It’s almost the holiday season, treat yourself to a weekend at De Witte Lelie: my favorite hotel in Antwerp! If you are a hedonist and appreciate the exclusive side of a confidential hotel with unique decoration, run by a refined Antwerp family, you will be in heaven! As soon as I entered, I felt elsewhere, in a world full of fantasy, cheerfulness and calm. While being in the center of Antwerp, near the shopping streets, trendy and luxury boutiques! The welcome is warm, you have the impression of staying with long-time friends.
The interior was designed by the talented Ann Dierick. It is a successful dialogue between tradition and modernity. I really appreciate her freedom, fantasy and Brit touch in combining very different textures with casualness. Her way of giving rhythm to the different spaces. It’s colorful, shimmering, sometimes a little rock’n’roll, but always with taste. Each room has a different decoration. My favorite is the one where I slept, with a rock star bathroom with a chandelier-shower (unheard of for me!) and Marylin on gold wallpaper. The bedding is impeccable, so I had a hard time getting out of bed and the room (photo montage below).
The other pearl of the hotel is the breakfast served in the interior courtyard by the very charming Tayla, the Manager. This small garden offers a touch of greenery in spring and summer. The table is set with care and the ingredients are of quality. Eating becomes a real pleasure as the setting is so pleasant! Here, we could also stay for hours, chatting, reading one of the art, architecture or Antwerp books taken in one of the lounges, or just daydreaming. Antwerp-farniente (relaxation Antwerp style)! Thank you to the entire De Witte Lelie team for this enchanting break!
C’est bientôt les fêtes, offrez-vous un week-end au De Witte Lelie: mon hôtel préféré à Anvers! Si vous êtes hédoniste et appréciez le côté exclusif d’un hôtel confidentiel à la décoration unique, tenu par une famille anversoise raffinée, vous serez aux anges! Dès l’entrée, je me suis sentie ailleurs, dans un univers empreint de fantaisie, de gaité et de calme. Tout en étant au centre d’Anvers, à deux pas des rues commerçantes, boutiques branchées ou de luxe! L’accueil est chaleureux, on s’y sent comme chez des amis de longue date.
L’hôtel est situé dans trois anciennes maisons anversoises brillamment rénovées. La décoration conçue par la talentueuse Ann Dierick est un dialogue réussi entre tradition et modernité. J’aime sa liberté, sa fantaisie et sa touche anglaise à marier des textures très différentes avec désinvolture. Sa manière de rythmer les différentes pièces. C’est coloré, chatoyant, parfois un peu rock’n’roll, mais toujours avec goût. Chaque chambre a une décoration différente. Ma préférée est celle où j’ai dormi, avec une salle de bain de rock star au lustre-douche (inédit pour moi!) et Marylin sur papier peint doré. La literie est impeccable, aussi j’ai eu un mal fou à m’extraire du lit et de la chambre (photo-montage ci-dessous).
L’autre perle de l’hôtel est le petit déjeuner servit dans la cour intérieure, par la très charmante Tayla, la manager. Ce petit jardin offre une note de verdure au printemps et en été. La table est dressée avec soin et les ingrédients sont de qualité. Manger devient un réel plaisir tant le cadre est agréable! Ici aussi, on pourrait rester des heures, à bavarder, feuilleter un des livres d’art, d’architecture ou sur Anvers d’un des salons, ou juste rêvasser. Farniente à l’anversoise! Merci à toute l’équipe De Witte Lelie pour cette pause enchanteresse!
If I tell you that the white sand beaches of Aruba are stunning! You will answer me: course, Aruba is a small island in the Netherlands Antilles facing Venezuela! OK, we agree! The color of the sea is between emerald, turquoise and ultramarine blue.
I recommend renting a car and bringing a beach map.Here are my favorites: Dos Playa, two beautiful beaches in Arikok National Park (the first photo above in this article) and Rodger’s Beach et Baby Beach in San Nicolas (second photo below). There is also Eagle Beach (with its Aruba emblematic fofoti trees).
Between two beaches, I visit the Aruba Aloe Museum & Factory, where I learn that the island is also renowned throughout the world for the quality of its Aloe Vera, initially imported and planted since 1890. During the visit, we let’s start with the plantation and witness the different stages of manufacturing cosmetics based on this precious plant in the factory.
2. My Must-Haves For Foodies!
Infini: The Gastronomic Restaurant Of Chef Urvin Croes
We arrive at Infini at the appointed time, around 7 p.m. because there is only one service. Book well in advance! I have no idea how this dinner will go. I discover step by step. Upon entering the only room, customers are seated along a U-shaped counter, around the central table where the Chef and his team cook. In the background, a modern kitchen and the directed lighting contributes to the scenography.
Twelve dishes will follow one another brilliantly prepared before our eyes, with the precision of a goldsmith (photo-montage above). The presentation of the dishes is polished and the flavors highlight local products. I particularly liked the meat and fish: absolutely delicious! The cooking!
Each dish is paired with a different wine. The Chef was kind enough to adapt some dishes for me, due to my allergies (I informed the team when booking). We leave around 11 p.m., really happy with this gastronomic odyssey!
The Other Restaurants Where I Really Liked To Dine
They are in photos in the montage below:
N°1 & n°2 : Olivia Aruba. Very good Mediterranean cuisine! Tasty and creative in a setting that reminds me more of Cuba than the Mediterranean.
N°3 & n°4 : Passions On The Beach. The most beautiful setting for dinner with a magnificent sunset. Our table on the beach was in the front row facing the sea! Simple and friendly cuisine.
N°5, n°6 & photo above : Papiamento Restaurant. The setting is very pleasant, we dine outside around the swimming pool of a 126-year-old manor house. I chose a very good dish of stone-cooked fish and vegetables.
3. Street Art, Gallery And Dream Beaches In The South-East of Aruba
In A Less Touristy Part Of The Island
San Nicolas experienced strong economic growth until the mid-1980s. Then the city fell into disuse. Today, we can discover its streets thanks to beautiful murals (photo montage below). A project initiated by Tito Bolivar, owner of an art gallery in San Nicolas and also guide of the Aruba Mural Tour. Allow at least a good half day.
Then we stopped at two very beautiful beaches, including one that looks like a Pink Floyd vinyl cover which is my favorite: Rodger’s Beach (picture above). The color of the water is incredible! One of the access points to the beach is a long staircase whose steps are covered with mosaic (in the photo montage below).
On the way back to Oranjestad, the capital of Aruba, we had a drink at Charlies’s Bar, an institution here! The decoration made up of thousands of eclectic objects from floor to ceiling included, is a must-see!
4. Explore the paths of the nature reserve
Arikok National Park
Absolutely worth discovering, preferably early in the morning when it’s cooler. We did it with a ranger of the park who is inexhaustible both about the fauna, flora and cultural aspect. A real pleasure! You can pick up a map of the park at the Visitor Center, with around 20 points of interest, including: Cunucu Arikok (traditional Ari Kok house, second photo below), Dos Playa and the Quadiriki Cave (cave in photos below). -above and below). There are different levels of difficulty if you want to hike around the park.
5. A Picnic Near Oranjestad, The Capital
I took a morning to wander the streets of the historic center of Oranjestad, the capital of Aruba with beautiful facades of Dutch architecture. If you like shopping, there is a choice: from luxury boutiques to fast fashion. All grouped together in a few streets.
For me, shopping gets boring very quickly. I prefer museums, cafes and restaurants. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit the archaeological museum. But I really enjoyed the marina area where our second hotel is located (photo below).
A lovey picnic awaits us at Surfside Beach (near Oranjestad), in the shade by the water (photo montage above). When we arrived, the table is already set. And soon as we sit down, drinks and food are served (raw vegetables, cheeses and fruits, the choice is yours). Everything is well presented, there is even a vintage radio. What a nice experience!
We arrived in Aruba the evening, exhausted. And the Boardwalk Boutique Hotel Aruba was such an amazing surprise! Everything I like: a small hotel owned by two Belgian sisters who grew up in Aruba and who have great taste! The hotel is both simple and refined!
From the reception, I was charmed by the interior design. The welcome is warm. We feel good there (photos above and below). The apartment is large and very comfortable, perfectly equipped with a pretty terrace which overlooks the lush hotel gardens. We are in cheerful calm coconl.
There are two swimming pools, outdoor showers, a restaurant for breakfast (portions are generous!). The team and the customers are pleasant. The dream, a true haven of happiness! I didn’t want to leave!
The Second Hotel In Oranjestad (photos below)
The Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort
The second hotel we stayed at during our trip was the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Ressort. The strong points of which are: its small private island (and its famous pink flamingos), its very convenient location in Oranjestad and the fact that the establishment is near the airport. The island is accessed by small boats which shuttle often and its two large beaches are pleasant.