By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The latest addition to Rio de Janeiro’s largely expanded hotel scene, the Belga Hotel, has just opened its doors in the heart of the city’s commercial district of Centro.
Billed as Rio’s first Belgian hotel, the Belga Hotel is housed in a historic building originally built in 1927, that has been completely restored to combine all of the structure’s charming period features with modern up-to-date conveniences.
Located in downtown Centro, the hotel is only a stone’s throw from Rio’s revitalized Port Zone, which thanks to the Rio 2016 Games, has become a must-see tourist neighborhood with its historical landmarks, sophisticated cultural activities, charming squares and waterfront views.
The Belga Hotel is ideally situated only a short walk from the metro and new VLT light rail, as well close to all the area’s top attractions such as the Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow), the Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR), the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center, and the AquaRio aquarium.
According to managing partner, Koen Lizen, the goal of the hotel was to combine the best elements of Belgium and Brazil. “We decided to bring some of the style of lodging of Belgium, but with a light, very Brazilian flavor,” exclaimed Lizen at the hotel’s opening.
Flávio Pessoa, the hotel’s commercial manager, added, “There are five floors and 25 apartments in the standard, superior and executive categories, all distributed on floors with different colors with architecture that shows a little of the Belgian culture,” he explained.
Designed by Belgian architect Dirk Engelen, each of the Belga Hotel’s 25 suites is completely insulated for sound and has a mini-bar, smart TV, lounge bed, high-speed wifi, and fully customizable LED lighting.
“The guest will find the cordiality of the Brazilian service and experience the quality of the Belgian service,” explained general manager Mervyn Scheepers.
Of course, no great hotel would be complete without top-of-the-line dining options and the Belga Hotel is no exception. “We will have in our restaurant a cuisine that will combine the great icons of Belgian gastronomy with a Brazilian touch, surprising all palates,” said Scheepers.
At the helm of the hotel’s culinary experience is Belgian chef Alexandre Binard who heads the hotel’s restaurant, the Belga Brasserie.
Open to hotel guests and Rio residents alike, the Belga Brasserie provides diners an authentic Belgian experience, including favorites such as traditional Belgian waffles, crepes, locally sourced Belgian chocolate, Belgian Frites (french fries) and, of course, Belgian beers.
Daily rates at the Belga Hotel range from R$195 a night for a single standard room to R$248 a night for the executive suite and includes breakfast. More detailed booking information and availability can be found at the Belga Hotel’s website.