Sofitel Brussels Europe
The latest deluxe hotel to emerge in Brussels’ “European quarter” is just a stone’s throw from the EU’s nerve center. Opened in 2006, the Sofitel is built around a semicircular atrium (which ensures lots of natural light) and has 149 rooms decorated in sleek, minimalist luxury. All come equipped with flat-screen TVs, personal espresso machines, and beds made up with Egyptian cotton sheets and goose-down duvets. There’s a small but well-equipped fitness room with cardio and weight machines looking out on an interior waterfall and mock-tropical beach—and you’ll need a workout after visiting the in-house branch of Neuhaus (original Belgian chocolate maker). More gustatory temptations lie just outside—in a square lined with bars serving fine local ales, and at the nearby Chez Antoine, a legendary purveyor of Belgium’s favorite snack: piping hot fries with mayonnaise.
Insider Tip: Jurassic Park fans should take the short walk to the Institute of Natural Sciences, a museum that houses Europe’s biggest dinosaur gallery, including more than 20 giant iguanodon skeletons unearthed in a Belgian coal mine in 1878 (www.naturalsciences.be).
Room to Book: Room 701, otherwise known as the Royal Suite, offers a panoramic view over the leafy Leopold Park and the European Parliament.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.