Artisans of Style

Across the capitals of Europe, some of the finest traditions of craft date back centuries. Ateliers, boutiques and makers that are quintessentially of the cities and countries they’re in, and are esteemed the world over. From leatherworking and cobbling to porcelain and textiles, they create beautiful things that speak to generations of skill, dedication and an appreciation of the beauty of the handmade—and are eminently collectible. 

Brussels

Brussels’ charm lies in its jovial spirit and understated style, characterised by the contrast of comic strip murals and an Art Nouveau movement adorning a capital city steeped in UNESCO heritage. 

Since gaining independence in 1830, the city has undergone a huge transformation into a bustling metropolis. At the heart of it lies the historic old town, circled around the famous Grand Place square. Tree-lined boulevards lead to the outer city, perfect for breezing through by bike or exploring by foot.

Where to Stay?

Found in the heart of Brussels, Hotel Amigo seamlessly blends art, culture, heritage and creativity. Hotel Amigo has been a home away from home for the world’s great and good, who have flocked to Brussels for its world-class contemporary art, historic and cultural sights, the financial district, and the European Parliament.

From chic rooms to presidential suites, Hotel Amigo’s effortlessly marries elegant design contemporary creature comforts with fine art and superlative service.

The Artisans of Brussels

Delving into their European DNA, Rocco Forte Hotels opens their black book to some of the best their cities have to offer, exploring the artisanal talents as well as behind the scenes access to truly the best experiences that embody their locations.

With its cobbled streets, grandiose architecture and picturesque squares, it’s easy to see why Brussels has played the part of muse for many esteemed artists.

Artisanal tours and experiences can booked through Hotel Amigo's dedicated concierge

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Frederic Blondeel

Rue de Ganshoren 39, 1081 Koekelburg-Brussels

Belgium and chocolate: the options are hardly scarce, and quality runs the gamut. If you’re going to make chocolate part of the Brussels experience, best find the most artisanal way possible. Step forward Frederic Blondeel.

It’s many things beyond a chocolatier: it’s a roasters, an ice-cream maker, and even a sort of innovation laboratory. Descended from several generations of coffee roasters, Blondeel decided turned his hand to the cacao bean instead, and the results have won him numerous accolades, among them a Gault & Millau worlds-best in 2019.

Blondeel is torrefaction as real craft: the beans are all hand-picked, and the biscuits, pralines and ice creams all hand-made by Blondeel himself. Of course, the chocolates too: there are also myriad permutations of gourmet chocolates and truffles that fuse traditional flavours—coffee, cinnamon, Dutch speculoos—with unexpected ingredients, including Szechuan pepper, chili, basil, and various teas. The ‘laboratory’ is behind a glass wall, allowing visitors to watch the roasters and makers in action.

Hotel Amigo can arrange appointments for tastings and custom packaging designs at the Rue de Ganshoren flagship.

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Niyona

Rue de Laeken / Laekensestraat 8, B-1000 Brussels

It’s been a few years since the Dansaert Quarter was up-and-coming. But despite its gentrification, it still harbours a genuine creative class and lots of one-off and independent cafes, galleries and artisan workshops and boutiques. Foremost among them is Niyona, a boutique leather workers founded in 2010 by industrial designer Nina Bodenhorst and craftsman Jonathan Wieme.

The small line of bags and satchels they launched with quickly gained a local following; though the remit has since expanded to include furniture, table accessories and even the odd interior-design fit out—the founders consider the HQ to be as much a research lab as it is a design atelier—the core line of cases, bags, and personal accessories remains a purists’ ideal: clean-lined, hand-dyed and -stitched, the embodiment of understated Belgian style.

Hotel Amigo can arrange made-to-order appointments to realise that perfect handbag, jewellery roll or attaché case with one of the Niyona artisans.  

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