Hidden away within the mid-19th-century grandeur of Brussels’ Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, the recently opened Hotel des Galeries is an ode to contemporary Belgian design. Which is especially appropriate, since the royal galeries, in their original heyday, were centers of art and culture, attracting such francophone luminaries as Victor Hugo and Paul Verlaine.
Conceived by Nadine Flammarion, of the publishing magnate family, the intimate boutique hotel’s industrial- and vintage-inflected style comes from the minds of two of Belgium’s top designers, who in turn sourced custom furnishings from local artisans—like carpets by Toulemonde Bochart and tables by Sylvain Willenz. Each of the uniquely decorated rooms and suites is bright and colorful, meant to feel like a private pied-à-terre, with rough-hewn parquet floors, colorful geometric ceramic bathroom walls, and large windows with views over the galeries, the Cathedral, or the historic rooftops. The aesthetic extends to the acclaimed restaurant, which is less a hotel restaurant and more the kind of Old World café where artists and intellectuals gather for its lively and relaxed scene. Perhaps the galeries haven’t changed so much, after all.