Butterscotch & Chocolate


l2Spending a weekend in shipping container may not seem like the most appealing getaway option, but there was something about Studiomie Hotel’s unique lodgings that made me curious to try it, if only for one night.

This ‘one room hotel’ is a bed and breakfast located on the northern edge of Ghent’s historic centre. A former warehouse, the space had been transformed by our host Mieke de Maeyer, a designer by profession, to include a raised two-storey guest quarters made of two shipping containers in what is essentially the front yard of the family home.

Overlooking the rooftops of Ghent, the cleverly designed space includes everything you would want for a comfortable hotel stay, and more. Mieke’s many personal touches not only add character and warmth, but also exude sophistication and style. I was particularly impressed by the handwritten welcome book providing tips and instructions for the use of the studio’s amenities, complete with hand-drawn illustrations for operating the Nespresso machine, and the selection of custom made jewellery hanging in the wardrobe, available to purchase or simply borrow during the stay.

We were also treated to an excellent breakfast, which was not only hearty and delicious, but beautifully presented: homemade bread and brioche wrapped in paper tied with pink string; jars filled with honey, yogurt, and homemade granola inscribed with handwritten labels and serving suggestions; as well as a generous platter of cold meats and cheeses.

The original concept and clever execution of Studiomie provides more than just a place to stay, it also provides insight into a different approach to living, where pleasure can be found in the smallest of details and the simplest of approaches – paper and string, handwritten notes, freshly baked bread, being trusted with a stranger’s jewellery…. or sleeping in a shipping container.

m1I’ve seen shipping containers used for all sorts things, including pop-up stores in the middle of London, but it wasn’t until we stayed at Hotel Studiomie for the weekend that I saw one being used as a one room hotel. It’s the typical Belgian quirkiness that I’ve quickly grown to expect, and it didn’t surprise me to learn that the warehouse which contained the “room” was also a family home.

The large warehouse was is split into two sections, the family home towards the back of the converted warehouse and the container studio at the front. It didn’t take me long to correctly deduce that the owners are artists. The design, the artwork and the furniture all oozed artistic intelligence and a lot of thought and planning. It’s not surprising the project took 4 years to complete.

The room itself is made up of two shipping containers mounted on top of each other at the top of a steep spiral staircase and pokes out through an opening in the roof. The first floor of the room contains the bathroom, kitchen and small dining table, and another set of aluminium stairs lead you to the mezzanine bedroom complete with king size bed. Actually more like a ladder than stairs, midnight trips to the downstairs bathroom were a bit of a challenge!

The view from the balcony looks straight down into the family kitchen. With its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, this glimpse of the glamourous-looking family preparing dinner together appears almost like a framed painting, an art installation of family life in Ghent. I’m not sure if this is intended or not, but either way the Studiomie concept is very well executed. The only thing missing was an invitation to dinner….

Studiomie One Room Hotel
Bomastraat 20/22, 9000 Ghent 

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