Saturday, May 9, 2009
Hotel Metropole, Brussels
Inaugurated in 1895, this legendary Brussels hotel is the city's only 19th-century property still open for business. It was originally built by a brewer's family as an addition to their café, intended to promote their selection of beers on the famous Place de Brouckère. Today, it boasts the grandest hotel setting in Brussels. The main entrance is all French Renaissance frivolity leading to an Empire-style reception hall replete with gold stained-glass windows that celebrate the city's art-nouveau heritage. Glittering with chandeliers, the sumptuous lobby retains many of its original features.
Throughout its history the hotel has become part of the city's social, economical, political and cultural life, welcoming such guests as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Enrico Caruso, Sarah Bernhardt, Arthur Rubinstein, the crew of the Challenger space shuttle, as well as many presidents and royals.