Made in Louise

Brussels, Belgium Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Delightful and well-priced hotel in a turn-of-the-century building in the Ixelles district, with lovely rooms and superb service
Behind a neo-classical facade, on an unassuming side street, is this purpose-built hotel dating from 1911, which has been given a new lease of life by an enterprising brother-and-sister team. Their meticulous 9-month restoration produced calm, light-flooded interiors; original features sit well with a sleek, contemporary-classic style. Each of the 48 rooms is decorated individually; there's consistency in the palette of white, taupe and black, enlivened by feature walls, witty calligraphy and stripes throughout. The spacious ground floor has a lobby with a wood-burning fireplace, smart bucket chairs and a pool table. Breakfast is taken in a conservatory-style space overlooking the courtyard complete with chess set, while the honesty-bar area beside reception provides a wide choice of drinks and some upscale snacks.

Diverse and Bohemian Ixelles is just to the south of the 'Petite Ceinture' (the historical centre is known as the petite ring) and has long attracted artists and intellectuals. Boutiques line nearby Avenue Louise, and there are restaurants aplenty. The area is especially noted for its spectacular Art Nouveau buildings, whose master craftsman Victor Horta has an eponymous museum that's well worth visiting just a few streets away.

Highs

  • Immaculately maintained and very professionally run; careful attention to detail and excellent, friendly service
  • A perfect boutique hotel for couples, business travellers or families alike to relax and feel at home in
  • We loved the breakfast buffet: lots of choice and very nice fare
  • Great value for the space and style
  • Quiet location yet close to good shops, transport and restaurants

Lows

  • No meals other than breakfast (and the extensive honesty bar), so you'll have to dine out - no hardship in Brussels
  • Not in the very heart of the city - you'll need to walk/take the tram to reach most sights (about 30 minutes' walk to the Grand Place)
  • No twin rooms in the cheaper categories
  • We heard the occupants of the room above walking around

Best time to go

Brussels is a great destination for a city break year-round. It can get busy with conferences at certain times - check in advance of booking your trip.

Our top tips

Get a 'Jump' pass, which allows second-class travel in the Brussels Zone by train, metro, tram or bus. Best to buy the '10 pass' version if you're planning on sightseeing.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 48
  • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 20 Dec 2016 - 27 Dec 2016
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Pool Table
  • Laundry service
Room: ?

Rooms

The turn-of-the-century exterior belies the space within: 3 buildings form an L-shape with common areas at its apex. All 48 rooms are individually decorated - recycled train-sleeper headboards, refurbished vintage furniture, feature wallpaper and period details (including 10 original fireplaces). A handsome curving staircase takes you up 5 floors in the main building; to the rear is the 'cottage', whose rooms overlook the courtyard. Rooms here and in the 'lift building' (named for its elevator) have air-con.

Bathrooms are spick and span: 4 Executive rooms have double walk-in showers, and most Charmings and Executives have tubs. Refillable toiletries are by Nuxe and the Belgian-made bed linen is 100% cotton. Charmings and Executives can be configured as twins; Cosy rooms are ideal for single travellers. Families stay in the Executive rooms, which can sleep 3-4. Black-out blinds behind smart louvered windows along with the excellent bed meant we slept soundly in our Charming room.

Features include:

  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is taken in the light-filled conservatory on the first floor. An extensive buffet is laid out along a purpose-built dresser: fruit salad, home-made cake and waffles, toast and brioche, proper preserves and the most delicious pineapple, ginger and lemon juice. A hot option of scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato and mushrooms sits beside a Continental selection of smoked Ardennes ham and Maredsous cheese.

No other meals are served, although the useful honesty bar, Made in Bar & Market (open until 11pm), has a large selection of beers, wines, soft drinks and hot beverages, plus snacks such as crisps, biscuits and Belgian chocolates.

You've plenty of places for eating out nearby. Just off Avenue Louise is a small pedestrian street with a wide range of cuisines down its length - we ate Italian there. We also devoured a fabulous pile of moules-frites (from the 30 variations on the menu) at quintessentially Belgian Le Chou de Bruxelles round the corner.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Brussels has some great architecture to discover. There's the UNESCO-listed Grand Place, whose buildings date from the 15th century. And Made in Louise is close to many notable Art Nouveau buildings, including some by famed architect Victor Horta
  • There's good vintage and antique shopping around the Place de Jeu de Balle (which holds a Sunday flea market)
  • As in any city there are museums and galleries to browse through. Check out the Royal Museum of Fine Art downtown, which has over 20,000 drawings, paintings and sculptures from the early 15th century. Next door is the newer Magritte Museum
  • There's an impressive Gothic cathedral near the Central Station
  • No trip to Brussels would be complete without sampling its gourmet wares. The Grand Place is surrounded by eateries of varying quality, plus enticing emporiums of delicately constructed chocolate. Some of the artisan beers are still brewed by monks. And don't leave without sampling moules-frites

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Pool table
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Brussels is an easy city to navigate and there's enough to keep restless kids occupied for a long weekend, from museums to parks to the famous Manneken Pis statue. And of course there are frites, chocolat and waffle vans on every street corner…

Made in Louise has few specific facilities for families, but it's so comfortable and well organised that staying here with children is a breeze. The Made in Bar & Market is very handy, too.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

There are 3 family Executive rooms (5 and 65), which have an additional single bed and space for a further rollaway bed; all other Executive rooms sleep 3 easily. Split-level Room 65 is the largest in the hotel and its single bed is in a separate little room under the eaves. A baby cot can be added to all Charming and Executive rooms, and nearly all Charming and Executive rooms have bathtubs.

Babysitting:

Available on request

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs
  • Black-out blinds behind shutters in each room

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

The breakfast buffet has options kids like (yoghurt, fruit salad, home-made cake, scrambled eggs, bacon, cereals). The honesty bar is open until 11pm, though snacks are limited to crisps, biscuits and chocolates. You can also order takeaway pizzas and other dishes from the Italian restaurant nearby

Kids Activities on site:

  • Pool table
  • Puzzle in the lobby

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Children's Museum in Ixelles
  • Belgian Comic Strip Centre and the Museum of Original Figurines provide an insight into Belgium's long cartoon history
  • Natural Sciences Museum in the European Quarter
  • Playground 10 minutes' walk away
  • Parks and gardens; the nearest large one is Parc de Bruxelles, next to the Royal Palace
  • Atomium (a 102m-tall collection of silver spheres) and Mini-Europe (miniature park with 350 European monuments) on the site of the 1958 World's Fair
  • The excellent Musee Hergé, which celebrates the genius of Tintin's creator, is an hour by train or 45 minutes by shuttle bus in the summer

Families Should Know:

There's a big staircase which may be tricky for smaller kids to navigate; there is a lift in one wing of the hotel. The hotel does open straight onto the road outside, but it's pretty quiet. There's a tram stop at the end of the road. You are just 10 minutes from the Eurostar terminal if you take a taxi

Distances:

  • Airport: 25 minutes
  • Hospital: 5 minutes
  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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