The Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo is a luxurious, 173-room property set in the historical heart of Brussels and it includes 19 suites with a simple decor, top-quality dining with a cosy ambiance. The property is the quintessence of simple sophistication, and the welcoming and courteous employees strive to make all guests feel welcome. The location could hardly be more central as it is just off the Grand Place and minutes’ walk from several tourist attractions. The rooms are spacious and stylish with a modest luxury and eating and drinking options are excellent including sumptuous breakfasts with a high-end Italian cuisine. This is the first choice for business moguls, film stars, and presidents, but also for those who do not mind paying a premium price for staying somewhere special. The clientele is mostly affluent tourists and corporate business guests, and the signed portraits of celebrities and VIP guests grace the hotel walls to attest to their stay.
Accessibly located, the hotel offers guests quick and easy access to many of Brussels’ attractions, such as La Grande-Place square; Parc de Bruxelles, the city’s largest urban public park; the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium; and the famous Manneken-Pis statue. Other tourist attractions in the area include the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate about a block away. The area also has good public transport connections with the central train station under a 10 minutes’ walk. The hotel forecourt also has a pickup area for taxis, and Brussels Airport is about 20 minutes’ drive away.
This capital city of Belgium is well known for its gastronomy and stunning architecture that even people visiting for business make time to enjoy Brussels at their leisure, taking in the charming destination with beautiful scenery and architecture, friendly locals, great boutique and antique shopping, and plenty of culinary options including Irene and Lydia Forte who may be based in London, but they often travel via train to Brussels for meetings at Hotel Amigo, a property owned by their hotelier father Sir Rocco. Irene (Rocco Forte Hotel’s Brand Manager) and Lydia (restaurant and beverage development) were once quoted saying “Brussels is definitely having a creative moment, with an emerging contemporary art scene and cutting-edge concept shops and galleries popping up all over.”
There is in fact so much to see and do, and there are some fantastic boutiques, art experiences, and museums in Brussels that should not missed. Given Hotel Amigo’s location, it is very convenient to catch a tram or taxi to the Boghossian Foundation. In 2010, the Villa Empain—a 1930’s home in Brussels—was converted into a gallery and art centre by the Armenian-Lebanese Boghossian family. The resulting Boghossian Foundation not only promotes cultural exchange and education between eastern and western countries, but it ultimately hopes to use fine arts to inspire children and teenagers from around the world resulting in cultural understanding and appreciation. Classed as a historical monument by the Brussels-Capital Region, the Boghossian Foundation is a cultural association, which hosts a rich artistic programme and unique activities all year round: exhibitions, concerts, and conferences, dance performances, workshops for children, artist encounters, guided tours, meetings, film screenings, performances, yoga classes, and so on. Located in an upmarket residential area, it is an Art Deco masterpiece. From the striking front door to the rear swimming pool, the former home of Baron Louis Empain oozes a timeless chic. Designed by Swiss architect Michel Polak, it is now a museum promoting dialogue between eastern and western culture. There are some fascinating temporary exhibitions, such as a recent one featuring artworks by Daniel Buren, Jeff Koons, and Andy Warhol.
Amigo depicts a refined and distinctive style with an understated, calm luxury. Guests appreciate the stylish, artistic touches that make each bedroom unique. The attention to detail includes fixtures and fittings with a distinctive yet clear Belgian touch, surrealistic prints from Belgian artists such as Marcel Broodthaers and Rene Magritte are featured in many guestrooms—giving the feeling that it is not just another international hotel.
Talking about luxury, one cannot forget the oldest fine leather luxurious goods brand in the world, Delvaux which was founded in Brussels in 1829 by Charles Delvaux. Delvaux has been a warrant holder to the Royal Court of Belgium since 1883—a title it still holds today. Outstanding craftsmanship, high quality standards—and a deep sensitivity toward luxurious goods—define this exceptional house, where skilled artisans have devoted themselves to the production of timeless bags and accessories. Each Delvaux creation is handmade, originating from the brand’s own ateliers. The Delvaux luxury leather goods boutique on Galerie de la Reine is in close proximity to the hotel and in the holiday season of the year 2015, Hotel Amigo teamed up with Delvaux to create a special Christmas tree for the hotel on the theme of the surrealist Belgian painter Magritte, who was originally from Brussels too.
Carine Gilson’s Couture House is another must visit especially, for female travellers and guests at Hotel Amigo. Specialising in luxurious underpinnings and beachwear with a coquettish twist, the pieces are beautifully crafted from sumptuous Lyon silk and Chantilly lace all hand-stitched in the designer’s Brussels workshop. An avid storyteller, Gilson’s work is inspired by aspects such as the Garden of Eden and romantic architecture that form the most unique and beautiful range of lingerie. Receiving industry acclaim in the likes of Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar, her matching sets and nightwear are a work of art to those that appreciate intimate luxury.
All the rooms feature large and well-equipped, marbled bathrooms. The simplest ‘classic’ rooms are 28 sqm, but there are several levels of luxury suites, some with interconnecting doors to adjacent rooms for families with children who might predominantly enjoy the ‘Tintin Suite’ where visitors will find all sorts of prints, characters, and collectables from Hergé’s famous comic book series The Adventures of Tintin at the hotel. Cribs, babysitting, and a children’s club are also available for children. For active guests a gym and fitness centre are provided. The very top of the range is the Armand Blaton Suite, which is a presidential suite category, with a large rooftop terrace overlooking the city.
Hotel Amigo is a special place that truly embodies the city of Brussels such that when Olga Polizzi designed the hotel, she immersed herself in the destination, in order to incorporate local touches. Superbly located in the very heart of Brussels, adjacent to one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, Grand Place, close to Brussels’ financial district and within easy walking distance of the antiques district of Le Sablon, Hotel Amigo clearly provides a stylish and central base, from which to explore the city. Celebrity or not, guests can expect to receive star treatment at this historic hotel that has an ideal location and a reputation for excellence, which is absolutely justified.