand why it has been my all-time favourite European tearoom for four years!  This month's visit surpassed all other experiences though thanks to the constant air conditioning - my stay coincided with Belgium's heatwave, seeing temperatures soar to 34°C!  The staff are always overwhelmingly warm and friendly and the chocolates by Chocolaterie Sukerbuyc, oh my gosh.  Warm drinks come with a small pot of chocolates, though for just €3,50 you can indulge in the below assortment of chocolate truffles and treats.  Mmm...

Tea-room De Proeverie
5, Katelijnestraat 1
8000 Brugge
Bruges Tea-room De Proeverie travel blog review
China pot with assortment of chocolate truffles
Tea-room De Proeverie Bruges travel blog review
Luxury travel blogger in Belgium at summerI'll admit, I forgot it was my birthday on many occasions; I suppose it paled in comparison to the beauty of Bruges.  It's very easy to get lost in the winding cobbled streets and sight of boats gliding along the canals.  In short, it's dreamy.  So dreamy in fact, we were determined to make the most of the city by night, and so headed back to Hotel Dukes' Palace (and its rightly acclaimed 'authentic elegance of the 15th century') in the early evening to freshen up and change.

Denim Skirt - Zara

Sandals - Dune

Bag - Chloé Elsie (medium)

2016 fashion trends statement sleeves boho blouse
Hidden gems in the magical city of Bruges
5 star luxury hotels to stay at in brugesTravel blogger photography of Hotel Dukes' Palace
One week since leaving and I'm already missing the city, though at least I can continue reminiscing a little longer - Part Two of my travel diary will be arriving later this week!

With love,

Gabrielle x



  1. Absolutely fantastic, I need to go here!! Am happy you had a wonderful time, can't wait to see more :)) xx

  2. Happy birthday my love! I hope you had a great week celebrating your special days!


  3. Sounds like your birthday was wonderful! Excited to see part two :)

    Renee | Life After Lux

  4. I'm glad you had a great time for your birthday! Your hotel looks so dreamy, definitely an amazing place to stay for the weekend :)

    Julia x
    Last post: OOTD - The Gingham Dress | http://juliaspeaksbeauty.blogspot.fr/2016/08/gingham-stone.html

  5. Looks like you had the best little birthday get-away :) Your photos look dreamy and I can't wait to visit Bruges myself (totally hitting up that tea room)! :) xx

    Jess | Jess in Retrospect

  6. Happy Belated Birthday Gabrielle. It looks like you had a fantastic trip.


  7. Belated happy birthday! What a nice way to celebrate; Bruges is such a lovely city, especially during summer.


  8. Woow ! The hotel looks fabulous.
    Never go to Belgium but it look so great !
    I love your denim dress !
    And Happy Birthday ! Wish you the best.
    I bet you had a really great B-day there.

  9. Happy belated birthday, lady! Looks like an amazing time!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  10. I'm so glad you enjoyed celebrating your birthday in Bruges, it looks like you had a wonderful time! The hotel can be likened to a palace really, look at the gorgeous architecture and the interior looks just as beautiful! Man, how delicious does the food look!? You know, you can't always go by the reviews, at least that's what I've learned, mainly when it comes to food and restaurants. My husband and I were waiting on our food at a Mexican restaurant we've never been to before and we bumped into a friend of ours who was leaving with his wife. They said how horrible it was because of the small amount of tequila in the drinks. Well, low and behold, it's the BEST Mexican restaurant we've been to date! People have their reasons as to why they give a poor rating, often making no sense, haha. Anyway, you look gorgeous, I adore both your outfits. Thank so much for sharing and I hope you're having a wonderful week so far!



  11. Looked like such a gorgeous trip; that hotel is beautiful! Happy belated Birthday!

    XO, alice / T Y P E N U

  12. Glad to hear your birthday was a success! I don't think you ever have to play it cool on your birthday. I most certainly will not be playing it cool when my birthday comes in a couple weeks!


    Violet Roots || Instagram || Twitter

  13. Everything looks magnificent! Bruges is charming and the hotel looks stunning. The breakfast has my mouth watering! What a great birthday treat


  14. Your birthday getaway to Bruges looks like it was absolutely delightful Gabrielle! This city certainly has some distinct charms and it's wonderful how you're still discovering new things to love after so many visits.

  15. Happy belated birthday! I'm so envious of all these getaways you go on! Love the white top you have with the flared sleeves, super cute!

    Macarons and Mischief

  16. What an incredibly special way to get to spend your birthday! Bruges is stunning and it sounds like you had an amazing time!

  17. Wow, it looks like you had a great birthday! I spent a couple of days in Brussels a few years ago and thought it was really pretty, but I never made it to Bruges which I know has a great reputation. And now with your little guide, if I ever make it there I know I'll have to check out that tea room.


  18. Happy belated birthday Gabrielle! So glad you got to spent some time in a different city to celebrate. You seemed to be quite the jet setter this year! Hope you had the best celebration and many more to come!


  19. Wow, gorgeous photos as usual. Happy belated birthday!! :)

    XoXo Noma

  20. What a wonderful place to spend a birthday and the Duke's Palace does indeed look fit for a duke or duchess like yourself

  21. Wow this place is gorgeous, what a beautiful way and place to spend your birthday hun, you looked gorgeous in every pic :) xx


  22. You look lovely in all these styles. I am happy you are having a fun and adventurous birthday! Celebrate in style and eating food that looks amazing! I just love these photos especially the hotel looks just so perfect. I can't wait to see part two :) Being like royalty is the only way to celebrate your birthday! I love your Chloe bag to it is so elegant and a lot nicer then Chanel. xx http://www.bauchlefashion.com/2016/08/blackout.html

  23. Happy belated birthday! I hope you had a wonderful birthday. I have always wanted to visit Bruges after viewing the fantastic movie In Bruges. They made it seem so beautiful and appealing.

  24. I'd love to visit and these photos just confirmed it! So happy to hear that you had a lovely bday stay and that there are still people out there that are excited about getting older hahah! I need to remember that for my bday in October! Xx


  25. so amazing place - I am sure you had a perfect time there xx

  26. Happy belated Birthday, Gaby! Continue to have the best time in Bruges!!
    I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!
    xoxo, Vanessa

  27. Wow. Bruges is absolutely beautiful through your lens, and of course so are you! Happy birthday dear Gabrielle :)


  28. I love the pictures! I am pretty sure you had an amazing time!!!
    Dora www.BangsBang.com

  29. all the outfits u wore on ur trip were perfection! The hotel looks good!

  30. Happy birhday my dear <3333333333333

  31. Bruges looks lovely and it's awesome that you're having a blast! You look lovely as always :)

  32. It looks so gorgeous - I'd love to go.


  33. Such a beautiful place! Happy Birthday! :) x

    Ellen x

  34. Happy belated birthday to you Gaby! I wish you million wonderful things. You know, you truly should remain enthusiastic with BDAYs after all it is YOUR special day! I can say your stay was really both luxurious and elegant from beginning to end - Bruges looks so exquisite!

  35. Happy birthday my love! I hope you had fun celebrating your special days! Beautiful photos and cute outfit.


  36. Happy Birthday Gabrielle, I hope you had an amazing time away!
    As for eating your way through cities, don't worry- I'm right behind you!



    http://anjelique.com.au | snapchat: anjeliquetv

  37. Happy Belated Birthday! This place looks divine!

  38. You have the ability to make me want to go anywhere, Bruges is officially next on my wishlist. So stunning! Hope you had an amazing birthday.


  39. Happy belated birthday, beautiful photos and glad you had a great time! I have missed your blog. I’m back to regular posting.Thanks for the visit.

  40. I have never been to Bruges but it looks like an amzing place and the hotel you stayed in looks gorgeous. I'm glad you had a lovely birthday and I'm with you, I'll never loose the excitment that comes with it :) x

  41. The hotel is so beautiful, it looks like something out of Disney from the outside! Bruges is such a gorgeous city - it looks like you had a fantastic stay, looking forward to seeing more photos! As always, love following you on your journeys, Gabrielle ;)


  42. Happy belated birthday, my dear! I've been dreaming about visiting Bruges every since i saw the movie "In Bruges". It must be such a beautiful place and it sounds like you had an amazing time!

    Bella Pummarola

  43. This looks like you had a lovely time in Belgium for your birthday! I have always wanted to visit Bruges. And those pastries look absolutely delicious. Have a great day!
    Christina ♥ https://caliope-couture.com

  44. Happy birthday beautiful! Everything looks so nice and hope you had a wonderful time!!


  45. That place looks amazing! Hope you had a great birthday! x

    Have a nice week,

  46. oh how magical! Every picture was more beautiful than the next! Happy belated bday!

  47. I am the complete opposite, I prefer going down for breakfast over room service. I always feel like I am missing something if I don't get the whole buffet to choose from.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  48. Happy belated birthday, beautiful! What gorgeous shots! Thank you so much for sharing. I really really miss Europe - not enough traveling that way for me. But I felt that I could transport myself mentally there while reading this post. I love your low-heeled sandals and of course, the adorable outfits you wore with them: a denim overall dress and the black mini with a lovely white blouse with bell sleeves. XO

    Janea | theSTYLetti

  49. Ohhh Happy belated Birthday, Gabrielle!!! I feel bad for not wishing you a happy birthday on your social media :( I've been a bit away from the blogosphere in general as you already know, I'm sorry.
    I'm so glad to know that you had a wonderful day, not only because it was your bday but also because you were exploring such a dreamy city. the streets look like a fairy tale location! And that hotel, oh my! The first picture of the front of the hotel is breathtaking. You've become a pro at choosing great hotels and places to eat ;) Last but not least, your outfits in these pictures are on point as usual, my dear!


  50. Belated Happy Birthday! I love your stunning photos! =)

    - Cielo
    Mermaid in Heels

  51. Happy (belated) birthday!
    I found you through Tasha's blog and am so glad I did. Your photography is amazing.
    I want to invite you to link up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/08/purple-passion.html

  52. This is such a wonderful post! Have a nice day:)


  53. Oh wow, what a birthday trip! These photos are stunning, I can totally understand why you'd miss it!

    Amber | y a c h t s m a a n

  54. This trip to Bruges really does look like the best way to spend your birthday! You always manage to choose the cutest places, whether that be hotels or cafes :) It looks like you've literally walked into a fairytale and all of your outfits are lush! I especially like that white blouse

    Rachel xx

  55. sounds like you had a lovely time celebrating your birthday, the photos are amamzing and omg those pastries look so good :) x


  56. Wow happy belated birthday!! Beautiful images and the breakfast looks ahhmazzing!! Love your bag too, so chic x

    Jenny | Krystel Couture

  57. Looks like such an incredible place! Love the photos x


  58. Happy Birthday doll!!

    Happy Friday! Kisses,

  59. Hope you have a fabulous weekend hun xx


  60. Amazing post and great pitcures!

    How about follow for follow? IvaFashionDiary

  61. Happy Happy Birthday beautiful. The pictures look amazing

    Life is just Rosie

  62. Wow this looks wonderful! I love the look of the hotel it looks so traditional and grand! It sounds like you had a great time. I love both your outfits too that white Zara blouse is so pretty!

    Gemma x

  63. Hotel Dukes' Palace looks amazing! They have such glam decor and furniture....the place looks fit for nobility- as the name would imply. It does look royal. This is one five star hotel that I wouldn't mind staying in.

    The surroundings are also lovely. As always, your photography is pure perfection...and speaking of perfection----You look so gorgeous in that denim dress!!! I really like the nude sandals as well. I've just read somewhere how nude sandals are great for making our leg seem endless.

    have a lovely weekend!!!!


  64. All these great shots making me wanna go on a holiday. I love your photos. What camera do you use, if I may ask, please? Tag me in the response please. You look very beautiful too and a fan of your hair. Patiently waiting on a part two post. :)


  65. So glad you had a wonderful birthday trip! It looks like a beautiful hotel, although it's the breakfast pictures that just got me, haha. Such yummy looking food!

    Kathryn • The Fashionography

  66. what a charming adventure! looks like so much fun, and the food looks very tasty!


  67. Ah I love Bruges! I used to live in Belgium and have such fond memories of the whole country, and Bruges is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities. Your photos are gorgeous and I can't wait to read part two! Also drooling over all your outfits! x

    Kate Louise Blogs

  68. the place looks awesome!!! i;m definitely gonna jot it down on my travel bucket list!! :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!


  69. What an amazing way to spend a birthday! Hope you had a lovely time and happy birthday!

    Charlotte x

  70. Happy birthday!! Looks like you had a great trip! I've never been to Brugge before but it seems like a great city.

    www.isabellaschoice.com | Isabella x

  71. Wonderful pictures!
    Have a nice week-end!
    Gil Zetbase

  72. The place looks so grand! Also I love your outfits. :) What camera do you use? Your shots are great.

    annescribblesanddoodles.blogspot.com | Bloglovin' | Instagram

    1. Hey Anne! Thank you, I've sent a message on your blog with details :)

      Gabrielle x

  73. Babes your pictures are SO stunning! I've never been to Bruges but would love to go, it sounds so fab! Hope you had the best birthday too lovely! <3 P.s that striped bag is stunning!

    Hayley xo

  74. Happy birthday when it comes, looking great and nice photos.

    New blog post
    Adventures in Lake Louise & Snake Mythology

  75. What a lovely place to celebrate your Birthday! Bruges looks beautiful - it has been long on my list of places to visit, certainly have to visit now after reading your blog post!

  76. Bruges looks beautiful! I hope you had an amazing birthday! :) xx

  77. Happy belated birthday!
    I turned 30 earlier this year, and it was the first time I wasn't excited about my birthday. Time goes by way too quickly.
    I've never been to Belgium, but your beautiful pictures are really making me want to go!

  78. Happy Belated Birthday Gabrielle! What an amazing place to go to for your Birthday, it really looks like you had such a great time.

    Visited Bruges once and really enjoyed it, it's a beautiful place.

    The chocolates and desserts you've photograph made my mouth water! The picturesque shots really are so lovely, and tempts me to want to go back again!

    The hotel you stayed in looked lovely, luxurious, boutique and lovely.

    Great post and gorgeous images!

    Laura xox

  79. Happy Belated Birthday dear Gabrielle. This pace is so beautiful (and the dessert looks super delicious), no wonder you missed it. I'm glad you enjoyed your Birthday trip. You look amazing as always. Have a wonderful week . xx

  80. Hello Gabrielle, happy belated birthday and you looked great. I was in Bruges about three weeks ago and stayed in the martins hotel right next to the belfry. Third time I have been and the place has class and is beautiful if you have not been. The little shops are really nice with everything done beautifully. Loads of chocolate places delicious. Restaurants try Gruuthuse Hof they have a set menu about 18 euros with steak. And superb place 18th rated out of 564. Sivalai Thai really nice owner and food out of this world. It's 54 ranked and it's basically along the road Gruuthuse is and have to go past the Ibis hotel and your five mins away. By the way with this post I really want to go back again. It can be expensive so careful everyone where you go☺ . In Bruges was why I went and superb place

  81. YOU HAVE TO VISIT BRUGES IN WINTER!!!!It's sooooo wonderful....x.x
    Yaya Van Chique


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