Close to the Belgian border, the charming capital of the Hauts-de-France région benefits from both French and Flemish influences. Its position on the river Deûle and historic buildings makes Lille a picturesque destination, with a heritage spanning back to the Middle Ages. Allow at least a few days to explore the highlights of a city that played a pivotal role in World War I and was the birthplace of General Charles de Gaulle. And it’s a cinch to reach, with access from air, or via the Eurostar, less than an hour and a half from St Pancras.
L’hermitage Gantois, Autograph Collection
Stay in a restored 15th-century building, transformed from a hospice into a five-star hotel in 2003. It’s just a few minute’s stroll from a metro station and handy for city attractions. Dine on northern French cuisine at restaurant l’Hermitage, eat Flemish food at its brasserie, l’Estaminet, or order room service at any time of the day or night. 88 rooms are arranged around an inner courtyard, with original features like stone walls and period fireplaces, bathrobes, air con and minibars. Take some time out, with access to the Spa by Hermitage Gantois, with its indoor swimming pool and hammam.
Hôtel Barrière De Lille
This modern, glass-walled hotel sits beside a shopping mall, just yards from the mainline train station. The highlight is a huge in-house casino, reached through velvet drapes off a hotel corridor or directly from the street. Here you can try your luck at slots and table games and watch glamorous shows or cabarets in the 1200 seat theatre. Hôtel Barrière De Lille’s nine floors include 145 rooms (some of which are fully accessible) and two restaurants; while the fourth floor accommodates its spa, Escal’Bien-Etre. Pets and kids are welcome and there’s an excellent Sunday brunch accompanied by live tunes.