Since moving to Lux, perhaps you have become a discerning globetrotter. Maybe you have watched the sun set in Majorca, wandered the cobbled streets of Florence, had ice cream by the Bosphorus, heard the chimes of Big Ben, and perhaps, under duress, (even though snakes make you feel nauseous), you’ve shown your kids the cobras dancing out of baskets in Marrakech?
While you have some great memories, you might have encountered one or many of these surprises which I’ve categorized due to personal experience:
Nature’s Gifts: ravaged by mosquitoes, sunburn, heat strokes (thank you Italy 2017)
Financial burdens: dwindling bank account balance due to missed flights or astute pickpockets (Let’s face it- the less than dangerous streets of Lux leave us easy targets)
The Gifts that Keep on Giving: Traveler’s diarrhea or if you are really lucky Giardia.
For those of you giving your silent mental affirmation to each of these, there is only one thing for you: A Staycation in Luxembourg.
a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, and involving day trips to local attractions.
Staycations can be exactly what you want them to be. They can be a time to relax with family without bustling from one landmark to the next OR they can be simply a night spent away from the offspring and remembering what life was like when there were only two of you: before swimming lessons and spelling tests OR for a third and maybe even more enticing option: They can be a female squad-only affair where you can bitch and laugh and toast to being together while taking too many selfies.
Once in a blue moon, we find a place as magical as Château d’Urspelt. This 4-star hotel is actually in a picturesque castle resort found in the most calming of environments. The castle dates back to the 18th century and is situated on our doorstep in northern Luxembourg. The delightful hotel is perfectly placed right in the middle of Our Nature Reserve and you will feel your shoulders loosen as you drive the whopping hour it takes to get there.
Often, what sadly tends to happen when renovating a historical, listed building is that an architect with little understanding of the period, hires a wrecking ball, buys a bunch of fake marble and the original charm is tossed out the window, thus reducing the structure to a decorative mask. Château d’Urspelt was renovated with tasteful consideration and the result is a collection of 56 romantic rooms housed in a building whose surrounding grounds are nothing short of a fairy-tale.
The main restaurant is in a cozy cave-like room and serves the most exquisite courses made with locally sourced ingredients. We can honestly say we didn’t get to meet the chef, but he is the reason we will return as it’s been a while since we enjoyed a meal of such culinary expertise. The food was better than much of what we’ve found in the city as of lately and we left with grateful bellies.
As we sauntered back to our room through the candlelit courtyard, and quietly crackling bonfire, we noticed the multitude of stars above. Could we see so many in town? Did we stop to notice? Maybe this is just it- we had to get OUT to appreciate what this gorgeous country has to offer.
The morning was spent lazily wandering down to an abundant breakfast sitting under modest chandeliers in a cheerfully lit downstairs chamber. From our table, we overlooked cows doing much the same. For the first time in as long as we could remember, there was an absence of smart phones. All that could be heard was the clink of forks and gentle conversation. Obviously, there was an absence of children but we knew if anything happened, there were no flight cancellations that might keep us from getting home. We also scanned the nature trails around, got our culture fix five minutes down the road in Clerveaux at the Family Of Man exhibit and honestly, we plan to bring the children with us…..next time.
Signs you need a staycation at Chateau d’Urspelt in Luxembourg:
1- You think the ‘north’ is Mersch.
2- You awake in the night stressing about the next holiday which will involve driving to Frankfurt-Hahn at 4 am, chasing your children around the house with their toothbrush screaming that you are going to miss your flight.
3- The last time your family spent a weekend in Luxembourg was when you brought the youngest home from the hospital…4 years ago.
4- Time spent as a ‘couple’ means ‘Parents Night’ or lying in bed each tapping away on your smartphone. Time to UNPLUG and RELAX.
5- When you can’t physically remember what the feeling of warmth is, it’s time to spend a few hours in their private sauna. For a steal of 65 Euros, you are greeted with fresh fruit, a bottle of cremant, and for two hours you’ve got the sauna and whirlpool to yourself!
When you need a few quiet days of relaxation without letting your ordinary grind encroach, just jump in the car and head north for a glorious hour’s drive to Chateau d’Urspelt. I promise, you will return well rested without the sudden need for emergency toilet breaks.