The new Antwerp hotel that's housed in a former Augustinian convent
If the thought of laying your head somewhere holy appeals to your more spiritual impulses, then book a stay at the August hotel in Antwerp. Opening in April this year, the 44-room hotel resides inside five heritage-listed buildings, which have been carefully restored to honour past and present. The project is the work of renowned Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen, and August marks his first-ever foray into hotel design. One look at the serene, yet refined aesthetic and you can see why it’s already been picked up as a part of Design Hotel’s edit of properties.
Located in Antwerp’s Green Quarter (a pedestrian-only neighbourhood that once was the site of a military hospital), the former Augustinian cloister is a space that still bears the hallmarks of quiet convent life. Careful to preserve the original structure of the chambers, August’s public spaces suggest a mastery of restraint reflected with carefully balanced modernism.
“When you restore a building, you have to do it with respect,” explains Van Duysen. “We have to consider the past as being a beautiful gift.” His statement shows the remarkable sense of respect he’s shown the original Flemish culture evident in the building.
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Boasting grand, high ceilings, arched windows and restored patterned floor tiles, the bar and lounge area is particularly beautiful. Once the site of the nun’s private chapel, it has been transformed into a calm, airy space featuring a light feature by Flos and customised furniture created in collaboration with Molteni&Co.
The hotel balances its private and public spaces masterfully, and features three private walled gardens, a spa and outdoor swimming pool and a library for all guests to use.
As far as dining goes, the brasserie-style restaurant is headed up by Nick Bril (of two-Michelin star eatery The Jane) and will offer dishes that are in tune with seasonal produce. Bril’s culinary eye will also oversee the small plates served in The August Bar.
The spa area is located within a walled terraced townhouse with garden and includes a sauna, hammam, and hot stone therapy room. Therapies include facials and body treatments such as a fresh ice scrub and an outdoor therapy shower.
When it comes to the privacy of guest rooms, no two rooms are alike. Suites range from 16 to 42 square metres in size and most bear the footprints of their previous lives as nun’s living quarters, seen through beamed wooden ceilings. All offer views of the cityscape or garden quarters.
Rooms are decorated with elegant minimalism with Flos lighting and Portuguese handwoven carpets, while the bathrooms feature Italian hand-glazed tiles, Fantini taps designed by Van Duysen and Bamford amenities.
Who fancies a trip to Belgium?
Visit: Design Hotels