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Hotel Des Colonies History
In 1901, two Belgian friends established a small enterprise and called it Alimentation Automatique. The name of their business adequately expressed its particular novelty, as the owners proved their creativity in the restaurant by installing the first machines that produced sandwiches. The enterprise flourished, and the two friends decided to expand; they established a hotel business on our present site and called it "Alimentation Automatique Hotels de Cologne & de Baviere".

A major fact of Belgian history subsequently inspired them to rename their hotel Hotel des Colonies. King Leopold II had acquired extensive regions of Central-African territory bordering the Congo River, and his personal sovereignty over the region was recognized in 1885. However, the King decided to make a gift of it to his own beloved country, and in 1909 the Belgian parliament voted to annex the Congo Free State, making it a colony that became known as the Belgian Congo. Although the Congo regained its independence in 1960, the name Hotel des Colonies survived all historical turmoil.

The turbulent course of history literally occupied Hotel des Colonies for the first time during the Great War. It respectively served as headquarters to the German militaries (World War I and II) and to the British and American liberation armies (World War II).

Time after time our hotel seems to have attracted notorious and notable guests over the past century. The best-known British military leader, General Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, may well have been one of them, since a 1944 Christmas speech "to be read out to all troops" and signed by Montgomery himself was found in our files. It may even have been typed on our old Remington!

The Americans for their part found the location of Hotel des Colonies so pleasant, that they stayed to renovate it. The lobby, the breakfast room, the old restaurant and the guest rooms were completely redone from a '1900' into a 'fifties' style. Today we take pride in accommodating our guests in advanced facilities while preserving the setting's historic charm. Our hotel has been totally renovated in 2001-2002 and refurbished with all modern conveniences. You may regret that the casino is no longer there, but the hotel is still steeped in tradition. Your breakfast is still being served in a 1900 setting, and the magnificent 19th century mosaic evokes the atmosphere of old times in the Grand Hotel's winter garden.

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Click here to view Montgomery's speech