June 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline

newsline.gif (8042 bytes)INTERNATIONAL FOCUS
This global center of the diamond trade welcomed the Provincial Diamond Museum of Antwerp in May. The new facility bills itself as a scientific institute dedicated to studying the history of the sparkling gems.

Antwerp’s first fashion museum, the MoMu (which also goes by the name ModeNatie), will open on Sept. 21, 2002, under the guidance of the Flanders Fashion Institute. The 26,246- square-foot museum will include 4,593 square feet of exhibit space and a 13,000-square-foot archive library. The Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp was declared “a piece of world heritage” by UNESCO. The museum, which chronicles the history of typography, contains two of the oldest printing presses in the world.

The Pallieter restaurant re-opened under new management in Damme, nine miles outside of Bruges. The traditional Belgian restaurant hosts groups of up to 100.

The Palace of Charles of Lorraine, former governor of the Belgian low countries, was renovated and opened last year as a museum celebrating the 18th century.

Hotel Amigo, just off the Grand Place, finished a $15 million renovation in March 2002. As part of the project, the 177-room Sir Rocco Forte-owned property opened a new restaurant, Le Verlaine, a bar and a fitness center. The hotel’s 540-square-foot penthouse suite includes a private kitchen and a dining room, as well as a 180-square-foot private roof terrace.

Also near the Grand Place, the 326-room Hotel Bedford added a conference center. The new facility has 15 meeting rooms, including the New Armstrong room, which can host up to 1,000 for cocktail parties.

The Brussels Parliament building recently opened its ornate Salle de Glaces room for public meetings. With hardwood floors and 18th-century decor, the room hosts up to 400.

The 454-room Tulip Inn Brussels Boulevard, near the city’s North Station, finished extensive renovations last year.

The 254-room Hotel Atlanta in Brussels’ city center is now the NH Atlanta. The property made the name change last year, following renovations. Set between the Grand Place and the city’s North Station, the hotel features a ninth-story restaurant and an outdoor pool.

The 106-room Melia Hotel changed its name to the Hotel Chatelain last year. This uptown property contains six meeting rooms that can host up to 350.

The former Barsey Mayfair in uptown Brussels is now the Hyatt Regency Brussels-Barsey. The 99-room hotel finished a complete renovation of guest rooms last year under the guidance of interior designer Jacques Garcia. Changes included a jewel-toned color scheme and objets d’art. The hotel has banquet facilities for up to 60 as well as a solarium and a fitness center.

The former Swissôtel, next to the European Union Parliament offices, became a Marriott Renaissance property early last year. The 262-room hotel includes fitness and business centers.

Two more Marriott property are in the works, one a 190-room Courtyard scheduled to open near Zaventem International Airport in 2004. Another hotel will open at the city’s stock exchange later this year.

Offering upscale Belgian cuisine, the Belga Queen opened in March in the heart of the city center. Group capacity for this trendy restaurant, a former bank, is up to 200.

Plans for a Marriott property here have been canceled.

Compiled by Terence Baker

Along with Salamanca, Spain, Bruges was named this year’s Culture Capital of Europe by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (a.k.a. UNESCO). Accordingly, the city is hosting a number of yearlong art shows, including an exhibit of Dutch painting featuring Jan Van Eyck. City passes for cultural sites are available. (011) 3270-70-22-3302; www.visitbelgium.com

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