Alison recommends you:
A Sustainable Choice in Brussels, Belgium
See where the future is heading and spend a night in the #ThonEU, ideally located in the European quarter of #Brussels. This is a sleek #ecofriendly hotel, which is only a stone throw a way from the city center. You may also find #aspirational knowing that you are contributing to a #greenerplanet, giving back to the community, whilst indulging in all their organic ingredients and homemade beer.
Finding a good hotel in Brussels is easy. Finding a hotel in Brussels with a social and environmental conscience wasn’t always so easy. At least until last April, 2012, when the Green Key certified Thon Hotel EU opened its doors.
I had the opportunity to stay at the Thon Hotel EU in September, thanks to Wallonia Brussels Tourism. It was an odd experience, spending a night in a hotel only three blocks from home, but I’m glad I did.
First and foremost, the Thon EU is a beautiful, modern hotel. The public areas are dramatic and colourful and the whole building feels bright and airy.
dramatic and colourful and the whole building feels bright and airy.
Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre
Chocolate Tour Brussels, Belgium
Belgian Beer Tour
My room was spacious and comfortable. The bed was comfy and the shower was excellent. Everything was exactly where I wanted it to be: bright reading lights attached to the bed, complimentary water in the mini-fridge, and a power outlet in easy reach of my nightstand so I could plug in my phone. Perfect!
Then there was the breakfast – It was vast. Oh how I wish I could have done it justice, but the night before I had a huge meal at La Buvette. I wasn’t planning on eating breakfast at all, but I couldn’t resist when I saw some of my favourite things on offer.
The Thon EU also has a perfect location on Rue Loi. It’s just down the street from the European Commission so it’s a favourite of the Eurocrat set. But, steps from the Arts-Loi metro, it’s also perfectly positioned for tourists. Also good for tourists – room rates are significantly lower on weekends (see the end of the post for details).
There are 405 rooms, meeting rooms, a gym, underground parking, a lovely bar and restaurant with a terrace, and even some shops on the ground floor. While all of these things are good, they aren’t revolutionary.
That’s where the Green Key certification comes in.
Green Key is an international label that sets standards for eco-friendly hotels (as well as B&Bs, guesthouses, hostels, event venues and attractions). Green Key sets high standards for not only ecological projects but also social ones. Some of the criteria include: waste, water and energy management; green open spaces; food; environmental education; and mobility. Moreover, it encourages innovation, and that’s exactly what I saw at the Thon EU.
Green Key sets high standards for not only ecological projects but also social ones.
We’ve all seen those notices in hotels about recycling your towels. But let’s face it – most hotels aren’t recycling towels to be ‘green.’ They are doing it as a cost saving measure. The Thon EU takes that one-step further.
Guests are given a card to place on their door. If you choose not to have your room serviced (saving water and chemicals) you’re given a €5 voucher. This can be used anywhere in the hotel: the bar, the restaurant, the shops. OR you can choose to donate your voucher to Thon’s charity of choice – Good Planet, which teaches young people about environmental responsibility and sustainability issues. The hotel donates thousands of Euro each month from this property alone. (Thon also operates 6 other properties in Brussels, including the city’s first 5-star hotel, the Stanhope.)
The hotel donates thousands of Euro each month from this property alone.
The Thon EU is also helping Brussels’ bee population, by keeping two beehives on their roof garden. One of their eco-initiatives was to hand out packets of bee-friendly wildflower seeds to guests. The honey produced by the 150.000 bees in used in some of the restaurant dishes.
The Thon EU even has its very own organic beer, Thonner’ke.
My favourite initiative is taking place in November – a recycled book drive. Guests and locals alike can drop off unwanted books at the Thon EU reception between November 16th – 22nd. They’ll receive a voucher for a Thonner’ke beer. You can then return on the 22nd between 12-5pm and choose up to 3 books from the selection.
Last year the book drive was a huge success with 150 books in 11 different languages and more than half found new homes. Those books left over were donated to the charity, Les Petits Riens/spullenhulp.
The Thon Hotel EU ticks all of my boxes for a great hotel stay: comfort, location, design, service and above all environmental and social responsibility.