hotel for educated traveller

Hotel Pilar – Antwerp: Artfully sophisticated

We believe in energetic hospitality. A place where you want to stay: a place that inspires you as much as possible; from the rooms to our staff.

modern hotel interiorsAs soon as I viewed the rooms, the café and the menus on Hotel Pilar’s website – I rushed to Webjet!  Having long wanted to visit Antwerp, Hotel Pilar is the perfect place to stay becuase it is central to vibrant art and culture districts.  The vibe it projects is at once international and consistent with everything the free spirited traveller would embrace, and both their vision and the broad aesthetics indicate it practises what it preaches!

What I love about the hotel is manifold: the obvious focus on comfort with a touch of luxury whilst remaining laid back: and in addition the sense of community it projects in the diversity of furnishings and art as well as the arrangement of interior details.

For travellers the spaces that define Hotel Pilar impart a homeliness that inspires a sense of community; a sense that we are all on a unique adventure together.

Throughout the last decades this part of Antwerp has grown into a hot spot for the arts with many museums and galleries.

hotel for educated travellerHotel Pilar is in Zuig precinct, a hub for galleries and museums, including Plantin Moretus, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst (Museum of Modern Art) and Snijders and Rockox House, the latter containing innumerable 14 – 17th century Flemish artworks; not to mention the proximity of Rubinshuis; the palazzo Rubens, the great Baroque painter inhabited during his life.

For art, architecture and history aficionados, Hotel Pilar is perfectly located to consume the arts in Antwerp to satiation point!

As we are a corner building there are only rooms with superb views of the Museum of Fine Arts, the green square and the lively neighbourhood terraces.

The rooms in Hotel Pilar are destinations in themselves and most exhibit an enigmatic cross section of history with contemporary style; the original architecture and interiors with modern day aspects and appurtenances artfully combined.

At once relaxed and sophisticated, the guest rooms appear intuitively arrived at: in large part due to the age of the building projecting a rich and yet “lived in” image, which is enhanced by a perceptive mix of design characteristics.  Overall, not dissimilar to the way in which design and colllecting in your own home might be realised over time.

The heterogeneous style contributes to a sense of authenticity derived from a sense of sophistication in tune with a laid back relaxed aesthetic.

All of the above means the interiors are wide-ranging conceptually thus, irrespective of visitors’ design predilections, they will see themselves imaged “in some way” in the design style.  Or, they will see a version of themselves they aspire to. It means that they will feel at home in these environs.

The inherent eclecticism will not date because self-evidently the aesthetic in the rooms does not subscribe to a particular design period.

The pièce de résistance is the original wooden arrival desk and gorgeous light well above it.

antwerp hotelAdded to this is the unusual collection of art and photography; from figurative pieces to abstract and minimalist  – it’s all there eclectically organised in salon hangs. For both an architectural & social history nut plus an ardent art lover the hotel itself and the building continually inspire and surprise!

Moreover, the diverse nature of furnishings, art works and interiors as mentioned communicates a down-to-earth impression of being in your own home. There is no overarching feeling that implies the admonishing  – “big finger”!  The emphasis is on beautiful dynamic interiors that are at once designed to be used & comfortable and easy to negotiate.

But, what would be better than a day out visiting surrounding institutions which exhibit art and architecture + stores that sell home wares?
A shop within the hotel!

So imagine my surprise when I found a shop within the hotel? And they sell home wares! I mean could fate have intervened more serendipitously?  A quick look tells me the impetus is driven by singular pieces and products that impart similarly both refinement and hands on usefulness with a focus on ceramics and pottery along with art, lighting and many other individual objects.

A day in the life of!

Up early and downstairs for breakfast:  Of course I have to have the Belgian waffle with extra cream which disappears before blinking!  Could I fit another one?  Tomorrow – 100%!  My partner in crime has the Sunrise and proclaims it to be just what the doctor ordered because it has everything & he ordered the smoked salmon as an extra!  It is hearty which allows for elements of it to find their way onto my plate!  Always a winner! Four coffees later we are art bound!

hotel of artOur foodbar is located on the ground floor, overlooking a green square…The basis is quality, working with local suppliers and going for seasonal products. We focus on good healthy nutritious food but we also believe in guilty pleasures.

Having fully indulged, we head off to MAS and Zaha Hadid’s singular Port of Antwerp building which brings together a derelict fire station and ground-breaking contemporary design.  Beyond excited to see and learn about it.

Hours & hours later. We have pounded the art and museum pavements and want nothing more than a shower, food and wine!  But first, a jug of sparkling iced water and a couple of Moscow Mules in the bar!

The bar has an international feel courtesy of all the above mentioned. This, combined with the unique and historic aspects of the building constructs an impression of a continually evolving aesthetic.  Rightly so!  The concrete pillars and parts of the original brick wall left exposed, the unusual tiled floors and walls, the deco pendants, plants and large windows look out to life in Antwerp. A diverse prescient style synchronised to an ancient multifaceted city.

And there’s more!

Now back in the room; totally relaxed and focused if not footsore, we order up more Moscow mules + sardinellas, charcuterie and two serves of olives and to perfectly complement them also bottles of Ronceno, Le Secret and to spoil ourselves completely, a bottle of La Reserve D’Angludet.

A day perfectly imagined!
For travellers, the adventure in Antwerp begins and ends at the Hotel Pilar

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