Tried & Tested

Hotel check: The Dominican

26 Aug 2009 by Mark Caswell

BACKGROUND Open since November 2007, the Dominican is one of ten hotels in the Carlton Hotel Collection, and the only one in Belgium, the others being located in the Netherlands and the UK. It is the only Brussels property in the Design Hotels portfolio.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? As the name hints, the seven-floor hotel is situated on the site of a 15th-century abbey, and this has been used as the inspiration for the stylish décor. High ceilings and elegant archways create a monastic feel, while the sense of calm and green central courtyard make it a peaceful retreat from the buzz of the city. The lobby is an extremely stylish space, with a long beige leather sofa running almost the width of it, a row of dark wood tables topped with little candles, and a chic circular arrangement of leather chairs. It’s separated from the restaurant by a glass wall, and the bar is to the right.

WHERE IS IT? The hotel is in a quiet road a few minutes’ walk from the Grand Place, Brussels’ central square.

ROOM FACILITIES Most of the 150 guest room look on to the courtyard. All are stylishly decorated and come with a Nespresso machine, minibar, free wifi, 24-hour room service, a laptop safe, an iron and ironing board, and a robe and slippers. Most have a walk-in rainshower and some have a combined bath and shower. Deluxe rooms are 25 sqm in size and Executive rooms are 30 sqm, with the minibar and on-demand movies included. There are also street-facing Executive lofts across two levels, with the bathroom on a mezzanine area at entry level and the bedroom downstairs, and a selection of suites.

My fifth-floor Deluxe room had a calming grey and green colour palette and a large comfortable bed with crisp linen. Either side of the bed were grey stone blocks that acted as bedside tables, with smart black lamps with green shades sat on them. There was a flatscreen TV in a ceiling-high cabinet opposite the bed, a small brown armless sofa in a flocked fabric, a grey suede armchair, and a pale wood workdesk, next to which was an EU plug socket. I had forgotten my adapter and called reception to request one, and was a bit surprised that I had to go down to collect it rather than it being brought to the room, especially as it was quite late at night. The sleek bathroom had a combined bath and shower, a bowl-style sink, a large floor-to-ceiling mirror and toiletries by the Collection Paris. I was a little disappointed to come back from a long day’s work to find empty mineral water bottles still in the room and an unwiped surface in the bathroom.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS The restaurant is a relaxed, chic space with chill-out music playing, huge flower arrangements, purple, black and olive velvety chairs and views on to the garden courtyard – you can eat out here in warm weather. A good breakfast buffet is served from 6.30 to 10am and food is available all day until 11pm. The parlour-style bar has a warm feel with dark leather seats, pretty chandeliers and views on to the street; it’s open until 1am.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The three meeting rooms, ranging from 31 to 83 sqm in size, are on the ground floor behind the restaurant and can be joined together to hold 300 people for a reception. All with natural daylight, they are well-equipped and have long glittery chandeliers running almost the width of the rooms, while the green and brown colour palette creates an earthy feel. The biggest venue faces the courtyard, which can be used for coffee breaks and holds 50-60 delegates for a reception. Set away from the restaurant is a business corner with two PCs and a printer.

LEISURE FACILITIES There is a gym on the fifth floor with Life Fitness equipment, a sauna and hammam. It’s open to hotel guests only from 6.30am to 11pm.

VERDICT A stylish, well-located hotel with good facilities for business travellers and nice spaces for meeting clients.

Fact file

HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 150 in total – 113 Deluxe rooms, 16 Executive rooms, 17 Executive lofts and four suites.

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The comfortable bed, stylish bathroom, Nespresso machine and free wifi.

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in September started from €195 for a Deluxe room.

CONTACT The Dominican, 9 Rue Léopold; tel +32 2203 0808; thedominican.be

Michelle Mannion

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