Tuesday 12 October 2010

Aloft Hotel Schuman, Place Jean Rey, Brussels

Having opened in September, the Aloft is a trendy and still-shiny hotel in the heart of Brussels' European district. On the outside, it looks like a fairly-funky apartment block, while the lobby has the feel of a smart and rather-lavish student common room. The reception, lounge and bar merge into one elongated loft-style space complete with modernistic and colourful furniture, flat computer screens, a pool table, cartoon-style art, exposed pipes hanging from the ceiling and blond-wood panelling. The circular reception, manned by lively, standing receptionists, is opposite a self-service canteen, where you can help yourself to breakfast or snacks anytime of day or night, charging your purchases to your room bill. The overall effect is striking and different, but not relaxing.

Natural light
The Aloft's bedrooms are surprisingly big for a prime location in a major city. Again, the decor is funky and modern with bright colours and sleek wooden panels, but they are much more homely than the lobby and pleasingly awash with natural light. The windows, the beds and the flat-screen televisions are all unusually large, while the ceilings are high, the smart bathrooms are shining clean and there is a kettle, a safe, an iron and trendy magazines to hand. The Aloft offers free WiFi Internet access throughout the hotel and, even at your desk in your room, it can be quite quick. But all these amenities and space in such a convenient location, doesn't come cheap. Depending on how busy the Aloft is, a double room can cost as much as 280 euros a night. 7/10