Hotel Julien, Antwerp $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Style-meisters love this place for the Eames chairs covered in black and white cowhide, pale oak floors, whitewashed furnishings, and beamed ceilings. It's just so…perfect. Everything's picked with precision—right down to the white orchids—to look good alongside the 17th-century period features (check out the library's gilded ceiling). What with the minimalism and the soothing sounds of trickling water coming from a lovely inner courtyard fountain, it's better suited to chilled-out arty types than party animals in search of upmarket flash. The three-story hotel was originally a home and stamp shop and sits in the old center close to the Grote Markt and cathedral, which can feel a little tourist-heavy at times. There are only 11 rooms, and it has the kind of friendly, informal service that small hotels can do so well. It's difficult to play favorites, but No. 7 has a private terrace and No. 11 is a cozy attic retreat with peaked ceiling, wooden beams, and large skylights; both have cathedral views. Don't miss the big breakfasts served by candlelight at a long communal table in a high-ceilinged room.
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