Located less than five kilometres from the old town of Durbuy, Les Chambres du Vivier is the epitome of eco-chic run by arguably the most hospitable couple in all of Durbuy.
The first time I met Jan, Caroline, their daughter and their newborn baby, I felt as if I had known them for years. Jan welcomed me with a hearty laugh, a joke, and a pat on the back, which instantly put me at ease. “We put you in the Earth room” he said with a smile as he picked up my bag and walked across the driveway. The rooms, three in total, are separated from the main building and each space has been transformed to embody a certain elemental theme: le Chambre Bois (the Wood chamber), le Chambre Terre (the Earth chamber) and le Chambre Pierre (the Stone chamber).
It was hard not let out a little squeal when the doors of the Earth Chamber flung open – clay, straw and reeds made up the decor in my room. It was simple yet elegant with a double bed, flat screen TV and even air conditioning. “Do you want to see the other rooms?” Jan asks. I nodd my head fervently. The wood chamber is made to look similar to a cabin where, you guessed it, wood was the decorative focal point while the Stone room showcased open stone walls with a grey motif.
As Jan locks the door of the last room he leads me to his beautiful expansive backyard with rolling green hills as far as the eye can see. He explains that the rooms are not the only interesting facet of this quaint little bed and breakfast. In fact, Jan and Caroline have decided to transform this business into an eco-friendly one, through initiatives like building a self-cleaning pool. Jan, after working at Le Sanglier des Ardennes for over 17 years, is also a passionate cook who takes great pleasure in providing his guests with a variety of local products for breakfast such as cheese, bread, fruits and vegetables, some of which come straight from his own garden.
“Look over here” he says to me, motioning me towards what looks like some sort of spice “smell it! I am going to use it for dinner tonight.” His eyes light up as he eagerly pokes around his garden. He stops abruptly and rips something else out, “oh and some of this.” He turns around again, motioning me to another spot in his garden. I nod along silently (I know squat about herbs and gardens!) and can’t help but smile at his passion and love for his garden and this eco-lifestyle.
That night Jan expertly prepares a eco-dinner fit for a Queen while pouring glass upon glass of local beer and wine. We talk the night away, mostly about everything and anything sustainable, before heading to bed. The next morning I am greeted with a breakfast of champions: fresh juice, local bread, goat cheese, cold cuts from the butcher down the road – everything that the brochure promises and more. Breakfast is cut short with the arrival of my ride out of Durbuy, but not before I assure both Jan and Caroline that I will be back.
In the end, this homey B&B may not be 100% eco-friendly but both Jan and Caroline are adamant about finding different and progressive eco-initiatives that they can implement into their business. Their passion and commitment comes out with everything that they do, and that is what makes les Chambres du Vivier one of the best B&Bs I have every visited, hands down.