By Don Heimburger
Photos by the author or as noted
“I am delighted to introduce the Hotel Amigo, which we restored to its rightful status as the best luxury hotel in Brussels,” said Rocco Forte when the hotel’s renovation was completed in 2002. Forte, owner of the Rocco Forte chain of 14 hotels (some currently under development), which are located in European capitals and in Marrakech, has assembled a group of upper-scale hotels that are designed to provide all the usual higher class amenities and then some.
Located at Rue de l’Amigo 1-3, only a block from the famous Grand Place, considered the center of Brussels and noted as likely the most beautiful square in Europe, the five-star Amigo is ideally situated near the key historical sites, shopping areas, restaurants and entertainment.
The doormen in their black top hats signal a welcome to the hotel; the lobby is small, but neat and classy with a dark-paneled reception counter and polite clerks.
The air-conditioned room was bright, very clean, with a small suite adjoining the bedroom and bathroom. Comfort was key. There was a modern feel to the room which featured furniture and pictures from the Blaton collection and influences from Brussels’ history. The bright bathroom featured a red mosaic vanity top and excellent toiletries.
The room contained Brussels linens, red silk curtains with embroidered velvet details and Flemish chairs and desks. The bed was firm and comfortable. The room was quiet and provided a cozy getaway from busy shopping or touristy activities. I did not try the restaurant for dinner, or the bar, being there only one evening.
A BIT OF HISTORY
The hotel has a bit of history. The original structure on the lot was built before 1522 by a wealthy merchant family and later purchased by the city council and turned into a prison. In 1957 the Hotel Amigo was built by the Blaton family on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition of 1958. During the Rocco Forte renovation in 2000, it underwent a re-styling by Olga Polizzi, the hotel’s director of design. Canvases from artists such as Courtens, Dansaert and Wagemans, together with Flemish wall tapestries from the 18th century, give the hotel a pleasingly modern but still historic flavor.
The morning breakfast included all the necessary eggs, breads, meats and cheeses, juices, coffee, and fruits to satisfy many diverse tastes. The wait staff was pleasant and helpful.
Then hotel was won many awards, including being rated one of the top 100 hotels in the world by the Institutional Investor in 2007. Forbes Traveler rates it one of the top 400 hotels in the world.
European Traveler rates it extremely high as well. We liked virtually everything about it.
• Member of the Leading Hotels of the World
• 174 rooms, including 18 suites and the Blaton Suite (on the top floor with large terrace for excellent views of Brussels)
• In-room telephones, voice messaging, internet connection, cable TV, marble bathroom, minibar, safe, trouser press
• Ristorante Bocconi, with bar in the lobby
• Ballroom for up to 200 guests
• Fitness center
• Transfers from the airport (at a charge)
• 24-hour room service which “arrives on time” (the hotel guarantees this)
• In 2007, room rates for a classic room single were 590e; 720e for an executive room single
• General Manager: Ivan Artolli, since 2002 (fluent in French and English)
• Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org