Room National

Antwerp, Belgium Book from

Reviewed by Laura Dixon
Sexy room and 2 designer suites in the heart of trendy Antwerp, perfect for stylish weekenders
There isn’t a more hip address in Antwerp than 24 Nationalestraat. It’s right next door to the city’s fashion museum MoMu and around 500m from the Modepaleis flagship store of Dries Van Noten. And at Room National you’ll find everything you need for a stylish stay: luxe linens, sculptural lights, sheepskin rugs. Accessed via a narrow staircase, there are 2 suites with large airy bedrooms, living rooms and kitchenettes, plus a double bedroom named and designed for another sort of weekend entirely...

But it’s not just the neighbours that make this a must-stay pad: slap bang in the middle of Antwerp, you’ve got designer shops on the doorstep, chic restaurants a high-heeled totter away, and the Diamond District that built the city 10 minutes away by tram. Spend your days getting to know the best of Europe’s Old Masters, or, if you prefer, introducing yourself to more cutting-edge contemporaries at the city’s incredible galleries. Eat waffles, drink white beer, be merry: Antwerp is a stylish, bohemian and foodie place to visit, so you're sure to have fun.

Highs

  • We loved Suite 1, with its chic grey/white décor, iMac and cool, quirky wooden bathtub
  • But if you want something more adventurous, Room 69 is seriously sexy, with one wall covered by a huge erotic photograph
  • Well priced, considering the stylish décor and unbeatable location
  • Great extras: Rituals products in the bathroom, and in the suites you get Jules Destrooper wafers, quality coffee and a fridge full of beers
  • The friendly, helpful and well-informed owner, Karin, who is always contactable if you need her

Lows

  • This isn't a hotel, so there's no reception or concierge service
  • And no breakfast is served, but the suites have little kitchenettes so you can whip up your own. The double room has no cooking facilites
  • This tall and skinny Antwerp building has steep, narrow stairs and no lift
  • The rumble from the trams and the roar of the traffic is audible in the suite lounges
  • No twin beds, which is a shame as this would be great for friends travelling together

Best time to go

Antwerp is a year-round city; it’s busy and welcoming at all times. January is a little dreary but the shops all have sales; spring is bright and sunny with flowers in the local parks, summer ditto, and autumn can be wonderfully mellow. There are regular arts festivals running throughout the year. Winter is particularly romantic, great for Christmas shopping with markets and lights in the trees and sometimes a sprinkling of snow.

Our top tips

You must try Pierre Marcolini’s chocolates. His flagship store in central Antwerp, walking distance away, shows how he is reinventing the art of Belgian chocolate.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Suites
  • 3
  • Limited self-catering, restaurants nearby
  • Allowed but not ideal
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Don't let the name confuse you: there's actually 1 room and 2 suites on offer here. Room 69 looks like a hotel boudoir and is devastatingly sexy (if a bit on the small side). We’d recommend it for a romantic stay - with a plump bed decked out in golden linen, stunning sculptural lights that look like twisted golden ribbon and an erotic photograph blown up so large that it covers the whole wall, it’s clear what this room is good for.

The 2 suites have a completely different feeling. They look out onto the street and both have a small kitchenette, a bathroom with a shower and tub, and a double bedroom separated from the living area by a windowed door. The upper suite (Suite 1) is all-white: shaggy sheepskin rug, painted floorboards and a vase with white cotton sprigs on the mantelpiece. It has a quirky wooden bath bought in Berlin but annoyingly no full-lenth mirror, which I'd have thought was essential for a style-savvy weekender. The lower suite (Suite 70) is a little more relaxed, with a tweed sofa and a black-mirrored glass table topped with a vase of bright pink blooms in the lounge, and similarly pared-back white bed linen in the simple bedroom.

The whole feel is chic and cheerful - it’s thankfully not po-faced about its sense of style. Being in such a prime location, the last thing you’ll want to do is stay in (unless you’re in Room 69, of course), but you do have the feeling of living like a local in the city, and plenty of space to go with it.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Dvd player
  • Free minibar in the suites
  • Hairdryer
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

This isn’t the place to come if you want to cook in. Room 69 has no catering facilities at all, and while the suites have small kitchenettes with a fridge, microwave, kettle, sink and coffee machine, they're too small for cooking a full meal. But staying here isn’t about the food you can make yourself, it’s about the food you can get out and about in Antwerp: any kind of cuisine under the sun plus speciality white beers.

The closest restaurant Renaissance, just a couple of doors down on Nationalestraat, serves high-end Italian and is a good option if you’re feeling too lazy to walk further. Alternatively, walk left out of the building and you’ll soon come to Groenplaats, a square ringed with bars, restaurants and cafés of variable quality. If you want to go further afield, culinary delights can be found at the top of MAS, the city’s modern art gallery, in the Storm Café (co-owned by one of Room National’s owners).

For breakfast, Karin recommends nearby Le Pain Quotidien; across the road at Camper shoes there is also a sweet little café serving potent coffees and cake, and on Groenplaats you’ll find waffles and a Paul patisserie. She also likes Momade cupcakes on Reynderstraat.

For other ideas, check out Flanders for Foodies, a reference guide to the city's up-and-coming chefs.

Features include:

  • Restaurants nearby
  • Kitchenettes in the suites
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Go shopping. Whether your passion is design, interiors, books, art or fashion, Antwerp can feed your need. The Dries Van Noten flagship store is 500m away, and there's a flea market every Friday morning at Vrijdagmarkt, just around the corner

  • The Grote Markt is a popular stop-off; join the tourists to marvel at the gold-tipped merchants' houses and the town hall

  • Visit the MAS gallery (aka the Museum an der Stroom), a remarkable building with an impressive collection of modern art

  • Or spend an afternoon at the open-air Middleheim museum. It’s a fantastic contemporary sculpture park just outside the city with tailor-made pieces from luminaries like Ai Weiwei

  • Take a bike for a spin. Antwerp has a simple bike hire scheme, and a cycle ride along the canal is a glorious way to spend a sunny afternoon

  • We loved Rubens House, former residence of the painter and now a museum of his life with a lovely garden

  • MuKHA, in the Zuid district, is a former warehouse turned modern art mecca and contains works from the 1970s and beyond by Belgian and international artists

  • Browse beautiful typography, architecture and art books at the nearby Copyright bookstore

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Children are allowed in the suites. Suite 1 has a double sofabed (for 2 children or 1 adult), and Karin can also provide baby cots for either suite. Parents will find the small kitchen with a microwave and sink useful, but note there are steep stairs throughout the building.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

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

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