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Review: First in: The Hoxton, Brussels

An exclusive look inside The Hoxton, Brussels – no doubt the most stylish arrival in the Belgian capital for some time
  • Biggy room at The Hoxton, Brussels
  • Biggy room at The Hoxton, Brussels
  • Roomy bedroom at The Hoxton, Brussels
  • Upper lobby at The Hoxton, Brussels
  • Lobby at The Hoxton, Brussels
  • Cantina Valentina terrace at The Hoxton, Brussels
  • Cantina Valentina restaurant at The Hoxton, Brussels


Biggy room at The Hoxton, BrusselsBiggy room at The Hoxton, BrusselsRoomy bedroom at The Hoxton, BrusselsUpper lobby at The Hoxton, BrusselsLobby at The Hoxton, BrusselsCantina Valentina terrace at The Hoxton, BrusselsCantina Valentina restaurant at The Hoxton, Brussels
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Why Book The Hoxton, Brussels?

To explore a city all too often associated with business rather than leisure – from the comfort of a stylish sky-high crashpad.

Set the scene

The distinctive Victoria Building stands proud among the skyscrapers of Brussels’ north, reflecting the sun into the eyes of curious amblers in the botanical gardens below. Arriving at the hotel feels a little like arriving at work – until you're through the doors and into the elegant serenity of the lobby. Here, local creatives get to work at laptops between sips of pretty lattes and Hoxton lager. A barista station and bar opposite the check-in desk flow down into the lobby bar, behind which is the signature restaurant, Cantina Valentina.

The open-plan nature of the space means sound echoes between different areas. In the morning, the vibe is work-oriented and chilled. Come sundown, it erupts into a buzzy place where the audible approval of guests tucking into Peruvian specialities and the chatter of friends in the lobby bar come together, soundtracked by Latin beats. If this was a celeb home, its photogenic corners would be splashed across the pages of Architectural Digest. Designers AIME Studios have reimagined 1970s design, and the retro decor of the lobby flows seamlessly into the bold colours of the restaurant. They sourced furniture from Belgian brocantes and antique stores, while bespoke murals from Brussels-based artists Madeleine Schilling and Claire de Quenetain add to the eye candy, too.

The Backstory

The Hoxton's arrival marks a rebirth for Brussels’ once dreary and office-heavy northern business district. It occupies a chunk of Victoria Tower, a futuristic structure built as IBM's Belgian headquarters in the ’70s. Extensive renovations mean the brand-new Hoxton and businesses can coexist in the colossal structure without a hotel guest ever crossing paths with a suited-and-booted Bruxellois exec.

The rooms

Bedrooms start on floor 14 and are styled similarly to the social areas – retro and thoughtfully filled with vintage (or mock-vintage) finds such as Roberts Radios and rotary telephones on marble-topped bedside tables. The Hoxton isn't known for its gargantuan bedrooms. Instead, the team designed calming crash pads that populate social media feeds even though guests use them primarily to sleep and plan the next gallery crawl before supper in an up-and-coming neighbourhood. Amenities are cleverly hidden to avoid clutter, and the showers deserve a special shout-out – we really appreciated a steamy, high-powered refresh after beating our personal best step count.

At The Hoxton Brussels, eye-catching headboards and intriguing light shades compete with the view. In the corner of floor 14, our room had coveted views into the depths of the Belgian capital – we made out intricate church spires far beyond The View Grande Roue Bruxelles ferris wheel on the outskirts of Marollen. A downside to this is an initial paranoia that the tiny figures in the adjacent WeWork building can see your half-naked 'must get to dinner in time' dash around the room. However, with spectacular views across the city and a pull of the nets, you soon adjust to sky-high living.

Food and drink

Cantina Valentina is the hotel's signature restaurant. Forget breakfast buffet scrambles – it's a sit-down affair of Peruvian spins on continental brunch classics in the restaurant, washed down with gloopy hot chocolates, steaming lattes and fresh juices. Order the vanilla-scented quinoa and amaranth porridge drizzled in honey before a long day exploring the city, or cut into poached eggs on avocado toast and watch fluorescent yolks ooze across rich tomato salsa like lava.

At suppertime, the lights dim, and there's an animated air as groups of friends gather around small plates. It's not a massive space, but the intimate atmosphere is part of the draw – this is no place for rowdy business lunches despite the location. Adam Rawson, formerly of London's Pachamama, designed the menus, and they're a celebration of Peru's convivial dining culture. Order melt-in-the-mouth pork belly chicharróns, tastebud-tingling red shrimp croquettes, pollo a la brasa and a bowl of salty arroz chaufa. Consider sharing a few dishes – portions are generous.

For a more informal experience, head to Tope, The Hoxton's rooftop taqueria and terrace. We suggest indulging in Cantina Valentina before shooting up to the roof for churros as the sun sets. Order the Banana Colada, and you'll get a smiley, knowing nod of approval – it's a tequila and rum-laced delight made for long, sunny evenings. Resident DJs take to the decks on weekends, and guests slip back to their rooms as the clock hits 1am.

The spa

There's no spa here, but Brussels isn't synonymous with R&R. If a massage, facial, or sweaty session in the gym is essential, ask reception for a bunch of nearby recommendations.

The service

Staff seem genuinely happy to be here, delivering service with a smile and investigating anything you desire. Compact rooms mean no space for an ironing board but call down to reception, and you'll have one set up in front of your bed within 10 minutes. Service in Cantina Valentina was remarkably swift, although the team at Tope were still finding their feet on our visit – we’d devoured our tacos long before the cocktails arrived. The soft launch discount incentives on food were still running during our stay, but it's safe to say that the immediate influx of hungry workers spilling out of offices and into the restaurant-with-a-view may have taken the team by surprise.

The neighbourhood

The neighbourhood is a surprising choice – one of the coolest hotel brands around, found among corporate offices and the city’s lesser-known large train station. Some bedrooms look down onto the botanical gardens, a series of urban parks in regal French, Italian, and English styles. Amble through these and spot terrapins breaching the lake's surface before heading towards the capital's centre, just a 20-minute walk away. A sturdy pair of trainers make everything reachable by foot, from the Parc de Bruxelles with its bars in the shadow of the Royal Palace, to the leafy streets of Ixelles and Art Nouveau buildings and cafés in Saint-Gilles.

Eco effort

Visible efforts include no single-use plastic, refillable amenities in the bathroom, and metal straws in cocktails on the roof. The hotel has partnered with urban electric bike specialists Cowboy for a more sustainable way to explore the city, and guests can sign up for urban runs with Carbon Athletics. The Hoxton Brussels appears to do its bit, but doesn't necessarily shout about any eco credentials it may have.

Accessibility for those with mobility impairments

A ramp up the hill from the main road makes access from the nearest train station, Brussel-Noord, smooth. The hotel corridors are some of the largest we'd seen, and there's nowhere in the hotel that isn't accessible by using one of the spacious elevators.

Anything else to mention?

Be sure to scan the QR code found on a paper pyramid in the room. These are often ignored (fairly so), but The Hoxton's detailed page for guests offers a valuable insight into your surroundings – and the room service options if you can't hack facing other guests at breakfast.

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