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Belgium

NH Collection Grand Sablon

NH Collection Grand Sablon opens in Brussels

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NH Hotel Group has celebrated the opening of another hotel under its NH Collection brand, the NH Collection Grand Sablon in Brussels. This is the second of the Company’s upper-upscale brand in the Belgian capital, adding to its 67 existing hotels around the world.

Located in the very heart of the city, the NH Collection Grand Sablon is in the Sablon district renowned for its many antique shops and art galleries. The hotel comprises 192 fully refurbished rooms, as well as 11 function rooms which can host 250 people.

The commitment of the Company’s upper-upscale brand to haute cuisine is once again present in its second NH Collection hotel in the city. Those staying at NH Collection Grand Sablon, or those who wish simply to enjoy the finest quality cuisine in Brussels, can do so at Hispania Brasserie and at Hispania Gastronomique, the restaurant headed up by renowned chef, Marcos Morán (1 Michelin star).

With the opening of the Company’s second hotel in Brussels under its upper-upscale brand, NH Hotel Group is continuing to consolidate a brand which only last year appeared in countries like the Netherlands and Germany.

The Company also launched new locations throughout Europe, as was the case in the Americas, and also reopened flagship hotels in Rome, Madrid and Barcelona.

Courtyard Brussels EU opens in the capital’s European Quarter

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Courtyard by Marriott continues to expand across Europe with the opening of Courtyard Brussels EU. Ideally located in the heart of the European Quarter near the vibrant city centre, the hotel offers convenient access to the Grand Place, Magritte Museum, European Commission and Brussels International Airport.

Inviting the modern traveller to work and play, the hotel features the latest Courtyard by Marriott design to ensure a refreshing and productive hotel experience.

180 guestrooms and suites are thoughtfully designed with comfort and convenience in mind. Elsewhere in the hotel, guests can sample Scandinavian cuisine in the Bistro GåRD – Nordic Kitchen, and enjoy the use of a 24-hour market providing refreshments and travel accessories. Other facilities include a fully-equipped fitness centre, and a business centre with three meeting rooms, including a flexible 72m2 venue. Complimentary high-speed WIFI is available throughout the hotel.

Courtyard Brussels EU

Courtyard Brussels EU’s stylish and spacious lobby welcomes leisure and business travellers to meet, socialise, work or relax. Courtyard by Marriott’s unique GoBoard concept offers touchscreen technology to allow users to view the latest airport information and research popular tourist attractions.

This new opening marks the arrival of Courtyard by Marriott’s second hotel in the city, and increases Marriott International’s presence in Belgium to six properties.

Hilton Garden Inn Brussels Louise

Hilton Garden Inn Brussels Louise opens

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Hilton Garden Inn is pleased to announce the opening of Hilton Garden Inn Brussels Louise. The 143-room property is located in the heart of the city, in the art deco quarter of Brussels close by to the European Parliament.

“We are delighted to bring the Hilton Garden Inn brand to Brussels and to be able to serve the many tourists and business travelers who visit each year. It is exciting for Hilton Garden Inn to have presence in such an important European city,” said John Greenleaf, global head, Hilton Garden Inn. “Our new hotel joins more than 45 Hilton Garden Inns across Europe and offers guests a convenient and enjoyable place to stay.”

Hilton Garden Inn Brussels Louise is ideally set just off the beautiful Avenue Louise, the city’s upscale shopping area. The property is also within close proximity to Brussels International Airport and the Brussels South Station is just two metro stops away. With its 53 junior suites and seven two-bedroom suites both with kitchenette, Hilton Garden Inn Brussels Louise offers the perfect combination for both short and extended stays.

Hilton Garden Inn Brussels Louise

“The new Hilton Garden Inn is the perfect base for leisure travelers coming to explore the city, business travellers attending a nearby meeting and extended stay guests,” says Joris Cammaer, general manager, Hilton Garden Inn Brussels Louise. “Just a short walk from the hotel are main tourist sites and museums of Brussels: Grand Place, Royal Palace, Magritte Museum, and Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. We can’t wait to welcome guests and show them what Hilton Garden Inn has to offer”.

In addition, Hilton Garden Inn Brussels Louise boasts the Lounge Bar which serves hot and cold drinks, special draft Belgian beers* and a small bites menu. The Pavilion Pantry is also available, featuring a complete selection of salty snacks, sweet treats, cold beverages and frozen items, open 24 hours.

Hilton Garden Inn guests are treated to standard brand amenties and services, including complimentary W-Fi throughout the hotel, a 24-hour business centre, and fully-equipped fitness centre. All guest rooms boast the brand’s signature bedding featuring fresh, white duvets and crisp linens, as well as a spacious and clutter-free work desk with an ergonomic desk chair.

Kerylos Intérieurs gives The Avenue, Brussels a fresh new lookBrussels

Kerylos Intérieurs gives The Avenue, Brussels a fresh new look

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Located within the Hotel Barsey by Warwick in Brussels, The Avenue by Barsey restaurant recently unveiled a dramatic new look created by Paris-based interior design agency Kerylos Intérieurs.

Already recognised as a pivotal destination on the culinary map of Brussels, the brief was to create an interior environment befitting of the restaurant’s stellar reputation.

In three short months, Kerylos Intérieurs were able to create a luxury space that maintained the existing structure with a strong new personality.

Based on an alchemy of comfort, warmth and luxury, the design plays on a contrast between full and empty spaces, ornate finishings against a simplified linear layout and a monochrome structure filled with touches of rich hues.

www.kerylosinterieurs.com

Radisson RED opens first property in Brussels, Belgium

World’s first Radisson RED Hotel opens in Brussels, Belgium

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Rezidor announced this week the opening of the world’s very first Radisson RED hotel in Brussels, Belgium.

Radisson RED is a new hotel philosophy and lifestyle brand that aims to reflect the millennial mindset. Inspired by art, music and fashion, the brand incorporates bold design and breaks the traditional model of hotels. Radisson RED recognises that today’s guests seek a DIY, customisable experience driven by technology. The hotel is operated by The Rezidor Hotel Group which is also headquartered in Brussels. The brand currently has 14 additional hotels under development worldwide.

“Radisson RED is Carlson Rezidor‘s new lifestyle select brand inspired by the ageless millennial mindset. It boasts a forward-thinking design and offers a new guest experience fueled by personal interaction and personal choice. It is a true recognition of the increasingly important role that technology plays in facilitating the best of everyday life – home or away,” said Wolfgang M. Neumann, President & CEO of the Rezidor Hotel Group.

“Today is a great day for us. We are tremendously proud to open the very first Radisson RED hotel in Brussels, Belgium. It is a clear statement of our trust and commitment to the European capital, whose love for fashion, music and art has inspired us to create a stunning addition to this great city. The entire Radisson RED cast is thrilled and all set to showcase a whole new hotel experience to the world,” said Eric De Neef, Chief Commercial Officer of The Rezidor Group.

The new hotel brand appeals to tech-savvy guests by offering a non-traditional experience. Radisson RED is created for millennial travelers, who are thrill-seekers and have an outspoken desire for immediate gratification. They simply don’t understand why some hotels charge extra for high-speed internet, they love small surprises that leave big impressions, they are all about creating connections and sharing experiences, they live and breathe internet and mobile, they love flexibility and expect a cheerful personal touch. Radisson RED aims to deliver on all these expectations.

Radisson RED Blog
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Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce

Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce, Bruges

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I still consider the historic centre of Bruges (or to use its correct, local name; ‘Brugge’) to be a relatively ‘hidden gem’. Of the numerous locations around Europe deemed appropriate for a city break, Bruges somehow still features low down on the lists of many people. Yet – and I say rather selfishly, ‘unfortunately’ – I figure it won’t stay this way for long as more and more people discover and fall as hopelessly in love with this beautifully quaint city as I have.

Be it summer or winter, there is an effortlessly relaxed vibe about Bruges; it’s a city comfortable with and yet nonchalant about its appeal, as if it doesn’t quite know how remarkable it is – which adds to its lure even more. Befitting a city oozing class and character, its countless independent hotels hidden at the ends of the famous ‘alcoves’ offer the visitor a delightful blend of understated luxury, old-world charm and homely service. Chain hotels can be found dotted around, as modernity begins to encroach, but even they must try to fit in with the city’s medieval aesthetic or set up shop further afield from the historic centre.

Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce

The timbered facade of the ‘canal’ side of the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce

Back in December I boarded the Eurostar headed for this ‘Venice of the North’ to revel in the joys of the city’s Christmas markets and had the pleasure of staying at the four-star, boutique Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce. My companion and I were in good company – it’s rumoured to be a favourite of the-now King and Queen of Belgium as well as the location for filming of the movie ‘In Bruges’ (cue all of those ‘ze alcoves’ jokes…) whose stars Ralph Fiennes and Colin Farrell called the hotel home during the shoot.

The building is made up of four medieval houses that were joined together in the 1720s. Its roots as a focal point of the city’s old business district are clear to see from the exterior, with its half-timbered façade and wooden, canal-side double doors guarding a store where stock used to be traded from. The timbered side of the hotel is also part of a ‘picture-perfect’ image of Bruges emblazoned all over the postcards available around the city, as it overlooks a famous scenic viewpoint on a bend in the main canal (see main image).

The building is set back from the tourist-heavy Woolestraat on a pedestrianised jetty which juts out over the canal. With this in mind, expect to see throngs of tourists using the jetty to take photographs overlooking the canal if you’re staying in one of the 11 ‘courtyard view’ rooms. These 11 make up the majority of the hotel’s 16 bedrooms; the other five offering ‘canal views’.

As soon as we enter the Bourgondisch Cruyce, we’re met with sumptuously elegant and indulgent interiors that hit us immediately. It doesn’t take me long to notice the rustic, wooden floorboards and lime wash wood furnishings set against rather garish light fixtures and Louis Vuitton chests. It’s an odd mix, but an oddly pleasing one. I’m also delighted to see the artwork (original, as I later find out…) scattered on the walls around the ground floor – the owner is clearly a serious collector – with works from the likes of Klimt, Matisse and amazingly Botero.

Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce
Our Superior Deluxe room is a ‘courtyard view’ offering and the bedroom is rustically but comfortably decorated. Antique items adorn the walls and surfaces and a beautiful, Persian-style rug dominates the majority of the floor. Despite the relatively small gap between the building housing the hotel and its neighbouring building (such were medieval architectural trends…), natural light still pours into the room through stylishly dressed double casement windows.

Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce

The lime wash look from the ground level makes its way into the rooms as the doors of the ample-sized wardrobes sport the look as well. It’s in the bathroom, however, where the biggest surprise and most interesting design choice can be found. Decadent, copper-hued marble dominating the walls, more wooden floorboards and ornate lampshades all add a touch of luxury to this well-laid out space – not to mention the superb Damana Earth and Sun toiletries set in a hamper-like basket. It’s at this point my companion sums up the feeling of the room perfectly – “homely, warm luxury,” she says. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

And that feeling is mirrored, if not accentuated, by the hotel’s public spaces. The lounge/bar area sits in an alcove (sorry, I couldn’t resist…) between the reception and lift area up to the rooms above. But it’s the dining room that wins the award for the hotel’s most sumptuous room. Built in an L-shape, its outer walls are all windowed, looking out over the canal, the inner bedecked with antique artworks, clocks and even a floor-to-ceiling tapestry on one of the sides and the floors smothered with more beautiful, detailed rugs. An open (albeit gas-powered) fire sits at one end within an ornate, wooden frame and under a rather sinister-looking Christ-on-Crucifix, a reminder of the very entrenched and deeply-rooted Christian identity of the city. The kitchen fills the rest of the L-shape and allows for easy access for the service team to the 24-cover dining area.

Allow me here an aside from the design elements for a brief moment; and tell you that it’s one of the best settings for breakfast I’ve experienced in my years of staying in hotels. And this, as evidenced by the public spaces and the bedrooms, is why this hotel works so well on so many levels. The owners have pitched the décor to fit in with the romanticism and history of Bruges perfectly, without it being too kitsch or trying too hard. Yet this has been done with an eye for luxury, detail and a guest’s every requirement in mind. It helps, too, that the owners have a well-oiled and professional team working for them throughout the hotel.

Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce

Photo: Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce, TripAdvisor

I’ve stayed in many ‘city hotels’ around Europe. I’ve also stayed elsewhere in Bruges. And yes, there are more salubrious properties to be found in the city – think Duke’s Palace, Hotel de Orangerie and Hotel Prinsenhof – but the family-owned Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce is as close to the perfect city hotel as I’ve found. The owners have a gem of a hotel, an example for others to follow and boutique owners across the continent could learn a thing or two from this superb property. As they’d say in Flemish – ‘prachtig’…

Based on stay in December 2015
relaisbourgondischcruyce.be