Although the steam trains enroute to Belgium's Ostend coast have long since ceased to plough through Moere, (Gistel), a wonder spot of Flemish landscapes, the legacy of this once thriving train line has been beautifully captured and preserved in the little boutique B&B, Spoor.62. A design retreat housed in the former brick-built railway station house, Spoor.62 (meaning literally train line 62) is the epitome of those grandeur days of the twenties.
Taking on the appearance of a little royal resting place than station, today the boutique B&B Spoor.62 nods towards the glamour of travel and those posh Parisians heading for the nearby coast of Ostend aboard the famous Paris-Belgian Coast Pullman Express.
Now a cool bastion of contemporary boutique style, chilled minimalism reigns through the clever design narrative of chalked whites, blond woods, satin bedding, chunky geometric cushions and large throws that frame statement design pieces from the likes of Ray & Charles Eames, Le Corbusier and Eero Saarinen. Large plated windows cue in nature from the ordered country gardens to the wilderness beyond - somehow bucolic life can be so sweet when reclined in an Eames.
Spoor.62 is a bijou design refuge of style for those seeking a Flemish hub with easy access to the highlights of medieval Bruges, Ostend and further afield to Antwerp. You could however, equally explore the coastline, the landscapes painted by the masters or slip along the former tracks which has now been converted into a walking/cycling route.
Spoor.62 is a coveted resting place for the style-savvy traveller, although this time, they may be carrying iPads rather than large LV trunks of times past.
Encompassed all around by views of a tranquil flowering garden, a thriving, organic veg patch and endless pastoral fields beyond, this panorama is the perfect aperitif to kick off your hols (although a deep, full-bodied wine is very much on hand, too, to help that relaxation kick on in).
Potter in the library after a wholesome breakfast of fresh local jams, eggs and bread, and browse the hand-picked titles specially chosen by owner Irma with her cultural cool cat clientele in mind – fashion, architecture, music, gardening, design and lifestyle all adorn her shelves, enigmatic of the good life experienced here.
Wind your way down the gently curving tree-lined entrance, blossoms or autumnal leaves scattering in your wake, and watch as the evocative façade of the former railway station – the last remaining bastion along its line - opens up before your well-travelled eyes.
A B&B of serious Belgian pride, Spoor.62’s Irma samples regional foodie delicacies with care, delighting in local Callas jam, tomatoes and strawberries fresh from neighbours, eggs just collected from her own chickens and fruit, walnuts and herbs straight from the garden. Always the best way to ease yourself into the day, breakfast is served with a catch-me-quick view, settled cosily in the library-lounge with its tall, wide windows, or from outside on the garden terrace, gazing out over open fields and cloudless skies.
Popover to nearby Bruges and indulge in the city’s huge culinary bounty, from national classics such as Moules-frites and everyone’s favourite Speculoos cookie, to many a Michelin-starred restaurant, including the infamously fabulous, three-starred, Hertog Jan. When near Bruges, you won’t go hungry.
Irma and Jos, the fabulous owners of Spoor.62, are nothing short of cool cat visionaries. Bringing their innate love of architecture and thoughtful design to Moere’s evocative yet abandoned train station in 1999, they rose from its ruins – with help from brilliant architect, Jacques Verbeke, of course – a peaceful boutique den of luxe tranquillity and kiss-me-quick cool vibes.
Irma is a seasoned hospitality professional and a creative talent that can suffuse Eames with homemade jams, minimalism with heritage and style with substance.
Spoor.62’s idyllic rural village of Moere is peacefully nestled on the outskirts of Gistel, near the UNESCO Heritage Site city of Bruges and the windswept sandy beaches of the Belgian Coast. Perfectly located for excursions of all things nature + culturati, peruse the famed Bruges perimeter (ommeland) and its speckled landscape of canals and dykes, castles and abbeys, monuments and mills.
Or follow your own trail and bike or hike your way along the old train tracks starting outside Spoor.62, newly renovated as the ‘Green 62’ route, passing by plain, farmhouse and ancient polders weaving their beautiful watery pathways through this quiet, labyrinthine landscape.
Moere was once the very village where legendary soul singer Marvin Gaye paused awhile to rest and write some of his most famous hits, and it is also a hub of culture – peruse the nearby boutique PAK Gistel contemporary art gallery, or venture into Bruges for its many museums and historic buildings, including the celebrated Groeningemuseum.
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