Follow by Email

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Glamp it up - the Euro way for $220 per night!

Airstream caravans

I guess they must have a fascination with American Airstream trailers?
GLAMPING in the centre of Brussels? What might that involve? Perhaps a luxury safari tent or yurt in the back garden of someone's city centre house?

  • From:The Australian 
  • May 18, 2013 12:00AM

  • But I am reassured to discover that the sole glamping venue in Europe's de facto capital is actually a sleek silver 1950s Airstream caravan, discreetly parked in the forecourt of the aptly named Vintage Hotel.
    Isabelle and Fabian Henrion have already made a name for themselves as innovative hoteliers. The couple opened the Vintage a couple of years ago to rave reviews for its fabulous 1960s and 70s decor, with items collected from auction rooms and flea markets across Europe.
    "We couldn't resist the idea of an Airstream once we discovered a specialist supplier in Nevada ready to ship it here," says Isabelle. "And especially when we learned that it was made in 1959, the same year as our Atomium [the city's iconic steel monument] in Brussels."
    Word quickly got around on the web, and glamping enthusiasts started turning up from across Europe. "Belgians tend to book for a romantic weekend, often driving up on a classic Vespa, and now we're even getting businessmen during the week - although I still can't get used to [seeing] a pinstripe-suited Eurocrat stepping out of the caravan in the morning to go off to the Council of Europe."
    The Airstream attracts attention, both from guests staying at the Vintage - who try to peek through the window - and from curious passers-by on the street. Getting into the caravan is a bit like slipping through the hatch of an Apollo spacecraft, though it is of course a lot roomier inside. And the whole place has been renovated in sumptuous glamping style. Outside the look is authentic retro, right down to its original name, Hazel, etched on the door, but the interior has been completely modernised, with shower and loo.
    A huge bed with a duvet takes up one end; the other is a cute 50s-style salon, though with cable television and iPod dock. There is a free tuckbox of Americana goodies (marshmallows, Oreos, M&Ms, jelly beans, bubble gum) and efficient heating makes it cosy despite the freezing temperatures in Brussels in winter.
    So, with the salon warm, and the blinds down for privacy, we decide to continue the spirit of camping and have an indoor picnic. Just down the road is a Delhaize supermarket, the equivalent of Britain's Sainsbury's, perfect for stocking up on Belgian gourmet specialties. We come back loaded with fabulous smoked ham from the Ardennes, pickled herrings, boulette meatballs, some pungent fromage de Herve and crunchy endives.
    We add a couple of bottles of Orval Trappist beer and a box of irresistible Pierre Marcolini chocolates, and the bill comes to about a quarter of what a restaurant meal would have set us back.
    The evening passes quietly, with only the sound of the odd guest trundling his suitcase across the cobblestones, and in the morning we join the other guests in the funky breakfast salon of the Vintage.
    Staying in the caravan definitely gives us an itch for retro shopping, and wandering out on to elegant Avenue Louise, we leave behind the bland couture stores and head on to the Place du Jeu de Balle, which is one of Europe's most brilliant flea markets, teeming with tat and bargains. Two roads lead out of the market - rue Blaes, which is a goldmine for vintage clothing, and rue Haute, a paradise for collectors of art deco design, though maybe not at bargain prices.
    And from there, it is just a 20-minute walk back to the Gare du Midi and the Eurostar. With most Eurocrats vacating Brussels hotels on a Friday, there are plenty of bargain weekend rates on offer. The Airstream doesn't fit into that category, but those wanting a truly offbeat weekend may think it is well worth the extra.

    The Guardian

    Brussels Glamping, 45 rue Dejoncker. From €170 ($220) a night, including breakfast and welcome drink. More:

    No comments:

    Post a Comment