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Renovation plans for Hotel Métropole enter public inquiry stage

08:56 26/09/2023

The application for planning permission for a renovation of Hôtel Métropole in Brussels has entered the public inquiry stage.

An indoor swimming pool, green roofs and modernised rooms are just some of the works being suggested.

The iconic hotel on Place De Brouckère has been closed since April 2020 and was bought by the Lone Star investment fund.

It will be operated by Centaurus Hospitality Management, which has now unveiled some of the developments it plans to carry out.

The philosophy behind the project is to renovate the ageing interior while preserving the charm and character from the hotel’s history, which goes back to its inauguration in 1894.

“The next renovation will focus on creating a contemporary environment offering both comfort and historic charm,” the project leaders said in a statement.

“The interior will be completely renovated with modern equipment, while the listed features will be preserved and restored. The result will be a harmonious balance between past and present.”

Originally designed by the architect Alban Chambon, Hôtel Métropole during its heyday was “an impressive and unmissable hotel beacon”.

“Over the years, the hotel has welcomed many famous guests, including royalty, politicians, artists and writers, attracted by the unique atmosphere and charm of this historic venue,” the project leaders said.

“The building itself is an architectural masterpiece, characterised by its majestic facade, lush interiors and striking details. From the impressive lobby with its imposing staircase to the elegant bedrooms, every space exudes an atmosphere of timeless grandeur.”

The hotel has grown in size over the years, extending as far as the Rue Neuve at the rear.

Renovation plans include a new reception area, modernising and adding rooms - bringing the total from 253 to 267 - removing lounges and gardens, and installing green roofs to encourage rainwater management.

“The renovation will also focus on technical improvements to make the hotel more sustainable and energy-efficient,” management said.

“Sustainability will be an important aspect in the design and choice of materials, with an emphasis on environmentally friendly and reusable materials.”

There is also a plan to build a 90 square metre indoor swimming pool in the basement, accompanied by saunas and a fitness centre.

Because the Métropole is partly listed, the current planning application only concerns the unlisted areas. The owner will then renovate the listed parts, including those that were listed last summer.

In March, the owner wanted to auction off a large part of the hotel's furniture but the Brussels region intervened and stopped everything so that heritage experts could go to the site to see whether any new elements of the building needed historical protection.

The region listed chairs, tables and desks, as well as a spiral staircase and a patio designed by the Art Deco architect Adrien Blomme, who renovated the Métropole in the 1930s.

The Brussels architectural firm Arter, which is in charge of the current project, intends to draw inspiration from the Blomme style when decorating the new spaces.

The owner plans to reopen the Métropole in 2025 at the earliest.

Written by Helen Lyons