Château de la Cense au Bois
THE ABANDONED CASTLE IN BELGIUM
‘Château de la Cense au Bois’ also named ‘Château de la Bruyère’ was built in 1860 by baron Louis Siraut. The neoclassical building is located in the heart of fifteen hectares of woods.
The domain was bought by the wealthy Siraut family from the Abbey of Hannon. The castle was built after the French Revolution. The Siraut family resided here until 1984. The castle was abandoned and because of the lack of maintenance and upkeep the building became a ruin. In the late 1980s, it was even occupied by squatters. But in 1999 the castle was bought by hotelier Raymond Beck. It became a high-class hotel with ten rooms and 20 beds. The rooms had their own individual fireplaces and beautiful views.
The hotel also included a restaurant where you could get luxury meals and wine from an extensive wine list. The chef was Pierre-Yves Gosse, he was recognized by his peers as one of the most talented cooks of his generation. The ‘Restaurant l’Osciètre Gris’ quickly became one of the best restaurants in Hainaut. The hotel went bankrupt in 2005. Both Beck and Gosse started new businesses elsewhere. I visited the ‘Château de la Cense au Bois’ in 2017.