Brussels Fam Trip – 15 & 16 June 2018
My trip to Brussels, which was organised by the lovely Claudia Schuitemaker from Hotel Republic, started off at St Pancras International where I met up with our group. We travelled out business class on Eurostar which included a wonderful breakfast designed by Eurostar Culinary Director, Raymond Blanc. During breakfast we had a presentation by Eurostar on all the options available on the trains, from team building to relaxed talks. Whether you want to hire all 900 seats, or just a carriage or two, Eurostar can offer a range of experiences – from gin tasting to perfume making!
On our arrival in Brussels we were met by our hosts for the weekend, Marine Devroo from the Hotel Metropole Brussels and Benoit Dubuisson from The Hotel Brussels. It was straight on to a coach to our first activity – chocolate making at Laurent Gerbauld! As well as making our own chocolates with an array of tasty toppings to choose from – we also tasted different chocolates, learnt about the history of chocolate, the differences in tastes and textures and what flavour combinations we enjoy the most. It was great fun, if very messy!
After the chocolate making we checked into the Hotel Metropole where we would be spending the night. The hotel was built in 1895 and is considered an important historical landmark within the city. Its ornate decoration transports you back to the early nineteenth century! Whilst enjoying chocolate covered strawberries (you can never have enough chocolate right?!) and local beer, Visit Brussels showed us just what great options Brussels has to offer, no matter your budget!
After a quick change we headed off to The Hotel for drinks and canapés in the Panorama Lounge which has amazing views of Brussels.
Next stop – dinner! And what a fantastic way to eat – The Tram Experience was an exciting and interesting evening option. This is definitely something I would recommend to foodies! A great way to see the city without sore feet at the end! We finished the evening with drinks and dancing at the beautiful Spirito.
Up bright and early the next morning, and a venue visit at the Hotel Metropole whilst being treated to three servings of breakfast! Located in the majestic lobby is Bar Le 31 which has a wonderful relaxed atmosphere, and is perfect for pre, or post dinner drinks. This is a stunning 19th century style cocktail bar, where you sip your drinks in luxury. The Hotel Metropole has 11 meeting rooms including the Excelsior and Ambassadeur rooms which when joined together can hold up to 450 delegates theatre style or 420 guests for a standing buffet. With eight smaller syndicate rooms with natural daylight you can be confident this five-star hotel has the perfect size room for your meeting.
This was followed by a group game around the city centre – split into teams, we found our way from the Hotel Metropole to Bozar, the centre for fine arts in Brussels, answering questions to win prizes along the way! From the outside Bozar may not look like much but it is a fantastic venue. Concert auditoria, theatres, exhibition spaces, private reception rooms and conference rooms, Bozar has 33,000m2 available. The Henry Le Boeuf Hall is regarded as one of the five best concert halls in the world, can seat 2,100 and has hosted some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century including Rachmaninov, Mengelberg, Stravinsky and many others. It’s not all inside space – up to 150 guests can enjoy the sunshine on their Roof Terrace – but don’t worry, it comes with an automatic wet weather option just in case!
A short return to Spirito and I was surprised to find a gorgeous space (no sticky floors as you might expect for a nightclub) which would be perfect for corporate meetings, product launches or intimate dinners. The ground floor can accommodate up to 400 guests for a standing reception, 105 delegates for conference or 70 guests for a sit down dinner. The first floor, which gives an intimate feeling can take up to 100 guests for a sit down dinner. Or why not hire the whole venue for up to 650 guests!
After a busy morning walking, we stopped at The Hotel for a fantastic lunch served in the Pierre Balthazar Restaurant where we watched the Chef prepare the delicious food served with a glass of champagne! To finish this amazing trip around Brussels, we again split into groups for the final quiz game around The Hotel - which team can find the clues, solve the anagrams and unlock the safe the quickest to win a complimentary weekend break at The Hotel! I am sad to say, my team didn’t win.
Heading home, I am excited by what Brussels has to offer and look forward to placing new enquiries there!
If this has whet your appetite for what Brussels has to offer, call one of the team now on 01323 644644!