Our history

Discover the rich history of La Réserve.


In around the year 1800, there used to be a vast strip of sand dunes that extended from Hazegras to the fishing village of Heist. At this time, these areas were rented to the Revenue Collector of Public lands that used them as a hunting ground.

Under Dutch jurisdiction, part of the area (172 hectares) was sold to Baron de Croeser. The area in Heist (116 hectares) was bought by Franciscus Frankin.


In 1900, the neighbourhood of Duinbergen was formed and in 1911 the Knocke Duinbergen Extension was created. The formation of the “Société Immobilière Knocke Balnéaire” by Jozef Nellens (1880-1934) led to the full development of Albertstrand beach.


In 1924, “la Société” built its first hotel that was given the name “Pavillon du Lac”. Shortly afterwards, it was also decided to build a casino. Work began in 1929 in partnership with the local council and the casino opened on 5 July 1930.

Both Albertstrand and the casino played a role in the further development of Knokke as a renowned Belgian coastal city.


The charming “Pavillon du Lac” sustained serious damage during the Second World War. In 1949, the luxurious hotel “La Réserve” was erected in the same spot. The hotel became one of the favourite meeting places for political leaders, intellectuals, actors, writers and royalty. For Princess Paola, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Brigitte Bardot, Maurice Chevalier, Gilbert Bécaud, Fernandel, Sacha Distel and may others, the hotel was the perfect base for relaxation and luxury.


In 1976, the hotel also began to offer thalassotherapy (seawater therapy) and became known as one of the most outstanding luxury hotels in the region.


However, deterioration and wear and tear to the hotel led to it being demolished in 2008. Part of the demolition rubble was used as the foundations for the well-known “Cavalia” horse show and the dated furniture from this sophisticated hotel was gained a new use in a hotel in the Republic of the Congo. In November 2008, work began on the new luxury hotel and apartment complex.


In 2011, the new hotel opened and again became the place to be seen, under the management of the Walravens family.


10 years after the opening of the new hotel, the Walravens family decided to sell the building to two Belgian top investors: Mr. Marc Coucke and Mr. Bart Versluys.


In 2022, the new owners, Mr. Marc Coucke and Mr. Bart Versluys, are keen to win the 5th star together with the current team led by Mr. Mathieu Maertens and to renovate hotel La Réserve. This in collaboration with Glenn Sestig Architects.