Landmark Brussels hotel is brought to life by Corinthia

Corinthia Hotels recently brought a landmark hotel in Brussels back to life with a dinner to celebrate the group’s recent acquisition of the Grand Hotel Astoria in Rue Royale.
Guests included dignitaries, members of the Brussels community and the hotel’s original owners, Robert and Joelle Goossens Bara, who were visibly moved to be back inside the property which has been closed for over a decade.

A tearful Ms Goossens Bara, whose grandfather built the property in 1910, said: “Everyone in Brussels has memories here… Brussels needs to have our beautiful home reopened and to relive some of its remarkable memories.”
Originally built in 1909 as The Hotel Astoria, the hotel has welcomed a string of illustrious guests and served as a meeting place for kings, dignitaries and world personalities.

In its prime, it hosted former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and former US President Dwight Eisenhower, among many others.
However, it fell into a state of disrepair before closing down over decade ago.
When I say that I want the Corinthia Grand Hotel Astoria to be the very best in Brussels, I really mean it

Since acquiring the Astoria in May, Corinthia announced that it would embark on an extensive redevelopment to turn the property into the city’s leading luxury hotel.

Recently, as was the case when the group bought its London hotel in 2009, Corinthia cleared piles of dust from the hotel’s majestic lobby and ballroom to make it possible to host a grand dinner to mark the company’s arrival in the European capital.

Corinthia chairman Alfred Pisani said: “This property is a living experience of the past. Our primary responsibility is to transform the building and to revive its soul.

“When I say that I want the Corinthia Grand Hotel Astoria to be the very best in Brussels, I really mean it. This will be a stunning property.” Once restored to its former glory, the Corinthia Grand Hotel Astoria will be a five-star luxury hotel, befitting its central Brussels location and situation in a historic, part-listed building.

Designed by famous Belgian architect Henri Van Dievoet, the hotel’s exterior reflects the popular Neoclassical architectural style made famous in Paris by King Louis XVI, while the majestic interior furnishings lent the building a distinctly dignified style.

Since 2000, the hotel has been listed as a protected monument and, while most of the original interior has been lost, distinct touches of past grandeur remain.

The proposed hotel will house 121 rooms, a grand ballroom, meeting rooms, a restaurant, a coffee house, a lounge bar and a spa.

Before the hotel shut its doors at the end of the evening so that the refurbishment process could begin, Ms Goossens Bara told the Corinthia contingent: “We are happy to entrust you with our old and beautiful Astoria. We consider it to be a lady that has been through a lot, but it will shine again, thanks to you.”

Published: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160625/life-features/Landmark-Brussels-hotel-is-brought-to-life-by-Corinthia.616643

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