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Thon Hotel EU – A Sustainable Choice in Brussels, Belgium

By alison - November 5, 2013 (Updated: November 17, 2016)

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Sustainable Belgium.
Thon Hotel EU, Green Key Hotel in Brussels

Thon Hotel EU, Green Key Hotel in Brussels

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.

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!

My comfortable and well designed room at the Thon EU

My comfortable and well designed room at the Thon EU
Spacious bathroom at the Thon Hotel

Spacious bathroom at the Thon Hotel

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.

I couldn't resist the huge buffet breakfast

I couldn’t resist the huge buffet breakfast

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.

The beautiful bar at the Thon Hotel EU

The beautiful bar at the Thon Hotel EU

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.

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.)

Just a few of the Thon's eco-initiatives including their own bio beer

Just a few of the Thon’s eco-initiatives including their own bio beer

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.

Bees Please!

Bees Please!

The Thon EU even has its very own organic beer, Thonner’ke.

Other green initiatives include:

  • free Villo-bike rental passes for guests
  • free parking and charging for electric cars in the parking garage (even if you aren’t staying at the hotel)
  • Blood drives in co-operation with the Red Cross
  • Reusable glass bottles of filtered tap water (still and sparkling) in all conference rooms
  • Distribution of 5-minute timers, on World Water Day, to encourage people to take shorter showers.
  • Solar panels on the roof and low energy light bulbs throughout.
  • Rainwater harvesting system to water the roof garden and interior plants
  • Recycling bins in rooms
  • Eco-friendly cleaning products
  • Donation of leftover toiletries to charity
  • And much, much more. See them all here.

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. For more information on this year’s book drive, visit the Thon EU website.

The colourful dining room at the Thon EU

The colourful dining room at the Thon EU

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.

To learn more about the Thon EU and other properties that have earned the Green Key certification, visit the Green Key website.

Disclaimer: My one night stay at the Thon Hotel EU was sponsored by Wallonia Brussels Tourism, however all opinions are, as always, my own.

Thon Hotel EU
75 Rue de la Loi (Wetstraat)
1040 Brussels

+3222043911

Weekday rates start at: €150 without breakfast for a classic double room.
Weekends are significantly cheaper, starting at €69 excluding breakfast or €82.50 all inclusive.

Looking for more of our favourite hotels in Belgium and beyond? Visit our Hotel Reviews page to find out where we’ve been sleeping.

Read more from Cheeseweb.eu

Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison
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