Advisors and consultants Luxury Hotels

BRUSSELS – 3

Girlahead realises she did not finish her Brussels bonanza, and bonanza it was. After relishing staying right in Antwerp’s glorious botanic garden, integral with the stunning Botanic Sanctuary hotel and spa, it seemed appropriate to look at Brussels’ botanic garden. As one might expect, this is bigger than Antwerp’s, but definitely less well-thought out and tended. As one Brussels friend warned, by the way, don’t go there at night.

Not IN the Brussels garden but right next to it is a shiny glass tower, 21 floors of it (it’s visible behind greenery to the left of the image above). This houses The Hoxton Brussels, an Ennismore hotel. The tower opened as IBM headquarters in 1974. It then housed Belgium’s federal police before evolving to hospitality.  Now owned by Baltisse, it has 198 bedrooms, unfortunately in 1970s retro style, on floors 13-21 of the building, with co-working and offices taking up the rest of the space.

Girlahead was assigned #1309, a ‘superior’ room, and, being that category,  10 metres  long (good thing as all rooms are only three metres wide). . This did allow for an okay bathroom, though the deliberately-pink chinaware had one of those washbasins with no flat surfaces on its surround. There was a big bed, a jutting-from wall table-desk with Roberts radio, and seating. A handled paper bag offered basic breakfast delivery (as at Munich Forum when this Brussels building was born).

Check-in was at ground level but then you go down 17 wood stairs to the elevators, and a jovial all- day bar-restaurant on the ground floor). There was no fitness centre so Girlahead perambulated in the park, making sure she could always see at least two separate groups of people. Then it was back for dinner, in the lower-level Cantina Valentina. Places were set with side-plate sized orange and white Mexican china, and rough non-shiny cutlery, the standard considerably elevated by pink damask Fili d’Oro linens – which complemented the Rumeurs Rosé Provence L’Escarelle 2022. Ordered items came quickly, brought by anyone, a  barman here, a girl in own-clothes there, always smiling and near-running rather than walking.

Whereas dinner was passable bijou and spicy compositions, main breakfast was, admittedly, a challenge. Set plates only: yoghurt drowning in a sweet sauce, berries and dark brown granola, no omelettes but spicey scrambled. Good points at this hotel included, overall, excellent no-password connectivity, a really willing under-25s workforce mostly wearing mufti and all happy to do anything. A couple of other over-25 guests were, by the way, spied at an otherwise near-empty breakfast.

One of the happy memories of this Ennismore excursion (which may not be repeated, at least as a Hoxton is concerned) was charming drawings on hotel information literature – see below.  Girlahead dropped a note to the GM, Chaim Scheepers, on departure. She wanted to find out about these drawings. But, as they say, answer came there none. Perhaps Mr S does not exist.