Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen transforms former convent into Antwerp's August hotel

“When you restore a building, you have to do it with respect.”

The August Bar used to be a turn-of-the-century chapel (All photos: Robert Rieger/August)

A sublime celebration of history and Flemish culture, August is a modern-day sanctuary set within a former Augustinian monastery in the heart of Antwerp, Belgium.

Five heritage-listed structures — reshaped under the guidance of legendary Belgian architect and designer Vincent Van Duysen — have been fashioned into a social hub for the city. Indeed, locals stepping behind the three walled-in gardens that shelter the hotel discover a welcoming place to have coffee, a drink or a meeting while hotel guests can choose to lose themselves in the quiet gardens and an indulgent, intimate spa.

The charming property is located in Het Groen Kwartier (the Green Quarter), a pedestrian-only luxury development

Set in the nuns’ living quarters, none of the 44 guestrooms — ranging in size from 16 to 42 sq m — are alike, thanks to the unique footprint of the storied buildings, leaving space for each room to have its own personal touches.

Bespoke finishings abound everywhere, from the tailor-made Flos lighting to the Portuguese handwoven carpets. The luxurious bathrooms feature Italian hand-glazed tiles, Fantini taps designed by Van Duysen and Bamford amenities. Each room offers views over the hotel’s verdant gardens or Antwerp’s distinctive cityscape and the magnificent suites lead out onto perfectly appointed terraces overlooking the chapel, courtyard and pond.

The rooms are a warm homage to the dedicated way of former Augustinian life, with the addition of all modern amenities

The hotel’s restaurant concept — a modern brasserie that considers its location and history — has been developed by chef Nick Bril, who heads The Jane, a two-Michelin star eatery nearby.

At August, the past becomes a prologue with a nuns’ former private chapel serving as the main lounge and bar area, with a beautiful Adolf Loos-like light feature by Flos and customised furniture done in collaboration with Molteni&C. Here, huge taupe and grey-beige sofas combine with club-like dark, black and brown leather sofas to create a sophisticated world of repose. The spa, outdoor swimming pond and a guests’ library rounds out the stunning picture. More information and booking details, see here


This article first appeared on June 10, 2019 in The Edge Malaysia. ​


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