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Antwerp Is Europes Effortlessly Cool Design Destination

When it opened in late 2022, the Botanic, housed inside a former medieval monastery, brought a new kind of luxury to Antwerp—and a deep sense of place, thanks to its centuries-old wood beams, chapel frescoes, and museum-quality artwork curated by expert Joost Declercq. Now it’s at the top of everyone’s list—whether for a martini at Henry’s Bar or the electromagnetic frequency treatment at its holistic spa. Filled with greenery to reflect its setting inside the city’s Botanical Gardens, the hotel gives off garden party vibes—complete with the people-watching. The spa suite comes with its own jacuzzi and sauna, while the Antwerp Suite is decked out with works by local artists, but make sure you leave your room to try the three Michelin-starred restaurants onsite. And don’t skip the buffet breakfast—it might well be Belgium’s best, with most ingredients sourced from within five miles.

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Botanic Sanctuary is a 13th century medieval monastery turned luxury hotel.

Hugo Thomassen/Botanic Sanctuary

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The Japanese design principle of wabi-sabi is the inspiration behind the design at Botanic Sanctuary.

Hugo Thomassen/Botanic Sanctuary

Hotel Flora

Spending the night at Hotel Flora feels like a secret. Buzz the green door on Korte Nieuwstraat, and you’ll be led down a landscaped path to a 15th-century merchant’s mansion, converted into a boutique hotel with bold, maximalist decor by Belgian designer Gert Voorjans. In a nod to the port city’s gem trade, the seven rooms are named for precious gemstones. Can’t choose? Bring your friends along and book the entire place.

Guesthouse Galalith

Jewelry designer Pascale Masselis has opened a guest house with two apartments above her beautiful boutique. Available for short-term stays (a two-night minimum), the one-bedroom apartments have fully equipped kitchens and tasteful decor, such as artwork by contemporary visual artist Julien Delagrange.

Hotel August

A former Augustinian convent sets the stage for the first hotel project by acclaimed local architect Vincent Van Duysen. Sister property to the stylish Hotel Julien, this serene 44-room enclave offers a wellness space with an outdoor swimming pond and a restaurant overseen by chef Nick Brill of The Jane fame.

Where to eat and drink


To add to the breadth of his culinary empire (Le Pristine, Blueness), celebrity chef Sergio Herman is making headlines for his new culinary concept. A champion of the Zeeland terroir, Herman cooks for just 20 diners at a time in a private, art-filled kitchen at PrivéPrivée.

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A standout dish at Hertog Jan is potato foam with coffee, vanilla, and shaved mimolette cheese.

Pieter D’Hoop/Hertog Jan/Botanic Sanctuary

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Chef Gert De Mangeleer and sommelier Joachim Boudens of Hertog Jan

Tim Tronckoe/Hertog Jan/Botanic Sanctuary


Antwerp’s creatives congregate at Cobra, a hot spot since it opened last summer—and not just because of its fashion cred (it was launched by Esfan Eghtessadi, co-founder of Essential Antwerp). The restaurant turns out stellar cocktails and crowd-pleasing nibbles that are meant to be shared (croquetas, vitello tonnato, Irish Mor oyster with champagne granitas). Plus, there’s a terrific terrace for people-watching.

Hertog Jan

Fans of Chef Gert De Mangeleer and sommelier Joachim Boudens were relieved when this Bruges institution, closed in 2018 after 13 years, was resurrected inside the Botanic Sanctuary Hotel with its own greenhouse and vegetable garden. Still on the menu? The all-time classic potato foam with coffee, vanilla and shaved mimolette cheese. New stand-outs include the toro no toro, in which locally caught kingfish is enhanced with Flemish Holstein beef to imitate the fat of tuna belly and topped with Royal Belgian Caviar.