Antwerp diamonds.chocolates.trendy.hip.shopping

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Less is more ... rather than overwhelming you with volumes of travel tips, here is a specific list of exclusive recommendations with Mr & Mrs Crystal's stamp of approval.

hotels

Hotel ‘t Sandt

When you arrive at Hotel ‘t Sandt you feel like you have come home. The level of service is so personalised that you almost feel surprised when you see another guest because you feel as though you’re the only one there. The rooms are sophisticated and chic, and have a unique fragrance that you’ll wish you had in your own home. It is located a 5 minute walk from the historic centre, Grote Markt which makes it a convenient base for shopping, dining and cultural outings. The enormous vase filled with Belgian chocolates at reception is reason enough to extend your stay from a weekend to a week.

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 View Map ... Zand 17, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Hotel De Witte Lelie

Like its translated namesake (“white lily”) this whitewashed hotel blossoms as a perennial favourite in Antwerp with an exceptional personal touch. Comprising three restored 16th century canal houses framing a large courtyard bursting with bouquets of fresh flowers, it is best described as classic elegance with contemporary interiors. Each of the bright tastefully furnished rooms has individual character, dazzlingly white luxurious bathrooms, fluffy cushions and complimentary minbars. This inner city retreat is a real gem, and sparkles with style – perfect for the city of diamonds.

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 View Map ... Keizerstraat 16-18 B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Hotel Julien

Nowhere in Antwerp combines period grandeur with understated contemporary design like the esteemed Hotel Julien. This charming and centrally located boutique guest house has precious interior designs, including the charming library (filled with piles of international magazines and art books) where freshly brewed coffee and Belgian chocolates are available at any hour. The 11 bedrooms include a superb cosy attic retreat. Each has a homely feeling which even extends to the bathrooms with their unique Moroccan plastering sure to warm your feet. Try to reserve a room with a private terrace and view of the historic city’s rooftops and spires (number 7 is perfect for this).

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 View Map ... 24 Korte Nieuw¬straa, Antwerp, Belgium
Hotel Matelote

If you intend to spend time in the Old Town in Antwerp, Hotel Matelote is a fantastic find, located just steps from the Grote Markt. It remains in tune with its heritage and 16th century architecture, yet still embraces modernism with 21st century style luxury. As a guest of one of Matelote’s 9 spacious rooms (including a romantic attic room) you will be treated, spoiled and pampered by its intimacy and cosy comforts – just what the diamond doctor ordered.

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 View Map ... Haarstraat 11A, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium

what we think

Head to Antwerp for quirky vintage pieces, avant garde designer labels, slick street wear or even glistening diamonds – it has recently become one of the hottest European shopping destinations. Take a stroll through the charismatic downtown streets, wander through the historic squares and pause only for a pot of fresh moules and frittes, washed down with a perfectly poured Belgian beer. In the winter months, enjoy mulled wine with traditional waffles whilst soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of the Christmas markets. Antwerp claims to have founded house music and a night out at one of its restaurant-cum-clubs certainly supports this theory.