Once the seat of noble families, Kasteel Oost in Oost-Maarland, was also the 18th-century birthplace of the Prince-Bishop of Liège, Cesar van Hoensbroeck. In the second half of the 20th century it became the home of the artist Teun Roosenburg.
The manor house underwent many alterations during its long history, and the current owners, Michel and Leon Maes, are busy restoring it to its former glory. Michel and Leon see it becoming a prime location in the field of hospitality – the aim is for a top rating and for the restaurant to be awarded at least one Michelin star! Their plan is for hotel rooms in the chateau, the manor’s farm, and a new building. There will also be a contemporary bistro and hotel bar; separate function rooms for events, weddings, presentations and meetings; a shop where regional products will be on sale; and a vineyard. We already have very exciting plans for creating a floating spa experience.
All of this is being done in accordance to the Cittaslow (slow town) principle, which prioritises sustainability and a localised supply of products. The main aims of the movement are improving quality of life, protecting the environment, promoting cultural diversity and providing inspiration for a healthier lifestyle. The estate’s unique location on the edge of a nature reserve on the banks of the Maas emphasises its connection with nature. Perfect for reaching out to younger generations.
The Maes brothers do not plan to run the hotel themselves. Instead they have enlisted the help of a star team: hotelier to the stars Marc Alofs and Michelin-starred chef Jacob Jan Boerma. ‘Running a hotel is not where our expertise lies, and this is something you should leave to the professionals,’ says Michel Maes. ‘But we’ll be involved, because we feel that this could be a beautiful thing for the whole region. It fits our ideals about sustainability, respect for nature, organic farming and the principles of Cittaslow.’