FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Brussels, Belgium, Conrad Hotel Brussels, Aspria Avenue Louise Institut de Bien-Être

Aug 1, 2007
2007 / August 2007

In Brussels, Avenue Louise is arguably the most posh address in the city; and the Conrad Hotel on Avenue Louise is arguably the most posh hotel in the city. Not only is it home away from home for visiting bigwigs, it’s a magnet for status-conscious locals who frequent the hotel’s Café Wiltcher’s for lunch, dinner and especially Sunday brunch, and who work out and spa — because if you’re dining regularly at Café Wiltcher’s you have to work out and spa — at the Aspria Avenue Louise Institut de Bien-Être in the hotel.

Located on three subterranean levels, the spa is cool and modern without a discernable style. The fitness center, which opens at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, fills up quickly after office hours, and the dreamy blue pool one level below it attracts a goodly number of lap swimmers. This being Belgium —chocolate capital of the world — the spa’s street entrance faces Pierre Marcolini Chocolatier, one of the best in the city, although the “beautiful people” entering and leaving the club on a pleasant weekday evening didn’t seem to grasp that irony.

Because I was a Conrad Hotel guest, I entered the spa on the hotel side, down a private elevator with exclusive keycard access. There is a strong members-only feeling here and the reception desk staff very carefully checked my treatment reservation to be perfectly sure that I belonged.

Admittedly, I’d never pass for a fashionable local or even for one of the hotel’s many Eurocrat guests. Nevertheless, I made it past the velvet rope — or in this case, electronic gate — and into the women’s changing room where I had to insert a €2 coin to release the key from my locker. (The coin was returned when I was finished, but I still found the system odd in such an exclusive establishment.)

Arriving early left me time to use the sauna and to relax beside the pool — there’s also a whirlpool and steam room, both coed — before I embarked on a 30-minute massage followed by a 30-minute mini-facial.

Because the massage was brief, the therapist concentrated on the areas I requested — my back and shoulders —using Aromatherapy Associates oil designed to improve circulation. She did just as I asked, and when she was finished I regretted that I didn’t have more time to spend on the table. The treatment room was simple, comfortable and larger than many I’ve seen, and the ambient music was soothing.

Lightheaded, but in a very nice way, I made my way to the facialist’s room. This one was smaller than the massage treatment room, yet somehow less cozy and definitely more clinical. My inability to speak French and the facialist’s tentative command of English meant that we spent our time almost entirely in silence. She set to work with Decléor cleansing milk, scrub, serum and mask, then left me to relax for 10 minutes while the mask set — long enough to let my mind wander toward sleep before her soft knock at the door brought me back to reality.

After my facial, I reclaimed my cushioned lounge chair beside the pool and let the massage sink in, listening to the water rippling and gazing up through the windows of the fitness center at the young executive types lifting weights and pumping away on the elliptical trainers. There was just a little too much preening going on for me to take them seriously. (Did that guy with the shaved head really need to gaze into the mirror so intently while he did his bicep curls?) Then I reminded myself that despite the fact that this spa and fitness center are located in a hotel they are still, primarily, part of a big-city health club. That’s why, in addition to workout areas and treatment rooms, the Aspria Avenue Louise Institut de Bien-Être has as its centerpiece a lounge area where stylish folks, some in street clothes and some in workout gear, meet up for drinks and snacks.

Which is not to say that spa treatments are an afterthought here. They’re done professionally and with care by well-trained therapists. And more im portantly in these days of can-you-top-this treatments, the spa doesn’t offer more than it can handle well. Thus, you’ll find a fine selection of massages, a healthy handful of body and facial treatments using Decléor, Aromatherapy Associates and Temple Spa products, a few treatments geared for men or for mothers-to-be and a complement of manicures and pedicures. You won’t find anything weird or wacky; not even a chocolate body wrap (as if Belgians would waste their good chocolate on such things!).

London-based Aspria operates several spas and health clubs: three in Brussels and one each in Berlin and Hamburg. The Avenue Louise location opened in 2005 and the newest addition to the facility is an EasyPlay golf simulator that replicates course conditions on some 50 international courses. It can be used solo for a fee of €25 (about $34) or with a coach for €60 (about $80). Clubs are provided.

If there’s a downside here it’s the fact that, even though the spa and fitness center are on the premises, guests of the pricey Conrad Hotel Brussels must pay a €25 day fee to use all the amenities, including the pool, sauna, steam room and exercise equipment. Or maybe that’s a small price to pay to be among the beautiful people.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Explore Excursions

#globility

Insta Feed
Airlines
Jul 18, 2024

Turkish Airlines’ New Codeshare Agreements

Turkish Airlines and KM Malta Airlines, the flag carrier of Malta, entered a codeshare agreement to operate joint flights last month. Turkish Airlines also signed a freesale codeshare agreement with Air China.

Why Buy Trip Cancellation Insurance?

Don’t risk losing all the money you’ve spent if you must cancel your trip at the last minute. Allianz Travel Insurance can give you:

Daily
Jul 17, 2024

History and Refinement Combine at Oslo’s The Continental Hotel

Traveling to Norway’s capital city? For an ideal setting, The Continental Hotel’s address on Stortingsgata in central Oslo is just the ticket. Ideally situated close to public transportation, the ferry harbor, and a wide array of world-class museums and dining options, this elegant 5-star, family-owned hotel is a member of Leading Hotels of the World, offering a luxe guest experience that presents the best in Nordic design and ambience.

Global City Guidebook: Cairns, Australia

Located on the northeastern coast of Far North Queensland, Australia, Cairns is a seaside city drawing visitors both by land and sea. The city, founded in the late 19th century, features two UNESCO World Heritage sites, a rain forest comprising part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns blends urban sprawl with Australia’s natural landscape, from beaches to rivers to valleys. With just 153,000 people calling the city home, Cairns invites visitors to explore its many sites and experiences.

Fill Your Heart with Ireland

Whether it's the people, the craic (fun) or the coasts, travelers always find something to love about the island of Ireland. What fills your heart?

Daily
Jul 17, 2024

Celebrate with a $50K Milestone Birthday Offer in Rome

With the latest trend of bespoke travel experiences, Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese launched the Milestone Birthday offer, perfect for celebrating big birthdays in luxury. The five-night experience includes a curated selection of activities each offering an unforgettable celebration.

eFlyer Deals
Jul 17, 2024

AmaWaterways Has a Host of Savings Offers for 2024/2025 Sailings

AmaWaterways celebrates its 22nd anniversary with a plethora of savings offers on 2024 and 2025 sailings. Plan ahead and enjoy savings of up to 20 percent off on 46 different European itineraries. This offer can be combined with AmaWaterways’ exclusive AirPlus Promotion, letting travelers from all U.S. gateways enjoy economy airfare to Europe at $899, premium economy airfare at $2,299 or business-class airfare at $4,299.

Paradisus by Meliá Redefines the All-Inclusive Experience

Paradisus by Meliá, a leading luxury all-inclusive resort brand, is taking the hospitality world by storm with its latest developments. With a slew of exciting developments, including a fresh property in Punta Cana, an adults-only resort in Los Cabos, an enticing chef partnership, revamped suites and much more, the brand is setting new standards for all-inclusive excellence. Each property maintains the essence of all-inclusive luxury while immersing guests in the rich tapestry of its destination, offering bespoke experiences that celebrate local culture and heritage. Paradisus is on a mission to redefine the all-inclusive paradigm, moving beyond conventional expectations to deliver personalized, lavish experiences tailored to every guest.

eFlyer Lead
Jul 17, 2024

What to Know About Delta Air Lines’ New Agreement with Riyadh Air

Last week, Delta Air Lines announced a new partnership with Riyadh Air, offering a range of benefits for consumer travelers between North America, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and beyond. The new agreement strengthens connectivity and increases future growth opportunities for both carriers.