WHAT IS IT LIKE? Once the city's Grand Bazaar, the Hilton is still linked to a huge shopping centre and has kept the original facade. It's a bit of an institution in the city, with famous tennis players staying during the recent Diamond Games. It is currently undergoing a refurbishment of all its rooms with the executive floor and the non-smoking floor completed already and the rest of the rooms expected to be finished by August.
WHERE IS IT? Right in the heart of the city, the hotel has a prime location with direct access to the subway from the underground car park of the hotel. It is about 20 minutes by taxi from the airport or you can get a bus to Centraal station, which is five minutes by subway.
HOW MANY ROOMS? The hotel has 211 rooms with 56 on the executive floor. There is a royal suite, which is split-level with stunning views and a steam room. The rest of the rooms are standard.
ROOM FACILITIES The updated rooms will have flat-screen televisions, new carpets and refurbished décor. All rooms are large (the average size of a standard room is 35sqm) and have the same facilities – wireless internet access, safe, minibar, trouser press, and tea and coffee-making facilities. All bathrooms also have both power shower and a bath. I was on the executive floor and the advantage here is that the rooms are larger, and you have access to the club lounge and terrace. Also included is a turndown service, breakfast and extra amenities in the bathroom. My room had a sofa and coffee table and a large desk. The television was in a cabinet, which I had to turn so I could watch it from the bed. The club lounge is spacious and offers free internet access, as well as snacks, canapés and drinks both alcoholic and soft. It closes at 2200. Breakfast is served here but there is more choice downstairs in the Terrace Café.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There is wireless internet access available throughout the hotel. On the second floor are six Hilton meeting rooms, all with natural daylight and views over the cobbled streets of the medieval town. The ballroom has capacity for 1,000 people. The business centre has three computer terminals and a staffed area to help with other business needs.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS The Terrace Café on the ground floor looks directly over the square and is large and light. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The chef Gert Jan Raven is "bringing gourmet to Antwerp". Breakfast is also served here: a huge spread of fruits, cereals and fresh juices, pastries, cheese and hams and hot English breakfast. You can also order eggs and waffles à la carte. It's open 0630-2230. The lobby lounge serves drinks and snacks and the Maritime Bar is open late.
LEISURE FACILITIES The hotel does not have its own gym but there is direct access from the lift to a gym in the shopping centre. It is free for executive floor guests.
VERDICT In a prime location for both business and leisure travellers, and the carpark and subway are very handy. The staff were superb and the club lounge and terrace are a big bonus for those on the executive floor.
PRICE A deluxe room from €243 (as quoted online for a fully flexible rate for a mid week stay in mid April).
CONTACT Hilton Antwerp Hotel, Groenplaats, Antwerp, Belgium 2000, tel +32 3204 1212, hilton.com.