Reinier Smeets lived as a blacksmith in the village of Maasbracht from 1836 till 1907. One of his many children, Christiaan Smeets (1866-1916), started his own forge in the year 1895. This is the building in which our hotel is currently located. Christiaan was the owner of one of the first cars in the town, and also sold motorcycles and handmade bicycles. He even learned his customers to ride them! In the year 1897, his successor was born; René.
After the passing of Christiaan in 1916, René had to quit his college in Roermond and continue the business in his own as a 19-year old. He married Josephine in the year 1924, with whom he had six children. For the oldest son, Pierre, they build a residence in Maasbracht, which also featured as a store in electricity- products and installation. It was here were “our” René was born. After the purchase and renovation by Pierre of the parental forge in 1983, it was René who moved into the newly owned property.
In the year 1895 it was Christiaan Smeets who bought the existing building with its large garden in Brachterbeek. The house was nearly completely demolished in 1898, and very meticulously rebuild to what at the time was one of the most grand and modern forges of the region. It is from that time that the wrought irons “C” and “S” come, which are still on the frontage of our building. The customers of Christiaan were mainly farmers, who would only pay their bills once a year, namely on the day of Epiphany.
There was even the installation of two blacksmiths-fires, with a large bellows on the attic. For the hoof batter, a firm shed was made, on the place where our reception is now located. When the electricity made its entrance in 1910, an electrical fan was immediately purchased, together with a drilling- and grinding machine to ease forging practises. Around that time, a café emerged with the name “In Het Gouden Hoefijzer”, which literally means “In The Golden Horshoe”. The original signboard is one of the things which are still present in our hotel. In the front of the building, where nowadays the bar is located, there was a special room for the sale of bicycles, also including free driving lessons. The great entry gate at the front of our building was used as a car storage, while the forge itself was more to back of the building, where you can now enjoy a good breakfast.
René gradually build the business to a busy village-forge with all kinds of related products such as heaters, agricultural machinery, self-built radio’s and electrical light installations. After the second world war there was a shift in agricultural conditions, and the years started to count for René. Most of the farmers disappeared, and the forge slowly came to an end. His son Pierre bought the entire complex and René moved in after a renovation.
The demand for overnight accommodation greatly rose in the middle of Limburg due to the industrialization in the neighborhood. There were two rooms available and not in use, and so the first guests arrived. The very first of many was the well-known Coo Dijkman from newspaper De Telegraaf (The Telegraph). Back in 1986, a room used to cost ƒ 25,- (now € 11,35). The three large blacksmiths atic’s were empty, and so the first rooms (currently number 3 and 4) were born. As the demand for accommodation quickly rose, room numbers 5, 6, and 7 followed shortly after.
The nostalgically and antique forge equipment and furniture was completely sold to a collector, which made room for a storage space and a central heating area. In addition, a double garage was built. In the year 1992, the construction of a completely new building began at the back of the building. 7 rooms and associated facilities had come to life here. The entire complex was sold to René in 1999 and has hosted guests from all around the world ever since.
Nowadays you are welcomed by René Smeets and his son Ivo, who both run the family business with great pleasure, which results in personal and warm contact with all of our guests. We believe that the years of experience, mixed with the youthfulness, is the right combination to offer our guests a great service and experience, even after all those years.