“A 21-roomed pale-but-interesting hotel in central Antwerp with spa and bar; perfect for a stylish weekend”
The hotel has 21 rooms, split into 3 categories. The cheapest rooms are called Mood Rooms and are large with a bath or shower and a minimalist look. Some are at the front of the hotel, overlooking a street with tram tracks; windows are double-glazed but you may still experience noise.
The next size up are the Dreamer Rooms, where I stayed; huge spaces with kingsize beds, concealed cupboards, plasma TVs and enormous bathrooms with a shower and bath. Largest of all are the Julien Experience Rooms, which again have a bath and shower; an hour’s use of the spa is included for guests staying in this room type.
All rooms are pale and pared back, with Bose sound systems, Jacob Jensen phones, Krups coffee machines and a small and pricey minibar with Neuhaus chocolates among its delights. Bathrooms are stocked with REN products and are again calming and pale. The furnishings are just on the right side of minimalism - there are no rugs and just 1 or 2 pictures on the wall (all part of the hotel’s art gallery and for sale).
The Breakfast Lounge serves a typical continental spread, with a small but well-chosen selection of specialist cheeses. You can also have breakfast in your room or on the roof terrace.
You can order tea, coffee and stronger drinks at the bar from 10am, as well as homemade cake and a limited selection of bland light bites such as Caesar salad, tomato soup and beef carpaccio.
Hotel Julien no longer has a restaurant, but as eating out is one of the great pleasures of being in Antwerp, this is no bad thing. At the end of the street, turn right on to Melkweg to find a selection of cafés and bars. I had the most divine apple cake in Café XO and would thoroughly recommend it.
Other addresses to look out for include Dôme, the city’s famed Michelin-starred joint, which also has offshoots Dôme sur Mer (a fish restaurant) and Dômestic (a bakery/deli). Vertigo on Draakplaats is an Antwerp institution, a bar with live music, cocktails, world food and whisky. For an intimate experience, try Puur Personal Cooking, where the owner is also the chef and waiter and cooks for you in his own kitchen. It’s one of many home restaurants and pop-ups around the city.
The hotel accepts children of all ages. It’s within walking distance of the city’s major sights, which is a major plus point. The hotel can provide baby cots (free) or extra beds (additional cost) but there are no child-friendly facilities.
Children (4-12 years)
Mood Rooms have space for a baby cot; Dreamer Rooms can fit a rollaway bed. Julien Experience Rooms can fit a baby cot and a rollaway bed.