For Steve‘s birthday in December, Frank, Steve and I went for breakfast at Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp. At that point, the ‘hotel’ part of the Sanctuary was still closed, as the spa area wasn’t ready yet. But there were already restaurants. You could also enjoy a lavish breakfast. So we did.
The Botanic Sanctuary Hotel is set to be the first five-star superior hotel Antwerp has had in a while. So there is some excitement amongst bon-vivants.
Formerly known as the Elzenveld, the medieval premises once were an hospice and a chapel. When my sister Florence had her wedding dinner and dance there in 2005, the complex was n event space for weddings and seminars, there was a hotel section and there was a – I think desacralized – chapel.
But now it promises to be an oasis of luxury.
“Hidden behind ancient walls within the Botanical Garden. A place of repose where a history of community, healing and comfort translates into new standards of ambience and sustainable design. Stunning heritage architecture is imbued with laid-back spirit and eco zeitgeist. Inspired, energised and soothed by world-class interiors and furnishings. Delight in our spirit as we delight in yours”, the website says.
“Born from nature, space and privacy. Inspiring feelings of freedom. A destination for connoisseurs and foodies, business travellers and design devotees, spa aficionados and affluent shoppers. Antwerp’s first 5-star superior hotel and the city’s first member of Leading Hotels of the World.”
- 108 rooms and suites;
- Four fine-dining restaurants with world-renowned chefs;
- Henry’s Bar with a Botanic-branded level of service;
- Eighteen fully equipped conference, meeting and event rooms;
- On-site 15th century chapel for unmatched experiences;
- Infrastructure for weddings and celebrations;
- 1,000 sqm Botanic Health Spa & Club on three floors.
Five award-winning chefs and four of the best restaurants are assembled under one roof. As a business model, it is smart. Even without sleeping guests, the Botanic Sanctuary is already in operation.
The restaurants are:
- The 1238 Restaurant in the tranquil Monastery Garden conservatory is where Wouter Van Tichelen reinterprets authentic Belgian delights.
- Fine Fleur presents Jacob Jan Boerma and Thomas Diepersloot’s profound passion for seasonal and regional ingredients to create extraordinary taste sensations.
- Hertog Jan by the Michelin-starred partnership of Gert de Mangeleer and Joachim Boudens is revived at the Botanic where the fine dining incorporates a glasshouse, beehives and a herb garden – as well as uncompromisingly stunning cuisine.
- Bar Bulot is another of Gert and Joachim’s gastronomic creations and sister to the Michelin-starred Bar Bulot in Bruges. It’s a chic à la carte brasserie serving traditional Belgian and French fare and a metropolitan vibe.
The breakfast experience
But in the meantime, we tried the breakfast experience. We don’t talk prices much on Trip By Trip, but this breakfast was 45 euros per person. That is a lot of money. In November, Steve and I had breakfast for 25 euros per person at the 4-star Hotel Franq.
So I was very curious what we would get for 45 euros per person.
Firstly we love the colour palette and styling of the breakfast room. Beiges, golds and browns. The staff dressed in wintery tartan green and beige tweeds. Ready for a hunting party. On the hunt for bread rolls, perhaps.
The breakfast set-up is unsurprisingly uhm unsurprising. On one hand, you order your coffees, teas and hot chocolates from a member of staff. A small breakfast menu is provided with eggs in many styles. Steve had ‘fried eggs with toast and watercress’, Frank had eggs benedict and I had ‘scrambled eggs with vol au vent of ricotta and pumpkin’.
But first, we were poured some orange juice and we received an orangey healthy smoothie of many things. And some waffles. Because Belgium. No, it’s actually not a standard breakfast food here.
On the other hand there is the buffet section, which I could divide in two categories.
One: things you expect.
- English breakfast items such as eggs, bacon, sausages.
- Milks of all types.
- Jams and preserves.
- Bread, sandwiches, buns.
- Cold cuts.
- Salmon and other fish options.
Two: less expectable items.
- Chocolate paste aka Nutella.
- Chocolate sprinkles aka hagelslag.
- Koffiekoeken pastries.
- Pasteis de nata.
- Salades spreads for on bread. Bouillie beef stew with mayonnaise, crab salad, chicken curry and egg salad. It’s typical for Flanders.
- Rice pudding with brown sugar.
On the menu, there was a text explaining where all the produce and ingredients come from. Cheeses from Van Tricht, bakery items from the CRU, …
So, 45 euros?
The question is, is it all worth 45? I’m inclined to say yes. The breakfast is a major step up from the Francq breakfast, which was already very good. This one is outstanding.
We probably didn’t ‘use’ all forty-five of these euros. I don’t feel the need for wine at 9 AM and we didn’t eat that much. But we could have.
I see myself returning, for a special occasion.
Food, gastronomy and restaurants
- REVIEW | Dinner at DINS Santi Taura in Palma de Mallorca.
- REVIEW | Restaurant 273 in Utrecht.
- REVIEW | Restauracja Ritz in Gdańsk.
- REVIEW | Carlton President Hotel Utrecht Maarssen ft. Restaurant One24.
- REVIEW | Van Der Valk Hotel Hoorn.
- Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason in London.
- The German Gymnasium, Kings Cross / St Pancras, London.
- Hoftrammm, the tram dining experience.
- An airline meal for the holidays.
- More than, but also sausages: rich cuisine of Germany’s heartland Saxony, Franconia and Bavaria.
- Bars and drinks package on Majestic Princess.
- Restaurants and food on Majestic Princess.
- Food and drinks on board Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas.
- Comparing Royal Caribbean to MSC Cruises.
- Culinary, food and drinks markets in Antwerp.
- 5 (surprising) hotspots in Stockholm, Sweden.
- 8 food hotspots in Madrid for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- POLAND | 3 hotspots of gastronomy in Kraków.