At Hotel Le Val d’Amblève – not far from the world-famous Belgian motor-racing circuit Spa Francorchamps, but at a suitable distance from the roar of the Formula 1 engines – everything has changed except the high level of quality. As the famous quote puts it, ‘for things to stay the same, everything must change’.
Ruud and Marion Roxs have worked hard since 1987 to make Le Val d'Amblève all that it is today: a famous name for anyone who loves good food in a fantastic atmosphere. Their son Lars is now taking over with his partner Karin, who is originally from Singapore. Over many years in the kitchen, chefs Bryan Loyaux and Lassad Benyaal have been quietly learning their art from Ruud. And Lars and Karin have now given the interior a makeover so it has their own signature, in collaboration with the German interior designer Conni Kotte. The restaurant has also had a contemporary facelift on the outside, by the same architect who designed the extension, the Residence, which houses guest rooms and the wellness centre.
Lars and Karin Roxs found their inspiration in Germany. ‘We’ve gone from a very classic restaurant to a modern and warm design,’ Lars says. ‘Conni Kotte has helped enormously. She also designed the interior for the hotel in Germany where we like to stay. We wanted to create the atmosphere of a gentlemen’s club, with a retro design. At the same time, it had to work with the modern architecture of the extension. The vintage elements go perfectly with the original house, which dates from the 1920s. The idea was to extend the atmosphere of the old house to the new part.’
‘The lounge really has the feeling of a club, with deep armchairs, warm colours on the walls, comfortable leather sofas, retro tables, an antique bookcase and a unique combination of art. We wanted to make a statement that we plan to continue putting all our energy into welcoming guests at Le Val d’Amblève over the coming decades. We’re developing our own signature and continuing what my parents have created. That signature has been realized in the form of our gin bar – we’ve given pride of place to the cocktails again. We’re trying to be a little smoother in the way we maintain quality. The new design of the restaurant immediately seems to be a great success – we’re now also busier during the week.’