Brussels, capital of our beloved Belgium, a place I called ‘home’ for almost 4 years. Unfortunately last year’s terrorist attack had a negative impact on the tourism in Brussels, with a drop of 20% in the number of overnights in 2016. But as tourism is flourishing again and cool new hotspots deserve a place in the spotlight, I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite hotels in town: the JAM hotel!
“We found a former art school — in an end of the century building — dusted it off, gave it some love and made it into a hotel.” quote from the hotel.
There is plenty of choice in hotels in Brussels, ranging from fancy uptown business hotels to not so interesting chains to cosy boutique hotels. But for me JAM really stands out from the crowd. Why? Of course JAM has all the preconditions of being a hotel: a reception, a bar (and we all know that two bars are better than one :-)), a restaurant and obviously more than a few rooms… But in my opinion, they could not have picked a better place for this setting than Brussels, as it is as raw as the city itself as a concrete urban jungle.
However to me, the hotel has another big added value, not only for the hotel but also for Brussels as a city: a rooftop pool with a view! I have been waiting for this the whole 4 years when I lived in this vibrant yet a bit posh (expat) city :-). Moreover, you don’t even need to be a hotel guest to enjoy the vibe!
The design of the JAM hotel is by the hand of Lionel Jadot, a Brussel architect, who also adds the following titles to his name: interior architect, designer, artist and filmmaker(!). So it is no surprise that the JAM hotel is not just another hotel… Almost everything is custom-made with different material ranging from concrete to pine wood, from start (the lobby) to finish (the rooftop)! It is a pleasure to enter a hotel designed by a descendant of a family of crafters. You don’t have to be a design addict to feel the spirit of the designer. As an interior lover, not only the signature of the designer and the industrial vibe attract me, I just think it’s so refreshing to stay somewhere different than the popular Scandinavian style and look-a-like interiors.
JAM is well located near Avenue Louise and around the corner of Chatelain. Furthermore JAM is a design hotel, but not in the high-end way competing with classy 5 star hotels. As soon as I stepped under the lights of the entrance, I felt a bit intrigued with this place, you feel it’s unique, modern, lively and urban. Another thing I like about the hotel is that you can bump into different profiles of travelers and visitors. From the business person who wants something different than an impersonal hotel to the backpacker who wants some comfort, to friends who brunch or families who are on a discovery trip in the capital or just locals who attend an event.
They must have thought why have one if you can have two? I’ve had a nice glass of wine at the first bar, which is just next to the entrance, quit convenient :-). It’s a good start for an apero, especially if you are going to dine in the Italian inspired restaurant. To be honest, I prefer (oh what a surprise) the other bar on the top floor which has terrace with a stunning view… Oh and a pool a few steps down. I really liked the lovely barlady which mixes drinks for you with a big smile, 10 points for customer service! Because of the vibe and atmosphere, it even feels cosy on a typical Belgian rainy and cloudy day. Isn’t this view astonishing?
I got the key to discover 3 different rooms. JAM has 7 type of rooms, ranging from “selfie time” for 1 person to a ‘giga’ with 9 bunk beds. So whatever floats your boat and corresponds with your needs. There is not a big difference design-wise in the rooms, they seem to be extended a bit each time.
I was also amused with the small details such as “Don’t waste water, shower together
One thing that connects all of them is the industrial vibe (of the original building). Concrete roofs, exposed brick walls and a clean floors. The custom-made furniture out of pine wood brings a welcome ‘warm touch’. Then they threw some Moroccan berbers blankets (I’m in the process of convincing my boyfriend we really need such a carpet :-)) and completed the picture with some cactus to set the mood right.
The Italian way… is always a good way. They claim to have delicious pizzas and pastas by their chefs Vincenzo Marino (Vini Divini) & Giambattista Suizzo (Vini Divini Aperitivi). I haven’t had the chance to try their food, but based on the picture it I think it should be on your to do list too. I did have a good italian coffee though on a lazy Sunday afternoon. As you enjoy brunching as much as I do, this could be your next spot for Sunday’s as they do brunch from 12:00 – 16:00.
The rooftop pool
And I saved the best for the last 🙂 As said before, I was thrilled when I heard a rooftop swimming pool was about to open last year. Of course it is not the first rooftop in Brussels (in summer, the events at the rooftop bowling at Sablon/Marolles are memorable), but the swimming pool just gives this extra touch. Although don’t expect to hop over with your towel and bikini on a sunny day. Sorry if I have disappointed you, the pool has some restrictions as it is reserved for hotel guests and (private) parties. Discover the view yourself!
Different room sizes available as from 18€/pers./night
Buffet breakfast = 15€/pers./night (if not included in the room rate)
Dinner – pizza around 13€