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Romelle

Belgium Brussels NH City Center

By Romelle,
in

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My brother and I had two rooms for three nights here. We arrived via train from London a little after 6pm. This was the last stop on a fairly complicated and energetic itinerary and I hadn't bothered to get exact mapping to the hotel, figuring we could just find a map at the train station. Bad idea. Book stores and newspaper stands and any place likely to have a map were closed. Nothing posted on walls. We could of course have just taken a cab, but we'd just hiked over 100 miles in England and were in shape to walk. Might have taken a subway if we'd known which one. Anyway, finally in desperation simply started asking people working in restaurants. Ended up with some fairly sketchy directions in a mixture of languages, but it ultimately did the job for walking. I have to say the people we encountered were very friendly and willing to help. The walk was partly through a dodgy neighborhood and wouldn't have been a good idea after dark.

We later learned the hotel is only a couple subway stops from the train station (Louisa stop) and then a couple block walk.

Check-in was speedy, polite, and simple. No mention of PL. We got rooms adjacent. For some reason my brother got a large room with a bath tub and I got a tiny one with just a shower? Well, he is lots bigger than me so maybe that was the logic?? He did offer to trade after we realized the difference (I really like bath tubs), but we'd both half moved in by that time.

A good selection of TV channels including several English ones.

Both rooms were spotlessly clean and had everything we could wish for (other than that tub in mine). Well sound-proofed against city noise. Comfortable beds. Coffee and tea making facilities. The sleek contemporary/art deco styling I've seen in other NH hotels. Blacks and whites and maybe deep reds.

Breakfast was not included, and was a steep 16 Euro on weekends (we didn't avail ourselves of it). However, maybe a block away toward the subway station were some wonderful little bakeries and cafes and even a small grocery store.

While the name "City Center" is sort of a misnomer, the subway gets you anywhere in the city in minutes anyway. The true tourist old-town center is maybe a mile away, but an interesting walk to get there.

If you have time, don't miss the Atomium - a 1958 World's Fair structure modeling the iron crystal. Huge, glistening polished metal structure you can enter and move about in via elevators and escalators. Great views, history, and a wonderful slice of 50's life.

A fine PL bargain for my $57 bid.

Romelle

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Tiny bathroom indeed... Could just about sit on the toilet and brush one's teeth at the same time.

I've been in a fair number of hotels in Europe but this bathroom was unusually small. While the other factors were decent (though as mentioned, "City Center" is a misnomer), I would look into a Hotwire option next time which might allow me to pick a property I'd like more.... (with the homework one can do on BetterBidding :) )

On the plus side: Yes, the modest grocery stores nearby (one of which is a small, crappy version of a Delhaize, I believe, on Rue Dejoncker close to "the ring" (Boulevard de Waterloo at that point in the circle)) did prove handy for snacks... The Bonne Maman yogurt with apricot was tasty. The walk to the Grand Place is 2 km (per Google Maps), about 27 minutes (though I walk faster than average). Grand Sablon (and the wonderful chocolatier Wittamer) is closer. The pleasant and linden-tree-flower-aroma-filled Parc de Bruxelles/Warandepark was fairly close as well.

Easiest route to the airport from there was to walk to the Louise/Louiza station and buy the 3 euro fare to the airport which includes the local public transport leg to the Zuistation/Gare du Midi on the Koning-Boudewijn-bound 6 line or the Simonis(Leopold)-bound 2 line. Could be confusing since the 2 line ends at Simonis on either end, but the (wrong direction for going to the Zuidstation) is the Simonis(Elisabeth) direction. Anyway, the 3-euro ticekt to the airport connected us at Zuidstation to the train to the airport.

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