When in Brussels: stay at the sophisticated Sofitel Le Louise
Formerly known as Toison d’Or, Sofitel Brussels Le Louise boasts a fresh identity. Its transformation is part of the Sofitel upgrading strategy. The hotel was completely renovated in 2008, at a cost of €11 million and the result is stunning. Sofitel remains one of the strongest, most reliable and consistent brands worldwide. Le Louise proves it again.
Twenty minutes from the Brussels Zaventem international airport and fifteen minutes from the Gare du Midi high speed train station, Sofitel Brussels Le Louise is easily accessible from the motorway and the two underground stations, “Louise” and “Porte de Namur”. The hotel has made a major contribution to the renewal of this part of the city, the “Champs-Élysées” of Brussels where most luxury brands are established. The environment is perfect for shopping therapy and a short distance from the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Musée Magritte and other cultural destinations. Close to the 16th and 19th-century Flemish houses and the antique dealers district, the hotel can’t be better located.
While the design was supervised by interior designer, painter and sculptor Antoine Pinto, the bedrooms were conceived by architect and designer Étienne Bouten. The hall features a majestic 18th century-inspired amethyst and blue crystal chandelier giving the space a sense of “carnival extravagance” and luxury. The lobby shows clear lines and displays comfortable mauve and black sofas, silver armchairs overlooking the lovely garden terrace, said to be the largest terrace of Brussels. Above the reception desk, miniature reproductions of the chandelier cast a soft, elegant light, an interesting detail.
Étienne Bouten meticulously decorated the 169 rooms and suites of Sofitel Brussels. Le Louise feels pretty much like a “boutique hotel” and boasts a modern, timeless atmosphere. The concept plays with contrasts, blending comfort and aesthetics: natural wood, chromed steel, light shades and bright colours are perfectly mixed. The rooms are extremely comfortable of course! The wengé-wood furniture, the steel of the bedside tables and lighting fixtures, the mauve of the armchairs and the lampshades give the rooms a refined, contemporary look. The cherry on the cake is probably the Fornasetti cushions, different in each room. The eclectic chic of the interiors reinterprets Belgian traditions and history: the reference to the Magritte pipe, the crystal, the apples, the striking stairs etc. Sofitel Le Louise is cosy and warm and the bedrooms have all the modern amenities needed for a comfy stay: Flat screen TV, WiFi.
Art is everywhere in the hotel too and four times a year, a curator presents exhibitions in its premises. The latest was a show of Illustrator Charlie Adam’s drawings which ended on 8th January.
Sofitel Brussels Le Louise continues to be Brussels’ favourite spot for celebrities, artists, singers, politicians, CEOs or diplomats.
Before joining the Crystal Lounge restaurant, chef Adwin Fontein worked with various Michelin-starred restaurants and received many awards. His cuisine is innovative, light and sophisticated. The menu revisits Mediterranean classics with an Asian twist. The lounge seats up to 80 guests. Its restaurant, which seats 50, and its bar are open every day and offer the possibility of eating anytime. The service is impeccable.
Asked for the 5 top-things to do while in Brussels, the hotel director suggested these tips:
- Eat a Belgian waffle on the Grand Place.
- Taste a Belgian Beer on Place du Grand Sablon.
- Travel across the Belgian history by visiting the Atomium, the Magritte Museum or the Comics museum.
- Learn more about the Art Déco Style at the Horta House.
- Ride a Villo bike across the several parks (Bois de la Cambre, Parc du Cinquantenaire, Mont des Arts).
As well as subscribing to Planet 21, the sustainable development programme launched by the AccorHotels group, the second Sofitel branch in Brussels, the Sofitel Brussels Europe, is committed to the protection of the planet. Six beehives have been installed on the hotel’s roof. Following other Sofitel hotels in Marseille Vieux-Port for instance or Paris Opera, the bees are producing their honey on this roof. How cool is that?