Luxury Benelux

By Bella Sovmiz:

Definitive exclusive hotel guide

Before the EU, there was Benelux. The tri-country state was the original economic union of european states, which was formed after WWII and proved such a success that the members renewed their agreement in the 21 century. For many of us, the countries’ abundant financial services and political importance create opportunities for business trips. Still the rest of us wish to explore the museums and UNESCO-protected medieval architecture of the small but mighty states. Whatever your motivation, visiting Benelux is a great idea and combining the counties has never been easier, as the distances make it for a brisk and pleasant drive. And if you do, we have the best places to rest your head in right here.

1. The Hotel – it’s in the name

Located in the centre of Brussel’s shopping district, The Hotel is actually ideally located for exploring the key city in the EU. Historic landmark Grand Place is only a 10-minute stroll away. The chic Sablon Square, where you can indulge your sweet tooth and catch some live music, if you are lucky, is even closer. The Royal Conservatory is a mere few blocks of walking.

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The exclusive property sits between such stores as Burberry, Hermès and Gucci, so you know you are in good company. And the crowd it attracts is just as illustrious, seeing as their Tea Time and The Restaurant by Pierre Balthazar attract the crème de la crème of town, whether visiting or permanently stationed here.

The Hotel’s dedication to exclusive fashion is evident in the design of the rooms, minimalistic, yet plush. Booking a panorama suite is the best policy for this property, as it gives you two undeniable advantages. First, you get the bird’s eye view of the powerful city, looking over the magnificent and monumental Palace of Justice. Second, you get access to an exclusive Panorama Lounge, should you tire of the luxurious hotel lobby bar and want to sit your champagne in peace and quiet, sitting on top of the world.

2. Van Cleef Boutique Hotel – Bruges landmark

Bruges was on everybody’s radar because of a certain movie but we like to think of it as everything you expect Venice to be, except much better. Less crowded, more rustic, cleaner and positively more authentic, Bruges is a must-see. It is not everyday that you get to drive into a walled medieval city via an actual drawbridge over a moat/canal.

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Now the city is full of beautiful gothic buildings and intricate architecture. Variety of tours are available to introduce the visitor to Bruges rich (literally) past and its rise to prominence, as a business centre centuries back. It may have lost economic importance to nearby Antwerp but has lost none of its charm.

Entertainment wraps up fairly early, so plan your day to catch dinner and be able to see the many small but elegant stores. It’s even more important to make sure that your place of stay is somewhere you can’t wait to go back to at night.

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Van Cleef Boutique Hotel is one such place, of course. Each suite of the hotel is themed and appointed with designer items, with entire floors dedicated either to Missoni or Hèrmes. The breakfast and bar terrace gives you the most photo-friendly backdrop of Bruges canals and serves up some delectable aperitif’s. And the lounge area transports you right into the time of Hemingway and other early 20th century literary genius. Plush, light and airy and filled with exquisite furnishings, the hotel feels like a real-life time machine into a more glamorous and refined era.

3. Kings of reinvention – Conservatorium, Amsterdam

Amsterdam needs no introductions. The city welcomes millions of tourists, with different plans and agendas. For those that are attracted to the illustrious high life of Amsterdam, as well as its many famous museums, there is only one address to bookmark – Conservatorium.

The hotel has hosted a list of Hollywood celebrities from Oscar-winning actors to Grammy-decorated entertainers. It’s easy to see why.

Location is impeccable, as the doors of the hotel literally bring you to the door step of the Van Gogh museum. The design of the ultra-luxurious property is the finest Italian direction, mixed in with some interesting authentic details that tell a story.

For example, the spacious bathroom of all the guest rooms are adorned with marble local to Israel, as a nod to the proprietors’ roots. The hotel building’s past as a bank is still alive in the massive vault in one of the exclusive stores on the ground floor. Even the upstairs bathroom of the luxurious suites has a door so thick, it can double up as a panic room. And the building’s past as a music conservatory is proudly displayed via a violin-themed chandelier.

The entire property is luxurious and exclusive, yet, the privately owned establishment is in competition with itself, it seems. Not content with a popular Brasserie that gathers the rich and beautiful of the city for weekend brunch, the hotel also hosts Schilo Van Coevorden’s concept restaurant Taiko, which changes specialties every month.

If you want to trump a certain multi-million record-selling artist, why don’t you book the Penthouse Suite? It comes complete with walk-in closets, bird’s eye view of the entire lobby area below, Hennessy with a 4-figure price tag and much more. Amsterdam has never been this indulgent.

This sums up our recommendations for your stay in Benelux. Be it pleasure or business, you can count on the original European Union to satisfy your most demanding tastes.

Bella Sovmiz