We’re all for hoteliers recycling the local architecture rather than splashing out for brand-new buildings. Provence has its farmhouses, America its motor inns, and Belgium, lucky Belgium, seems to be covered with abbeys, monasteries, nunneries. Check into a boutique hotel in Brussels called the Dominican and you know exactly what you’re getting into.
Though in this case it’s not exactly all damp stone and sconces. Inside it’s more accurate to say it’s abbey-inspired, brought very much up to date by the Dutch firm FG Stijl, whose name you may recognize from a growing list of high-end boutique commissions across Europe.
The rooms, while not excessive in size, are surely bigger than your average monk’s cell, and they’ve got the comforts that count in all the right places — feather beds, in-room espresso machines, the kind of bathrooms you want to cancel your morning meetings for.
There’s a bit of a spa, a little gym, a pleasant inner courtyard and a rather informal lounge/bar/restaurant, whose full menu is available anywhere you like until 11pm. Perfect for a bit of cloistering, but also close by to the opera house and to some fine shopping, should any more worldly temptations strike.