Huge tall windows, great big doors and a checker-tiled hall are original touches still on show in this small château, renovated recently and completely by the Van der Elsts. Your Belgian hosts – father, mother, son, recently moved from Brussels – are serious about succeeding in their new venture and you will excuse the wonderfully kitsch china chihuahuas when you are relaxing in one of their immaculate rooms. Expect textured wallpapers, swish showers, hotel standards and heaps of space; we particularly liked the Green Room for its original wooden polished floor and its garden view. Dinner in the elegant green and gold dining room might feature local watercress, colourful St Omer cauliflowers or veal with mustard, cooked by Francis who speaks seven languages, including Japanese! Nothing is too much trouble for your very welcoming hosts. The heritage site of Aire sur la Lys is a walk away, St Omer and war cemeteries are close, and the exciting new Louvre at Lens is a 45-minute drive. Great value for such an excellently run house.