The monumental white façade of the Conrad dominates the boutiques of Avenue Louise, the capital’s fashionista thoroughfare. Brussels’ grandest hotel has the biggest rooms in the city—269 of them, decorated in streamlined, contemporary style punctuated with antique touches (perhaps a fine Empire writing desk or aristocratic portrait) to reflect the building’s 19th-century origins. All overlook the posh shops outside or a plaza lined with art galleries, jewelers, and Pierre Marcolini’s fabulous chocolate store. The hotel’s common spaces include a state-of-the-art health club (which includes a plush spa and stunning blue-tiled swimming pool) and a bar, Loui, whose resident mixologist Nicolas Everrard was crowned national bartending champion in 2008. Sink into a leather armchair and order his signature cocktail, the Fancy Rescue—but be warned: the concoction involves strawberries, vodka, and a hint of bubble gum.
Insider Tip: Keep the kids happy with a gift from Serneels, a unique toy store adjacent to the hotel that’s filled with bears, dolls, trains, planes, and tin soldiers (www.serneels.com).
Room to Book: Split-level suite 223 has a four-poster in the upstairs bedroom, marble bathrooms, and a vast lounge below.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.