In the center of Brussels sits one of the oldest, most prestigious and most beautiful covered shopping streets in Europe – Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. The gilded carvings and glass roof that line the corridor make the perfect setting for luxury Belgian chocolate, leather and lace shops. This is THE street to shop in Brussels. It is, quite simply put, an icon.
Just off Beenhouwersstraat , in the center of the Les Galeries, is a hidden hotel gem you’ll fall in love with. Hôtel des Galeries is a boutique property owned by the daughter of one of Belgium’s most famous publishing families. The space was put together by renowned designers Fleur Delesalle and Camille Flammarion. Attention to detail is seen throughout.
Stepping in off the busy alleyway tucked just beyond the Neuhaus chocolate flagship store, you instantly find yourself in a place of calm, rest and high design. A smiling face greets you at the front desk and quickly checks you in – allowing an opportunity to take-in the shelves of artwork and design books. I was given a room on the 4th floor – one of the highest. I got off the small elevator and found myself in a hallway with wide-planked pine floors, whitewashed walls and beautiful windows facing the city. I opened the door to room 45 and was instantly at ease.
The rooms are not big at Hôtel des Galeries, but they are big enough, and reminded me of an old European apartment that had been designed just for me. The only window in my room was a charming skylight on the slanted roof which opened and closed with a wooden hatch. The minimalist decor, reminiscent of what you might see in Stockholm or Copenhagen, was just enough not overwhelm the space, but fill it with essentials like a cozy queen sized bed with white linens, a writing desk, a wall-mounted flat screen television and a sitting chair. The colors were neutral woods, whites and a few bright pops here and there.
The large bathroom, incredibly modern and spacious for European standards, was a delight. Glass and green Art Deco tiles lined the walls and floor. A glassed-in rain shower, soaking tub, porcelain vanity and heated towel rack were all luxurious touches. Down the narrow hall, near the entrance of the room, was a separate toilet area and a built-in bar with Evian, tea and a Nespresso machine available for use.
Breakfast is included in most rates at Hôtel des Galeries. It’s served in a beautiful room at the back of the hotel and is called Les Comptoir des Galeries. You can sit in the well-lit dining area or out in the courtyard which is an inviting setting to enjoy morning coffee, eggs, pain au chocolat and fresh juice.
Service at Hôtel des Galeries is good. Smiles and a willingness to help is the “MO” of the staff here. Don’t expect a slew of bell men greeting you at the door, this isn’t that kind of place. But, instead, a quiet respite and pleasant space to hang your hat while in Brussels. And, to boot, if you’re a shopper and want to see old Brussels, you won’t find a more ideally located property in the city. This hotl is definitely one of my favorites.