Set just a stone’s throw from the exclusive shopping street of Avenue Louise, The Hotel Brussels takes its cue from its stylish surroundings and creates something that never goes out of fashion. I saw this for myself when I took the short walk from the Louise Metro station to the complex, passing Versace, Chanel and Jimmy Choo stores in the process. Stepping inside the building, my jaw began to drop as I took in the seriously chic decor – dark panelling, thick grey carpet and elevators sealed by gold doors. Definitely a classic.
My jaw continued to drop as I discovered my room’s ambient lighting, chic wall-to-wall sofa area lined with grey houndstooth cushions in soft velvet, and the fashion tomes placed alongside. There was no risk of mistaking The Hotel for a branch of the Holiday Inn, with its chic colourscheme in a palette of white, grey, cream and black, topped off by subtle personal touches such as chocolates by Pierre Marcolini, toiletries imported from New York and the latest copy of Elle Belgium ready to be devoured.
I quickly adapted to the inclusion of a Nespresso machine, delivering piping hot coffee at the press of a button (or the insertion of a coloured pod, to be more precise), and it was sheer luxury to enjoy an espresso whilst looking out across the rooftops and along the Boulevard de Waterloo. Being only one floor below the scenic Panorama Lounge, I was treated to similarly perfect views of the city streets.
When the time came to finally close the curtains every night, and then open them again the next morning, it was hard not to get a kick out of pressing a button to activate the ‘Curtain Up/Curtain Down’ functions – perhaps the novelty should wear off quickly for most adults, but not for me. Other space-age mod cons included a Mediahub™ to connect your own gadgets to the TV, turning it into an entertainment system, and The Hotel.App, which provided concierge-style services on your phone.
Come breakfast time, it was a short trip up to the Panorama Lounge for a continental breakfast including melt-in-the-mouth pastries, gourmet fruit juices and healthy muesli. Like the bedrooms, this area came complete with plenty of reading material – in fact, a whole library-style area carrying key fashion books such as Carine Roitfeld’s Irreverent. The guests who weren’t motivated by style may have preferred to nip down to floor 23 for the state-of-the-art gym and spa (known as The Urban Spa & Fitness) instead.
So, aside from tourists like me, who else checked into The Hotel? It was a prime spot for meetings, with a schedule placed in the lobby telling you which of the 12 boardrooms UNESCO or the Security Council would be assembling in that day; there were also quite a few medical conferences going on. This really was the place to be, whether you were visiting for business or pleasure. I also found it useful for reaching the city centre, as the major sights were within easy walking distance along the cobbled streets.
As you can probably tell, it was really hard to find any negative points about my stay. The only changes I would make would be to incorporate more eco-friendly policies into the rooms, such as a recycling bin and perhaps a way of indicating that you don’t want towels or bedding changed every day, to save energy (most hotels tell you to leave your towels in the bath if you need them changed). Whilst there are some eco initiatives in place, such as re-using waste heat and implementing LED lighting, it would be great to see even more progress made in this area.
- The Hotel has 421 rooms and suites, ranging from Superior to The Suite. All rooms include a minibar with complimentary drinks (yes, really), unlimited free Wi-Fi and fantastic views of Brussels city. It has an official four star rating.
- Fine dining is available on the ground floor, in the form of The Restaurant by Pierre Balthazar, who is Culinary Director. He created the menu with help from three other top chefs, bringing flavours of French, Italian and Thai food to the table, as well as Belgian dishes.
- Regular fashion-themed exhibitions are held in and around the lobby, as arranged by The Hotel’s Fashion Manager. The first exhibition, Louis Vuitton and Travel, shows how style and functionality can be combined.
- If you’re travelling by Eurostar, it’s only three stops away from the Midi Station – just hop on either a 2 or 6 train in the direction of Elisabeth. A single journey costs €2.10.
For a comfortable and relaxing stay in Brussels, I can highly recommend The Hotel. It’s a welcoming and impressive base during your time in this city, with its finger on the pulse of technology and trends.
Disclaimer: This trip was planned with the assistance of Visit Flanders and input from Visit Brussels. To find further information about travelling to Brussels, please visit www.visitflanders.co.uk for more details.