Now that I have been travelling for Local Hideaways for a bit longer, I’m starting to notice a common denominator in the various Hideaways. For instance, the majority of the owners used to have very different, often quite busy and stressful lives, before embarking on a new and completely different adventure. This is not to say that running a Local Hideaway is the equivalent of having a quiet life, on the contrary……it is hard work! But because they made such a conscious choice, the owners run their Hideaways with personality and inspiration, which are key criteria for Local Hideaways!

Such is also the case with Tom and Karen. Since March 2014, they are the proud owners of Maison Nationale – City Flats & Suites in Antwerp. And, wow, do they appreciate the requirements of the modern traveller and business man/woman. Their new life started with the beautiful old family estate, dating from 1896, that no one really knew what to do with. Tom and Karen took the plunge and had the enormous property completely renovated under architectural design. During this renovation, it was important that all the original elements were preserved: high ceilings with authentic ornaments; a beautiful old staircase; old brick walls, wood floors (which first had to be taken out completely in order to isolate it properly). But modern design also had to find its place in this property and thus old and new were linked together in an amazing way. Everything is in shades of black, white and grey, but this doesn’t make it seem cold. If anything, it enhances the soul of the building and creates good vibes!

And so, a total of eight suites were created, of which the enormous Penthouse Suite and the Loft Suite are the absolute greatest. But the Deluxe Suites and Superior Suites are also really something. Everything was decorated with such care and eye for detail. The comfortable king-size beds form a beautiful ‘tableau vivant’ in the middle of the rooms. And the passage to the magnificent designer bathrooms with bath and rain shower sort of frames the picture. Also, the designer wardrobes are awesome! All eight suites come with a comfortable sitting area, a desk, 3D LED television with digital channels and a Jambox docking station. The refrigerator, stocked with some nice and reasonably priced items of food and drink, a microwave oven, an electric kettle and a Nespresso coffee machine make you feel right at home. And you won’t have to drag your luggage around either, for they even had a lift installed. Breakfast is served in the pleasant concept store STAY on the ground floor (except on Sundays and Mondays), or it can be served in your suite, if so desired. Be sure to reserve a table on arrival!

You will find it difficult to leave your suite….for it is lovely to be staying in such luxury. But I haven’t disclosed Maison Nationale’s trump card yet: LOCATION!!! As I keep saying: “it’s all about location”: this Local Hideaway is on Nationalestraat – Antwerp’s main shopping street. And, because of its central location, the South district (‘t Zuid) or the dockside area “Het Eilandje” are within easy walking distance, as is the “Wilde Zee” area….and the Old City district is just around the corner. In other words, Antwerp is literally at your feet and a true gem such as Maison Nationale is a great asset to it!

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