Steps away from Brussels Botanical Gardens, the new Hoxton hotel adds retro style to the city’s Northern Quarter. AIME Studios, the creative arm of the lifestyle hospitality company Ennismore, taps into the building’s tech industry origins as a former IBM headquarters—but contemporary art, dining, and co-working spaces replace all signs of white collar cubicles, popcorn ceiling, and fluorescent lighting for what the hospitality group calls a “striking 1970s Brutalism-meets-botany aesthetic.”
The Hoxton moves into the former European headquarters of IBM, the company that launched the mainframe computer worldwide in the ’70s. The 22-story building, which took over Victoria Tower, was built for IBM’s expansion and exemplifies the cash-rich, golden age of early computing with its concrete stripes and steel beams. AIME Studios uses this quintessentially ’70s architectural style to make the Hoxton an ideal spot for cultured professionals to enjoy both work and play in nostalgic digs.
Inside the 198-room hotel, concrete architraves frame the guest room windows, but the raw material is offset by velvet upholstery, high lacquered finishes, and plush graphic rugs. Vintage furniture includes ceramic lamps, terrazzo table tops, a lotus-shaped wicker ceiling lights. The color palette of pink, ochre, and blue, balances the playful energy with a subtle serious tone.
The bathrooms, however, might be more charming than the bedrooms. Bubblegum pink sinks pop against blue wall tile and oversized terrazzo flooring. Guests will want to spend hours in their large, circular tub that gives a birds eye view of Brussels from the luxe skyscraper.
Exclusive guests or party planners may want to rent out the Apartment, which centers around its groovy kitchen with pill-shaped cabinetry, an adorable yellow retro refrigerator, and dramatic circular casings that keep guests flowing from the living room out to the private terrace.
Downstairs, the Hoxton caters to busy professionals as much as tourists. The lobby has a long coffee bar that turns into a cocktail spot at night. More vintage-style furniture, like rusty barrel chairs, rectangular jade lamps, and diamond-patterned bar stools make a whimsical, cozy environment that will keep employees working while not feeling like they’re cooped up at an office. If the common areas are not secluded enough, the Hoxton holds a new outpost for their in-house coworking space, Working From_, which spans four floors.
Dining options include Cantina Valentina, a Peruvian-inspired restaurant, and Tope, a rooftop taqueria with open terrace. Cantina Valentina’s features many golden hues and plenty of plant life drooping from terracotta pots. Tope pays homage to all regions of Mexico with wicker details, pastel colors, and stringy cactus.
To feed the creative soul as well as the body, the Hoxton makes space for local artists with the Hox Gallery. The debut exhibition showcases Bieke Buckinx, a figurative artist. Elsewhere, AIME Studios commissioned murals by Claire de Quentain and Madeline Schilling, who painted copper jaguars creeping behind jungle plants at Cantina Valentina to top off the botanical feeling that echoes throughout the hotel.