Once just another of the European capital’s many high-end hotels, the Sofitel Le Louise recently underwent a complete transformation, enlisting two of Belgium’s most talented designers to turn it into a stylish and sophisticated luxury destination. The bright and airy rooms are outfitted with all the latest high-tech amenities, and they’re decorated in a sleek but comfortable style of wood and chrome that attracts both business travelers and lovers of contemporary luxury. It’s the Crystal Lounge, though, that captures imaginations; a retro supper club–style restaurant and bar, the Crystal Lounge has become one of Brussels’ hottest spots. Its 40-foot alabaster bar and softly lit outdoor terrace buzz nightly with the wealthy and powerful, who sip inventive cocktails and dine on creative local cuisine, against the backdrop of live music. And, as if that weren’t enough, the hotel is ideally situated on the border of the historic city center and the fashionable Avenue Louise shopping district.
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On the southeastern edge of Brussels’ historic city center, the Sofitel Le Louise straddles the border between the city’s iconic sights and one of its most fashionable neighborhoods. Just outside the historic center is Avenue Louise, Brussels’ main designer shopping drag. It’s surrounded by independent boutiques and charming cafés and restaurants. Across the bustling Avenue de la Toison d’Or, the picturesque Parc d’Egmont is a popular spot to soak up the sun in the warmer months, or enjoy a fancy brunch at L’Orangerie any time of year. The nearby Marolles neighborhood is filled with hip wine bars, atmospheric restaurants, trendy shops, and scenic squares, including Le Wine Bar and the Place du Jeu de Balle flea market. Sights such as the 19th-century architectural marvel of the Palais de Justice and the Gothic Eglise Notre Dame de Sablon, on the picturesque Place du Grand Sablon, are also nearby.
Need to Know
Rooms: 169 rooms, 10 suites. From $184. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: A sleek, retro-inspired affair that attracts a well-heeled, see-and-be-seen crowd of Brussels locals, the Crystal Lounge serves an acclaimed menu of whimsical takes on classic French cuisine, with an Asian twist. In warmer months, the atmospherically lit dining room opens onto an outdoor terrace, for alfresco dining. The equally sophisticated bar lures discerning guests with its creative, award-winning cocktails. Here, unique flambéed drinks can be eaten rather than sipped. Spa and gym details: While the hotel does not have a spa, it does have a fully equipped modern gym with top-of-the-line equipment. The in-room Hermès and L’Occitane toiletries are nearly as soothing as a spa treatment, especially when paired with some of the suites’ spa-worthy bathrooms.
Who's it best for:Luxury lovers and business travelers with a sense of style. Our favorite rooms:Aimed at wellness fiends, the So Well Suite has a bathroom to rival a spa, complete with color therapy, a Turkish hammam, and a whirlpool tub. For families: The Sofitel may not appear to be a kid-oriented hotel—all the better for couples and those seeking a grown-up atmosphere—but its decadent Sunday brunch is not only free for kids but also includes special, family-friendly entertainment.