In Matongé, the most vibrant district of Brussels, hip hotels rub shoulders with old-school markets and high-concept cafes. Check out our selection of the best places to stay in the area, all bookable with Culture Trip.
Multicultural Matongé has long been a hub for African culture in Belgium. These days you’ll also find noodle bars, night clubs and vintage stores alongside shops selling okra, plantain and chillies or colourful wax-printed fabrics. Congolese students and other migrants settled in post-war Brussels and left a vibrant legacy in this creative part of the city, which they renamed after a happening area in Kinshasa. Matongé’s vitality makes a great contrast with the tall plate-glass towers of the EU offices next door. These hotels will help you explore different aspects of an intriguing area of the city.
Opened in 2017, further down Rue de Stassart, Hygge brings the Danish idea of homely cosiness to the edgy streets of Matongé. Going for sofas with rugs and cushions, dangling plants and furry tapestries, the influence of Scandinavian design is clear in the bedrooms’ immaculate minimalism, simple lines and natural materials (think wood, wool, ceramics). The focus is on wellbeing and comfort: breakfasts are generous and the internet superfast. But there are plenty of reasons to step outside too. Just a short stroll through the cobbled lanes will reveal Matongé’s varied cafés including a Ramen noodle bar and a Scandinavian coffee shop. Audrey Hepburn’s birthplace is just around the corner, too.
This elegant 1913 hotel has more in common with the pricey chocolate and perfume shops on Avenue Louise than the cheerful markets of Matongé, but it makes a luxurious base for exploring the area’s variety. There’s a Buddhist temple nearby plus food from Vietnam, America, Africa, Japan and Italy all within steps of the door. Inside, the hotel is palatially five-star with a spa and decor that favours brass, marble and dark polished wood. A choice of up-market dining and drinking areas on-site offer Flemish-style asparagus or mature Belgian cheeses to go with your glass of champagne or Stella Artois. You can have breakfast among fig trees in the courtyard, a cigar in the opulent smoking lounge, or a cocktail in the club-like Loui Bar.
Glitzy-yet-homely is the aim in this stylish modern block on Avenue Louise, where chandeliers and lime green chairs in the hallways give way to floral walls in big, good-value bedrooms. Pick your own extras: a room with a sauna, an extra bed or ahomemade smoothie for breakfast. The 91-Restaurant, with its turquoise velvet chairs, serves tapas-style dishes like cod fritters with lime or little hazelnutty sausages. Local restaurants like Soleil d’Afrique, round the corner, have casual pavement dining. Why not try banana soup, cassava bread or chicken in peanut sauce?
On a narrow, cobbled lane, lined with bikes and plant pots, the Berger’s faux half-timbering fits in perfectly. In this classic 1930s rendezvous hotel, interior designer Martina Nievergelt has kept original features like the bath-side mirrors and the discreet double lifts, one for going upstairs and one to come down. Bedrooms are eclectically wallpapered with roses, gold and crimson patterns or thickets of bamboo; stuffed exotic birds perch in the lobby and some of the old kiss-me-quick alcoves in the bar downstairs are painted with scenes from the hotel’s colourful history. At the end of the lane, Chaussee de Ixelles has a lively mix of shops and pavement cafés among the sycamore trees and bendy-buses.
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Close to the Palais de Bruxelles, with a leafy, brick-walled courtyard, marble floors and gold flock wallpaper, this grand hotel is only a few minutes’ walk from contrastingly bohemian Matongé. The hotel, which channels English stately homes and teatime in flowering gardens, serves artistic French cuisine in its own white-tableclothed Brighton Restaurant (think goose-liver terrine, supreme of pigeon or candied cod), while – just down the road at the top of Chaussée de Wavre – L’Horloge du Sud epitomises the area’s blend of cultures. Tuck into caramelised, lemony chicken yassa from Senegalor Congolese liboke; spiced fish steamed in banana leaves.
The silver Airstream caravan and pop-art deck chairs in the courtyard set the scene for a stylishly retro boutique hotel with vinyl playing over breakfast and psychedelic wallpaper in the bedrooms. Opened in 2007, the Vintage has gone for a 1970s look with 21st-century comforts. The renovated caravan takes glamping to a new level with a proper shower, plasma screen, wi-fi and air-conditioning. The petunia-fringed alleys nearby are packed with multicultural outlets: a Greek deli, a sushi bar and a Lebanese restaurant.
It doesn’t get much hipper than Zoom, sandwiched between quirky cocktail bars like Edgar’s Flavours and cutting-edge art galleries like Baronian Xippas, the hotel is based in a tall townhouse with wrought-iron balconies. 400 individual photos of Brussels, snapped by people who live in the city, decorate the cool grey walls of this industrial-chic hotel with its on-site camera-themed Beer House, serving local ales and Belgian chocolate. There are dozens of museums within a 15-minute stroll, including La Loge around the corner, dedicated to contemporary art and architecture.
The anarchic spirit of Matongé can be felt throughout Rue de Stassart, where the Aqua’s brickwork rises opposite Tomahawk, Europe’s biggest axe-throwing facility. Just down the road is a theatre school, the Brussels Royal Conservatoire, whilst Spirito, a nightclub in a former chapel, faces a wall of Samurai-inspired street art. The hotel’s foyer boasts a sculpture by Arne Quinze, a characteristically ambitious wooden construction that grows organically through the space, its blue tentacles spreading into the dining room and central courtyard. The room prices include a continental buffet breakfast and – to burn off all those croissants – the fitness area is open 24/7.