In the bustling heartland hood of old-town Antwerp, boutique Hotel Julien is your handsome urban sanctuary of style and repose, with the cultural sights of city-centre living right on your cobbled doorstep and captured from the rooftop terrace.
Hidden away behind high grey-glossed doors on a narrow Antwerp street, steps away from the Cathedral of Our Lady, Hotel Julien keeps the urban clatter at bay.
Inside, gallery-like spaces and leafy courtyards that breathe simplicity and design elegance, welcome guests. Thoughtfully renovated modern interiors with an abundance of seductive eggshell tones alternate grand rooms painstakingly restored to respect the 16th century post stamp auction house.
Accustomed to the style of a noble Maison, art fills the walls of the loungy salons of oak planking, marble mosaic floors, original fireplaces, decorative oriental door panels, ornate stucco and curved balustrades which lead to the accommodation suites. Design furniture like calfskin Vitra Eames LCW chairs and Charles & Ray Eames La Chaise complement the toned-down furnishings.
Home to the creative scene of Antwerp, Hotel Julien is deliberately small, adopting a typical house style found in the Belgium city. It has long been established as the cool kid in this wonderful rambling district of independent emporiums of antiquities, jewels, haute couture, artworks and those hard-to-find curios for the home pad.
At Hotel Julien, there are five types of rooms and suites, all spacious and peaceful with authentic wooden beams. The Julien Mood Room and Julien Dreamer Room provide all the signature Julien luxuries: crisp linens, a Carrara marble bathroom, Nespresso coffee machine and Aesop bath products.
The Julien Experience Rooms, either with or without a terrace, are larger, and offer the added luxury of a walk-in shower and separate oversized bathtub.
The hotel’s Julien Experience Suite is the most spacious and boasts a separate living room for added privacy. Every room is given its own atmosphere by the limited-edition photographs from a local gallery, Gallery 51.
When staying at Hotel Julien, breakfast means getting to taste the finest products from local purveyors. With bread from famed bakery Domestic and cheeses from Van Tricht, it’s off to a good start. The offer of grains, jams and other breakfast accoutrements is based on pure and simple organic produce. And if you’re in the mood for eggs – just order them à la minute.
At other moments of the day, enjoy a dish from Hotel Julien’s light meal menu that includes such delights as classic Caesar salad, buffalo mozzarella, smoked salmon on multigrain toast and Moroccan meatballs with pearl couscous.
At the bar with intimate Friz Hansen chairs and a wooden floor made of what used to be wooden cheese storing shelves, you can get a taste of a variety of cocktails.
An off-the-radar vaulted sanctum of chalky whites, wood and terracotta flooring sets the mood of the bijou, private spa which can be reserved either solo or as a couple. A holistic oasis with a hammam, hot-stone table, ice fountain and sauna, with treatments from clean-skincare gurus, REN.
Hotel Julien is the creative brainchild of Mouche Van Hool, who pioneered ‘casual luxury’ some 15 years ago.
With her great passion for interior and design, it came naturally for her to take on the hotel’s interiors herself – with the help of architects for the renovations and restorations. The Julien feels personal – "it is a small hotel of ‘my’ sense of style, I wanted to create a place that felt it was typical of the houses found in Antwerp with history, art and design at its heart. It is very liveable."
Within the historic quarters of Antwerp, Hotel Julien is at a prime spot in this Belgian city. The main square with the Cathedral of Our Lady and the medieval guild residences are about 5 minutes away by foot, and so are plenty of shops and restaurants close to the Groenplaats and environs.
The nearby Plantin-Moretus Museum, one of the world’s oldest printing houses that’s now a museum, is a must-see when in the city – was founded here almost 500 years ago. Whether you’re here for leisure or a weekday business trip, this is a hotel that feels like home.
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