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Brussels' Hotel Astoria to reopen after 17 years
Brussels’ iconic Hotel Astoria will reopen in summer 2024 for the first time in 17 years.
The Astoria on Rue Royale, a palace built in 1910, was first bought by a Saudi group that had planned to renovate it, but abandoned its plans, RTBF reports.
It was then acquired in 2016 by the Corinthia hotel group, which has been renovating almost completely from scratch.
Now, the structural work is finished and the finishing touches will be added to transform it into the new flagship of luxury hotels in Brussels.
“Here on the ground floor, all the decorations will be redone identically,” said Pierre Jangoux, project manager for the Corinthia Group.
“There are some skylights here that are closed for the moment. They are going to be redone with stained glass windows.”
Concept images show finished spaces steeped in classic luxury from floor to ceiling, with tall columns and mammoth chandeliers.
The hotel’s main lounge features a gigantic glass roof 11 metres high that harks back to the hotel’s glory days of hosting monarchs.
“Here we worked from period photos and pieces of stained glass that remained on the first floor at the top of the grand staircase,” explained Francis Metzger, the architect in charge of the renovation.
“We were able to completely redesign the glass roof in its original form while giving it the technology of today. The old glass roof was dismantled after the war because it was not waterproof and it was raining inside.”
The tension between respect for heritage and modernity is the complexity of this project, Metzger noted: “We have to bring the building into the 21st century and at the same time work on the memory of a place that has welcomed all the crowned heads of the world for almost a century, but which no longer meets today's luxury standards.”
The project is so far set to conclude by its deadline, with rooms being fitted with partitions and other details now that all major structural work is finished.
The 126-room palace includes 37 suites and will also house two restaurants – a brasserie and a gastronomic restaurant with a renowned Belgian chef.
“There will also be a large spa in the basement, and then the rooms, of course, with large suites of 350m²,” said Edward Leenders, the manager of the Corinthia Grand Hotel Astoria Brussels.
“There is even the possibility of renting the sixth floor, which covers more than 650m². But what counts above all is the experience in this exceptional building, which has been restored with respect for its heritage.”
The official prices for booking a room in the palatial hotel is not yet known, but for the smallest rooms one can expect to pay at least €500 to €1,000 per night, targeting a wealthy clientele.
“The American market is important for us, but so are the English, French, Dutch and Germans, not to mention a certain number of Middle Eastern customers,” Leenders said, adding that they also hope to attract local patrons.
“We hope to see the people of Brussels here again soon, just like before.”
More than 200 people will be employed at Hotel Astoria when it is fully operational.
The Corinthia Group does not wish to communicate the investment made at the moment, but the cost has had to be revised upwards, particularly in view of the pandemic and inflation.