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.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
The Hôtel des Galeries location in the 19th-century Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is as intrinsic to its identity as are its design and restaurant. The shopping arcade is among Europe’s oldest. While filled with some of the city’s coolest shops and eateries, it’s also located right in the heart of Brussels’ historic city center, putting such sights as the landmark Grand Place (the heart of the city and a UNESCO-listed market square) and the city’s cathedral within a stone’s throw. The surrounding cobbled streets are lined with bars, cafés, boutiques, and restaurants, including the century-old À la Morte Subite and the elegant Maison Dandoy tearoom.
Need to Know
Rooms: 23 rooms, three suites. From $222. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Accessed via a separate entrance in the Galerie du Roi and helmed by two alums of Michelin-starred restaurants, the Comptoir des Galeries serves unfussy Belgian cuisine made with the best local ingredients both at its all-day bar and take-out area and in the main restaurant. The airy, rustic-chic dining room is decorated with the same vintage- and craft-inspired eye as the hotel, and attracts a lively crowd of both locals and tourists. Spa and gym details: The hotel has neither a gym nor a spa, but its central location just off the Grand Place means you can get your exercise exploring the city on foot.
Who's it best for: Design-loving couples and independent travelers with a touch of hipster sensibilities. Our favorite rooms: The top-floor suites are extra spacious, with the feel of private lofts, while any room overlooking the galeries has postcard-worthy views, but the one king room with a private terrace steals the show. For art lovers:Pop into the nearby Librairie des Galeries, also owned by the hotelier, which used to be the iconic bookshop Librairie Saint-Hubert. It still stocks a range of art and art books in which one could easily get lost for a few hours.