Martin’s Relais comprises five exquisite houses on the bank of the Spiegelrei, Bruges’ oldest harbour. The hotel stands witness to the city’s glorious past.
In the 13th century, the five patrician homes belonged to state agents-hoteliers. They granted permission to foreign merchants to conduct business in Bruges; and they also offered them these dwellings as lodging for their stay in the city. So, the houses functioned as a residence, tavern, factory and storage space.
At the end of the Middle Ages, the central building of Martin’s hotel was called "Oud Huis Amsterdam" after the flourishing Dutch merchant city of that time. In the 16th century, the city alderman Jan de Boodt lived in the house next door – from whence the name "Den grooten Boodt". "Ten Duinenezel" and "Witte Monnik" served as a place of refuge in wartime and as the factory of the Cistercian abbey Ter Duinen. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, the houses changed owner frequently. Various merchants took up residence in them and traded in textiles, tapestries, wines and colonial wares. In the 18th century, the houses were rebuilt and adorned with the typical Bruges stepped-gable, two bull’s-eye windows, and a high round-arch door. Absolutely superb!