I’m always on the lookout for affordable and comfortable places to sleep when I travel. When I find something within budget that is also unique and memorable, it’s an unexpected bonus. On a recent visit to Antwerp, I spent two nights at an eco-friendly bed and breakfast, housed in a former dairy in the heart of the city.
Translated from Dutch, Het Melkhuis means “the milking house”. As late as 1982 the building housed a working dairy farm. No cows remain, but a few hens nest in the backyard, supplying guests with fresh eggs for breakfast. Upon greeting me, my host, Henrik invited me to have a seat at his table, where he offered me a drink, and asked about my stay and my interests. Pulling out a city map and guidebook, he outlined a cycling route around the city, covering all the top spots on my wish list. In 2003 Henrik created the bed and breakfast by taking a historic property, modernizing it with ecological design, and decorating it with finds from his own travels and simple mid-century furnishings. There’s a lending library in the breakfast room, full of useful information for a first-time visitor, including books about the history of Antwerp.
For just 50 Euros per night I had a floor of the home to myself, with a quiet bedroom and private bathroom. This included a delicious organic breakfast, served in a peaceful sunroom overlooking the backyard. All this, plus free wi-fi, and use of a Dutch bike make it a perfect home away from home while visiting Antwerp.