Holiday Issue 2019

56 Feb19230 Hotel Portinari : Contemporary Hotel in Medieval City Centre The Hotel Portinari is a boutique-style hotel in the heart of Bruges in Belgium. As part of LUXlife Magazine’s 2019 Global Luxury Hotel & Spa Awards, Hotel Portinari was recognised as the ‘Most Outstanding Luxury Boutique Hotel’ in the city – no small feat in a market that is notoriously competitive. We spoke with the hotel’s Press Officer Kelly De Muyt, who offered valuable insight into Hotel Portinari’s dedication to excellence. Belgium, the home of exceptional waffles, beer and chocolate, has become an incredibly popular tourist destination over the last decade, with new travellers becoming enamoured with its hearty local fare and exquisite renaissance architecture. Bruges, perhaps unsurprisingly, has impressed with its classical ambience, and its old-world charm. For Kelly, this remains one of the city’s unique qualities, as she takes a moment to explain in more detail. “Bruges is well known as the ‘Venice of the North’, with the canals and houses making you feel like you are living in the Middle Ages.” There is a lot to explore, and we want to continue this feeling after our guests step over our threshold. Our goal is to offer a place to come home to, where our guests can enjoy a relaxing atmosphere in a green oasis. “Bruges is a very popular destination for a city trip, so we are happy to welcome tourists from all over the world. A questionnaire in 2018 showed that, from all the cities in Belgium, tourists are the happiest in Bruges! With our location on square ‘t Zand, we are the perfect base to explore romantic Bruges. We are in between the shopping streets, a stone's throw away from bus and train stations and the biggest underground car park of Belgium is at our doorstep. Bruges is also famous for its art, so we like to continue that experience in our rooms. If you have always wanted to sleep next to an accent of Rene Magritte’s famous apple, Hotel Portinari is your place to be.” By all regards, the hotel has seen success through understanding that guests crave complete experiences over more traditional offerings. A hotel isn’t merely a place to stop, sleep and rejuvenate – it’s a gateway to an adventure. Travelling, as Kelly emphasises, has become so much more than “strolling around and taking pictures.” “We believe that travelling is about the collective experience – about exploring the most precious hideaways and discovering the bars and restaurants where you can find the locals, or the ‘Bruggelingen’ as we call them. From restaurants to the best museums, our staff will be glad to give clients their personal recommendations. As a boutique-style hotel we are able to provide this personal approach, while also including facilities that ensure that guests don’t have to worry about a thing while they are here.” Here Kelly continues, offering more details on the hotel’s amenities. “Breakfast, for example, is the most important meal of the day, so we like to offer our guests a hot and cold breakfast buffet. From healthy choices with delicious fresh granola or salmon to guilty pleasures such as waffles, with a plethora of toppings to choose from. If a guest gets hungry around lunch, or if they crave something sweet in the afternoon, they can always come back to us. In our tearoom we also offer Belgian waffles, crepes and a variety of cakes, surrounded by green. We sure like to eat here in Belgium! For dinner there is an immense array of choices of restaurants in the city - in 2013 Bruges even had the most Michelin star restaurants per km. Again, we are more than happy to point guests in the right direction if they feel a bit overwhelmed by choice. The conversation soon turns to the topic of the larger hospitality industry. Across the world, sustainability is becoming an omnipresent buzzword, influencing operations and driving culture. Hotel Portinari is no different, as it looks to embrace this movement towards eco-tourism. “#gogreen is one of our main goals. We started with a ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ charter - a set of guidelines and ambitions for our hotel that strives for sustainability in our organization. We defined this as our Triple P’s, and our economic performance is heavily influenced by our respect for the social side (People/Employees) within an ecological framework (Planet). In addition, we also focus on workspace energy and waste management, use of plastic and the idea of ‘re-use and recycle’. Moreover, after years of meticulous searching, we have found some wonderful local artisans who are sublime in what they make, from cheeses and yoghurt to cold cuts and jams. We take great efforts to locally source our produce as much as possible, and only the best is delivered to our doorstep. And our mission continues. Not only is our hotel your green oasis in the busy city center, but in the near future we will even install our own rooftop vegetable and herb garden to recycle and re-use our green waste. We are totally in support of #urbanfarming.” Ultimately, Kelly makes it clear that Hotel Portinari wants to forge a different path in the sector, avoiding the common pitfalls of establishments in busy tourist areas. “We want to avoid mass tourism with low added value, taking Venice again as an example. We hope to attract visitors that appreciate the authenticity and art in Bruges – just like we offer in our hotel, where we combine the art in the rooms with our boutique-style concept of a green oasis as a safe haven in the sometimes hectic concrete jungle of today. Address: ‘t Zand 15, 8000 Brugge, Belgium Website: Telephone: +32 (0)50 34 10 34