Established in 1894, the Metropole is considered to be one of the capital's rare palaces, even if this notion doesn't really exist in Belgium. A historical hotel, it has seen several eras pass by, as witnessed in its eclectic decor: French Renaissance, Empire, Italian Baroque, Art Nouveau, Art Déco, Louis XVI and even Contemporary Classic! The icing on the cake though is its gourmet restaurant, of which you should take full advantage (unless your wallet prevents it!).
The hotel is located at number 31 Place de Brouckère. The metro station with the same name is just in front of the hotel and the Grand Place is only 10 minutes away on foot. It takes 15 minutes to get from the hotel to Bruxelles Midi (the main train station), from where the Thalys arrives and departs, directly from De Brouckère station.
The historic Metropole opened in 1894 with a café run by the Wielemans Ceuppens. Once they saw there was a demand for it, they opened the hotel a year later, calling in architect Alban Chambon who teamed up with a well-known decorator. Three eras have marked the life of the hotel: the construction of the café and the reception in 1895, the creation of the bar in 1930, and the extension after the war, explaining the different styles displayed in the hotel. Today, the stars of the moment choose to stay at the Métropole when they come to Brussels. The 'palace' is also regularly used as a location for shooting films. For example, young songbird Joyce Jonathon filmed her first music video inside this hotel.
It's hard to imagine what is hidden within the 'Metropole' (famous as it is), its listed façade hidden by the blinds of the neighbouring cafes. Considered a must-see in Brussels, the Metropole reveals its secrets bit by bit. The entire ground floor (which is also listed) boasts the most noble of materials: marble, leather sofas, a large wooden counter, chandeliers, gilding, stained glass windows... Several eras are brought together here. The lobby has been decorated in an Italian Renaissance style, a sort of Belle Epoque museum where it's fun to just loiter around.
Despite its mature age, the hotel keeps up with the latest trends, seen in the video cameras installed in the entrance hall and the yearly renovations. Once the bar was finished, the establishment was planning on creating some new suites at the end of 2010 and perhaps a spa somewhere down the line. In the meantime, guests can spend their free time in the gym or business centre, where 5 computers are available for use free of charge.
With 298 accommodation units (including 15 suites), the Metropole is considered one of the 'giants' of Brussels. Its hallways (4.3 mi in total!) and guest rooms are equally impressive. With an average surface area of 26m², they provide more than enough space to hold all of their 5 star equipment: free mini-bar, flat-screen television, trouser press, safe and a spacious bathroom with a phone, Metropole hospitality products, combs, bathrobes and a shower.
As for the decor, the tastes follow the Metropole style! Empire, Italian Baroque, Art Nouveau, Louis XVI, Contemporary Classic... It's up to you choose which style suits you best. It might be interesting to know that Annie Cordy opted for an Art Nouveau suite when she was here! Every year, between 10 and 30 rooms are entirely revamped. Dreamt up by an in-house office, they offer a trendy decor created by using noble materials, such as leather and silk. One of the rooms has an ultra trendy bathroom that opens on to bedroom.
Although the walls of the famous Metropole café still belong to the hotel, its management was transferred to an external company. There is also another bar, Le 19ème, open from 10:30am to 2:00am during the week and 3:30pm to 2:00am on Sundays. As for the cuisine, the Metropole really goes all out. Open for lunch and dinner (but closed on Mondays, Sundays, and bank holidays) its Alban Chambon restaurant offers fine cuisine in an Italian Baroque setting that is absolutely divine. Created by a French chef, the dishes are characterised by a small exotic touch that makes all the difference. A special mention must be made of the succulent frozen tapenade added to the homemade gaspacho. Guests will love discovering the Indian garden, which actually serves as the breakfast room. Formerly a reading room, it mixes a classical style (tiling) with an exotic one (ornaments, frescoes, sunshades).
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