I travel to Antwerp about six times a year. It is the city where ECU Worldwide (Allcargo’s global business) was founded 27 years ago and from where the global headquarters is managed. The Belgian city is close to my heart and I have some great memories attached to it.Recommendations
Antwerp is a beautiful and historic city, with Victorian buildings, cafes, bars and hundreds of restaurants; it also has one of the best cathedrals I have seen.
I mostly stay at the Hilton Antwerp Old Town. It is a centrally located hotel with an old-world charm and a very good ambience. It is close to the world famous Cathedral of Our Lady, and has many good restaurants around it, along with the river-side. The place is convenient for commercial activities as most banks have their offices around it, along with the city administration offices and assembly halls.
Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel and Crowne Plaza are others hotels that I would recommend. There are also a few boutique hotels, which have a very good local flavour.
There are numerous places to hold business meetings, depending on the number of people and the kind of atmosphere you want. Most of the hotels have good meeting rooms. So do restaurants.
Among the city’s restaurants, I like Het Pomphuis, which is an old and restored ‘pump house’ next to the river Scheldt. It has a typical French or European cuisine, but with a lot of variety. The place offers beautiful scenery and is ideal for visits at any time of the year.
During summer, I like to sit outside on the terrace and enjoy the old architecture around the cathedral and the Town Hall. I would also recommend a restaurant called The Jane which needs to be booked months in advance. Belgian beers are well known and there are pubs that serve more than 100 different variety of beers; a lot from Belgian abbeys, which you cannot get anywhere else in the world.
The people of Antwerp are very friendly, and it is easy to get around the place. There are many historic places to visit and some nice museums for art lovers; visits to the port areas are also recommended. And a trip to Bruges, which is also known as the Venice of the North, is a must.
One of my favourite places in Antwerp is the high street of fashion goods, where you find all branded items. It is a city where I love to take long walks in the park, watch birds, read, shop and watch plays.
Shashi Kiran Shetty is the founder and chairman of Allcargo Logistics Ltd
(Coordinated by Jasodhara Banerjee)
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(This story appears in the 24 June, 2016 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)