The Hustle in Brussels
19 June 2018
Hotel Republic whisked eleven agents away for 24 hours in Brussels and put together a jam-packed itinerary to make sure we saw the very best of the Belgian city.
We met at St Pancras station and boarded the direct Eurostar to Brussels. This was my first time in Business Premier on board Eurostar and it’s totally worth it! The seats are really spacious and the food, managed by Raymond Blanc, was fab. A two-course breakfast was exactly what I needed for a busy day ahead. Eurostar is a wonderful opportunity to start an event before you even arrive at your destination, with the option to privately hire a carriage as well as bring on board branding, speakers, and entertainment.
On arrival in Brussels, we were taken straight to a chocolate workshop at Laurent Gerbaud, and the smell of chocolate hit me before we entered the shop! The private room can take up to 20 people for a chocolate making workshop which includes a demonstration of how the chocolate is made, and a chance to decorate (and obviously taste) our own chocolate.
Once we’d bagged up our stash to take home we headed to the Hotel Metropole where we were greeted by Visit Brussels who were ready to take us out to board the Tram Experience. Nearly eight years ago, Visit Brussels set up shop in a tram for six months to tour guests around Brussels on board its iconic transport, whilst serving luxurious food and wine. It was so popular that it’s still going now!
Despite the food on board being prepared in the smallest kitchen I’ve ever seen, it was genuinely some of the best I’ve had! The tram drives through the city centre and to the outskirts which is beautiful, especially on a summers evening.
Our Saturday started with a show round of Hotel Metropole which dates all the way back to 1890. Its opulent lobby is really impressive, and its Art Noveau style is carried through the entire hotel. With events in mind, the hotel has one large plenary space which can host up to 450 in theatre style with its own private cloakroom and toilets. The nine breakout rooms on the first floor are flooded with natural daylight and are perfect for smaller meetings of up to 70 people.
With only a short time in Brussels, Hotel Republic arranged for our group to do an iPad challenge around the city. We walked from landmark to landmark completing challenges on the way. I must say, my drawing of the Belgian football strip on the Little Julien statue has to be one of my proudest moments!
We stopped off at the Bazaar which is like a Tardis – the amount of space is mind blowing as from the outside you’d think it was just a little art gallery. We were taken downstairs to see three amazing auditoria which can host up to 2000 people. The venue also interlinks with The Square which is a popular congress centre. The Bazaar hosts art exhibitions which change every three months meaning your guests are almost totally guaranteed to see something they haven’t before.
The second venue involved in our challenge was the Spirito – where God really is a DJ! An old church has been carefully converted into a conference, dinner and party venue. It can hold up to 750 people standing, with plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the music. It’s a great venue if you’re looking for something a bit different.
The final stop of our whistle-stop tour of Brussels was The Hotel, where we enjoyed an amazing lunch cooked by Pierre Balthazar. The menu was incredible! We had the luxury of the entire restaurant to ourselves and sat right next to the kitchen, so we could watch the chefs prepare our food.
The hotel is really sleek with great views from its 27th-floor meeting space. Also, Barack Obama has stayed here, so if it’s good enough for him, it’s probably good enough for your guests!
Brussels is a fantastic city with great connections to the rest of Europe with its main train station and airport being incredibly close to the city centre. It’s also a destination where you’ll be spending nearly half the cost of hosting your event in London.
Huge thanks to Hotel Republic, Visit Brussels, Hotel Metropole and The Hotel for their hospitality.
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