Tag Archives: travel
Three nights in Antwerp – where to stay? A
overpriced fancy hotel in the centre of town, a cheap but unpredictable Airbnb, or something more unique – like Boulevard Leopold?
We chose the latter on recommendation by good friends. A handsome 19th century townhouse in the Jewish quarter, it’s billed as a B&B, but it’s not your average Formica-and-nets affair. With three rooms and two apartments, it has the feel of a private upper-crust home, with breakfast served in a plant-filled atrium that looks onto a verdant garden. We stayed in early January but I imagine feasting on the breakfast hams, jams and cheeses al fresco is no bad way to start your summer daytripping here.
In the adjoining lounge the vibe is relaxed and a little dreamy with moody candlelight, bell jars and mysterious tableaux of pictures, books and curiosities decorating every nook. It’s a particular arty aesthetic, one that’s appreciated by the design and fashion guests who can’t help but become repeat visitors.
We stayed in a generously-proportioned, golden-walled room on the second floor. (Note: there’s no lift, it’s not a hyper-modern type of place and that’s all part of the charm.). From the faded-luxe décor – think marble fireplace, foxed mirrors, vintage dressing table – to the comfy velvet armchairs, this is the kind of place you definitely want to spend some time in, soaking up the atmosphere. (Side note: style bloggers I don’t have to tell you this is #OOTD heaven.) The bathroom is gorgeous too, with the same vintage appeal offered by whitewashed floorboards, original radiators and a huge clawfoot tub.
Despite the lack of lifts and hotel extras like room service and a chocolate on your pillow, Boulevard Leopold is perfectly homely with as much come-and-go ease as our London flat. That’s helped by the amiable host, Martin who will leave you in peace if you’re the anti-social type, or answer your every question about Antwerp, vintage shopping, transport and local eateries. Talking of transport, it’s very easy here because the tram stops right outside, or you can do what we did, which is walk everywhere. The location, in the midst of the traditional Jewish district is a big bonus, in keeping with the historic gentle-paced spirit of Antwerp. In short, if you want a place to stay that’s relaxed, authentic and rather special, then Boulevard Leopold awaits your call…
BOULEVARD LEOPOLD, 135 Belgielei, Antwerp. Bedrooms from €125 a night
Disclosure: Boulevard Leopold hosted us for one night of out three-night stay. (The B&B doesn’t accept credit cards – not uncommon in Antwerp – so remember to take enough cash.)
WORDS AND IMAGES: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
PHOTOS TAKEN WITH THE OLYMPUS PEN E-PL7
Check out my Antwerp shopping guide here
I had a very naughty start to the year, choosing to bunk off LCM and go on holiday instead. Tsk indeed! I definitely recommend it though. We picked Antwerp for our city break, our flight was half empty and the three days dawdled by at a pleasantly snail-like pace. We went with no great plans other than to mooch around flea markets, eat moules and just enjoy some we-time. OK, we didn’t have much luck on the flea market front but I did discover a wealth of brocante vendors, vintage boutiques and fancy goods emporia to satisfy my shopaholic tendencies. Here then, is my DRG shopping guide to Antwerp…
I advise catching the early Friday flight from City airport so you arrive with a whole day stretched out ahead. Taxis are a bit of a faff in Antwerp so we decided to do everything on foot, taking the scenic route from our posh B&B (the beautiful BOULEVARD LEOPOLD, separate post coming soon) in the Jewish quarter. Continue reading
If you loved the glimpse of the Artist Residence Hotel I shot in recently (with Vanessa Jackman), here’s everything you need to know about it. Located in London’s genteel Pimlico, it’s the third in a trio of homely residences that feel more like a home away from home than a glam-but-impersonal hotel. The original Artist Residence was born in Brighton in 2008, followed three years later by Penzance. What they share is a mix of heritage-y reclaimed furnishings and fittings with artworks from up and coming talent and a laid back ambience. Continue reading
When in Sweden, one should buy Acne, or that’s the mantra I like to live by. So that’s exactly what I did on my mini-break to Stockholm last month. As guests of Visit Sweden, D (Mr DRG) and I stayed at the one-year-old Hotel Scandic Grand Central availing ourselves of its rather unique Blogger’s Inn room. Continue reading