Let me just start by saying: I don’t really like travelling. Or maybe I’m stating that incorrectly, because technically I do like certain aspects of it. It’s just that unlike a lot of other people, I don’t feel ‘wanderlust’ or the need to cross a major distance in other to feel satisfied with my voyage. I am not interested in visiting Bali, Sri Lanka or Las Vegas. I wouldn’t mind going there, it’s just that what I seek in a vacation can easily be found a million miles closer to home.
Vacation for me is:
- A peaceful, scenic journey. Whether that’s by car, train or bus. Sometimes I even like the journey to my destination more than the destination itself – that’s why I love a good ol’ road trip.
- The excitement of packing my bags, choosing the outfits I’ll be wearing and curating a toiletry bag with my favourite travel sized skin care and samples that otherwise never get used up. Even decanting or finding minis of my favourite masks in case I feel like having some me-time in my hotel room.
- Feeling slightly luxurious staying in a hotel, even when it’s not the most fancy one. Just the softness of the bed, the big white towels, the small details of the room, the breakfast buffet … Even the silent, carpeted hallway and the clicking sound of unlocking the door make me happy.
That top three of vacation feelings? They can easily be checked off during a staycation, too! And I’ve found the perfect address that allows me to feel blissfully in vacation mode without being too far away from my usual surroundings. Let me introduce to you: A-STAY in Antwerp!
I was kindly invited by Goodbye Magazine and A-STAY Antwerp to stay the night in the hotel together with my sister Bo. To celebrate the launch of Goodbye’s latest issue that features a whole file on Finland, we got to experience a Finnish night close to home thanks to A-STAY’s Nikolina who’s originally from Helsinki. No need to take a plane to enjoy another country’s culture – yet I wildly dream away at the images and descriptions of the Finnish magic that’s to be read in the magazine!
Located right across Antwerp’s central station, A-STAY is a hidden gem in the middle of the city centre. The location couldn’t have been chosen any better: both for Belgians who stop in Antwerp for a weekend away or a business trip and for international visitors the proximity of the train station stimulates eco-friendly travelling. Something I can only cheer to!
And if you’re staying over, it’s only a small walk until you’re in Antwerp’s shopping area where you can also find a lot of nice places to eat and have a drink. If you’re not into walking too far and you just want to enjoy a quick bite, you can do the 5-minute walk from A-STAY to Wagamama’s in the UGC building for the best noodles. Try their soft buns with crispy aubergine – you’ll love it.
After a tour around the hotel, a shot of Finnish vodka and a lovely udon-meal, my sister and I retreated to our hotel room for some peaceful relaxation. The room is perfect for that, as a lot of features can be personalised for the ultimate experience. To start the hotel doesn’t work with keys but uses the safe biometrics of your palm for a quick and fool-proof check in and unlock of your room.
But there’s much more to it. If you scan the QR code from the room’s tv, you can start personalising things like the lighting in the room and open or close the blinds with just a tap on your phone. What about having disco lights in the shower or choose a preset movie night atmosphere?
You can also find all the hotel services through that digital platform, like wake up calls and invoicing, in order to make it a real fuss-free stay. But also to lower the cost per night because the hotel needs less staff. There’s also no reception, for instance, but you just check in yourself using your ID and credit card. Perfect when you’ve had a long journey and don’t feel like going through too many formalities, or when you’re on a business trip and just want things to go a little bit quicker.
Prices per night here start at € 64, which is quite a bargain when you consider the location and the luxury of the rooms. Definitely one that I will return to whenever I’ve got a range of meetings and events in Antwerp! Even though it’s more of a business layover then, a journey that ticks off all the boxes from my vacation list (including a comfortable hotel room!) makes me feel like I’m having a weekend off anyway.