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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Chic and Cheap in Antwerp

Belgium’s design center has shopping opportunities for your weak dollar.

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1. Where to Stay


The Cathedral Penthouse Suite at the Hotel t Sandt.  

At the Floatel Diamond Princess (from $85), a fifties Norwegian mail boat moored near the edge of the Schipperskwartier (red-light district), you can party efficiently. The 42 refurbished cabins are wired, but you can meet the neighbors in the piano bar or the captain’s lounge turned library. Ask for a room toward the front of the ship; there’s a nightclub in the stern.

At the sixteenth-century Hotel Prinse (from $155) in the Stadswaag district, find a tranquil courtyard garden and a modern, light-filled lobby strewn with mod Fabiaan Van Severen furniture. In the Chris Mestdagh suite, find furniture, linens, and towels from one of Belgium’s leading designers.

The best views of Antwerp’s Gothic, UNESCO-listed Cathedral of Our Lady are from the upper floors of the Hotel t Sandt (from $250) in the Oude Stad neighborhood. The Cathedral Penthouse Suite has a light-drenched room, an antique armoire, a Jacuzzi tub, a private terrace, and a giant distressed wooden cog leftover from the 30-suite hotel’s days as a soap factory.


Published on Jan 31, 2008 as a web exclusive.

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