Where to stay in Brussels

Explore the Belgian capital from an intimate 1920s townhouse or the muted luxury of your hotel.

Hotel Amigo

"This pristine five-star retains the crown of best hotel in town," says Vicky McGinlay in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine. This is "muted luxury" with rooms furnished "with linen and leather, and marble in the bathrooms".

It was taken over by "hospitality royalty" Rocco Forte in 2000, but "remnants of the previous hotel remain: antique furniture and vases in corridors [and] 15th-century black granite slabs from the street now in the lobby".

Four rooms and suites are dedicated to the Belgian icon Tintin, with "tiny box-framed Tintin figurines" gracing the walls.

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The restaurant is excellent, but the "nearby Art Nouveau cafs Le Cirio and Le Falstaff are also lovely spots for a meal and a beer, with a helping of olde-worlde atmosphere".

Doubles from £173 rates tend to be lower at weekends (www.roccofortehotels.com; 00 800 7666 6667).


Les Chambres de Franz

This three-bedroom 1920s townhouse is "perfectly positioned for exploring the independent boutiques and galleries of upmarket Place Brugmann", says Guy Dittrich in Cond Nast Traveller."The simple but plush bedrooms are on the top floor of the house, which was totally renovated in a funky modern style in 2011."

The most "hotel-like" room is La Terrasse, "which has a separate bathroom (the others are more open-plan) and a large decked terrace overlooking a little courtyard a lovely spot to have a breakfast of pastries and coffee".

Of the other two rooms, Le Studio has a kitchen, "for longer-stay, self-sufficient guests", and Le Grenier "is in a charming, open-beamed loft space".

As you might expect, there's no in-house restaurant, but hostess Florence Bovy is a "fount of knowledge" on places to eat. "Nearby fish restaurant Toucan sur Mer is always good."

Doubles start from around £85. Find out more at Leschambresdefranz.be, or call 00 32 2 325 7448.


The world's best one-room hotels

The lone bedroom has a double bed, an iPod and a 32" TV. "From the private rooftop terrace, you can look out over Siem Reap's old market area towards Angkor Wat the largest Hindu temple complex in the world." And the whole thing costs from £155 per night, B&B (Oneoffplaces.co.uk; 01285-750713).

For an intimate weekend in Paris, try One by the Five. "This single-suite hotel comes with a video camera for couples' private use', a cocktail station with ingredients for a special love elixir' and a ceiling painted with clouds and fibre-optic stars suspended over a floating' designer bed," says Ellis. From £396 per night (Onebythefive.com; 00 33 1 4331 5231).

The owners of Hotel Room in Helsinki, Finland (pictured), "have a sense of humour". Room Nr 1' has a double bed, leather sofa, scarlet rugs and designer wallpaper.

Located in the vibrant Kallio district, the hotel provides a "surprisingly honest treasure trove' map of the area with mini reviews of eateries and bars. Typical entries include: "Old boozers' hangout. If you want to be hassled by smelly winos, it's perfect." From £100 a night (Hotelroom.fi; 00 358 40 8336 696).