A new guesthouse where once my all-time favourite home decor shop, Emery & Cie, was located….that can only be a real Local Hideaway! Reason enough for me to rush off to Brussels to meet with Sophie, the radiant new owner of this townhouse that is situated in a top location in the centre of Brussels. Together with her husband, she travelled through Britain quite extensively and fell in love with the small-scale, intimate Bed & Breakfasts they visited on their travels. And so the idea was born to start something similar in their own Brussels, which is otherwise dominated by large hotels.
One of Brussels’ car-free-Sundays in September, they finally found a place that was perfect for their ambitious project: HAPPY Guesthouse was born. Together with renowned (interior) architects and under Sophie’s strict supervision, they worked hard to transform the building into a bright and comfortable ‘boutique guesthouse’. Gorgeous old Art Nouveau elements were integrated into a modern Scandinavian design….beautifully balanced. Four floors, four rooms and, on the ground floor, an inviting common room where breakfast is served or where you can sit down to plan your day ahead. This room features an enormous table for everyone in the guesthouse to sit down at, and conversation flows easily at this table: indeed, it is the heart and soul of HAPPY Guesthouse, which, next morning, becomes even more obvious when I sit down for a lovely breakfast, all with local products! This room also features a fine collection of limited edition Taschen books, in wonderful cooperation with the amazing, Phillippe Starck-designed, Taschen store around the corner.
And then, of course, the rooms: four of them in total, one on each floor. Mind you, there is no lift, so my advice is to travel light! All rooms are very bright and tastefully styled with Scandinavian minimalism, featuring a trendy sleek wooden bed that sleeps wonderfully. The en-suite bathrooms are small yet functional and well thought-out. In addition, all rooms offer coffee and tea making facilities (which I always think is a plus) and some very good guides to Brussels. The attic room also features a small roof terrace/patio that allows you to sit outside on sunny days.
And then it’s time to get going. Sophie knows Brussels like the back of her hand and has some perfect tips for what to see and where to eat. On her advice, I have dinner at Vismet…..a great tip, for surely this has to be the best fish restaurant in Brussels! Its central location makes HAPPY Guesthouse the perfect base from which to discover the city; you will be able to go almost anywhere on foot. The tourist highlights are a mere stone’s throw away, as are the Grand Sablon district and the recently refurbished Marollen, where you may well be able to get some good vintage deals! Be sure not to miss the beautiful teashop, Comptoir Florian, or the trendy Dansaert and Ixelles districts, personal favourites of mine!
I consider myself lucky to be living quite close to Brussels, for the HAPPY Guesthouse, with its cosy and contemporary atmosphere, has given me yet another reason to visit this city frequently from now on!