August Hotel — Antwerp, Belgium
Over his long career, Vincent Van Duysen had been approached many times to work on a hotel, but it wasn’t until Mouche Van Hool, the owner of the soigné Hotel Julien, came knocking for help on her sophomore project that the Belgian architect finally found his match.
As it turns out, the 19th-century Military Hospital and Augustinian convent in the city’s Green Quarter development was an ideal canvas for his trademark blend of feathery light aesthetics and gently coloured palette. Five separate buildings – including the nuns’ old private chapel and living quarters – and three walled gardens have been stitched together into a 44-room cloistered retreat. Absurdly high ceilings, restored floor tiles, and oversized arched windows form an impressively lofty backdrop that Van Duysen dresses with Flos lamps, deeply set black leather sofas, and low-slung tables.
The spa, meanwhile, is stocked with Bamford products, but the hotel’s tent-pole attraction is the restaurant where chef Nick Bril orchestrates a mod menu that includes roasted brill paired with beurre noisette, and roasted local vegetables glazed with fermented bean sauce. §