Accor is developing the Sofitel hotel network in Belgium with the opening of the Sofitel Brussels Europe in summer 2006. This project is part of the strategy to develop the Sofitel brand in prestigious locations, within the world’s major cities. Sofitel is the only international upper upscale hotel chain with a presence in the European institutional triangle of Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg.
In the district that houses the European Union in Brussels, there are no four-star luxury hotels. A desire to increase the international standing of the company name is one of the reasons behind this decision by Soficom Development, the initiator of this project, to choose Accor as its partner. The high quality of the Accor network, its position as the European leader in hotel chains and its historical presence in Belgium (since 1975) were also critical factors.
Situated just a stone’s throw from the Borschette Conference Centre, Sofitel Brussels Europe is located at the crossroads of the Place Jourdan, the avenue Chaussee d’Etterbeek and rue Froissart, in the heart of the district where the European institutions are based, and close to Berlaymont, which, in 2004, is to be the headquarters of the European Commission. The site is also close to Cinquantenaire Park, the city’s museums, Leopold Park and the Solvay Library, an Art Deco building which has been listed as a historical monument since 1988.
The aim of Sofitel and Soficom Development is to give the hotel a strong identity and a contemporary design by using high-quality materials such as limestone and white stone.
The architectural originality of the project lies in the contrasting use of angles and curves giving the building a distinctive shape. The hotel’s facade on the corner of the Chaussee d’Etterbeek and the Place Jourdan will feature a large, beige brick tower, which, like a belfry, will be a landmark and symbol for the hotel.
Inside the hotel, amongst the public areas, the accent will be on curves, with a circular bar, a curved staircase and an oval table in the boardroom, not forgetting a striking architectural feature, a huge circular window in the centre of the building.
The contract for the interior architecture of the Sofitel Brussels Europe hotel has been assigned to the French firm of architects, Inter Art, recent winners of a prize at the Hermes Awards, and the creators, amongst others, of the interior of the Sofitel Paris Bercy hotel. The idea of space is of prime importance in Inter Art’s approach to the Sofitel Brussels Europe project. This will be expressed in areas for working and relaxing, arranged around the atrium of the hotel where the impression of comfort is further increased by soft lighting and a backlit effect. The contemporary style of the decor, furniture, materials and tableware will be offset by timeless traditional touches such as the parquet floor which is typical of old bourgeois houses in Brussels. Some features will make reference to the European ideal such as, for example, representations of the flags belonging to the countries of the European Union engraved on the sandblasted glass wall which follows the curve of the hall staircase.
Sofitel Brussels Europe will have a total of 149 rooms, arranged over 7 floors, 11 of which will be suites, and a royal suite on the top floor with an unrivalled view of the city. The restaurant (100 covers) and hotel bar (seating 50) will rapidly become one of the most fashionable meeting places in Brussels, ideal for business meetings.
Catering for both large-scale events and small meetings, the hotel will have a modular-type seminar room (which can be divided into three separate areas) with a floor area of 240 m2, a modular-type room (which can be divided into two separate rooms) with a floor area of 68m2 and 3 subcommittee rooms, one with a floor area of 25m2 and two with a floor area of 40m2 each. In addition, the hotel is also planning a “board meeting room” with a floor area of 95m2 with a private dining room with a floor area of 55 m2, ideal for meetings of up to 30 people.
Lastly, the hotel will comprise a Business Centre equipped with the latest technological communications systems, a library and a fitness centre with a floor area of 150m2 complete with steam rooms.
Sofitel Brussels Europe completes the existing portfolio of 5 Sofitel hotels in Belgium, including Sofitel Brussels Toison, Sofitel Brussels Airport, the Astoria hotel (Brussels), Sofitel Gent Belfort and Sofitel Brugge [Bruges]. Similar to the complete renovation last year of the Sofitel Brussels Airport hotel, this new project is in keeping with the series of developments planned by Sofitel in Belgium, and will soon be followed by the renovation of the rooms of Sofitel Brugge and the expansion of Sofitel Gent Belfort (40 new bedrooms).