I arrived very early in the morning after a flight from the US, and took the express SNCB train from the airport to Brussels North (Bruxelles Nord). Rather ambitiously, I decided to walk to the hotel after coming out of the Rue d'Aerschot exit of the station, heading east on Rue Dupont. It was a LOOOONG walk straight uphill with heavy luggage, so I'd suggest that others consider either taking a cab or the metro from Gare du Nord to Rogier and then switching to go to Botanique. The hotel is a block away from the Botanique station.
Although check in is technically at 2pm as is customary, the hotel was able to get me into a room by 10:00am or so. My request for a quiet room was honored, and I was put in room 204 in the back, which was as quiet as could be. The room is huge by European standards, and the bed also large and very comfortable, for once not consisting of two twin beds pushed together. The bath is also large and well appointed (no bidet for those who might expect one in Brussels, however). The free WiFi worked beautifully throughout the hotel, though the connection did not allow for uninterrupted YouTube viewing. The hotel also offers four computers in their business center which are free of charge and have different keyboards to accommodate people who speak different languages. The one drawback is that while the computers have SD/MMC card drives, they are not enabled. The fitness center is small but adequate, with two ellipticals, regular and recumbent cycling machines, and a few treadmills, as well as weight equipment.
I had the overpriced (€25) breakfast at the hotel the first morning while waiting for my room, because I needed a large meal after not eating at all during my overnight flight. There are many small shops in the area where you can (and I later did) grab a coffee and pastry, however. I deliberately wandered around the neighborhood, up the Chaussée de Haecht, to see lots of Turkish restaurants and bakeries, Victor Horta's first Art Nouveau town house, the Maison Autrique at #266 (www.autrique.be, open only on Wednesdays and Sundays, the website has a suggested neighborhood tour), and a beautiful old church (St. Servais, at the intersection with Avenue Louis Bertrand). On the way back down Rue Royale, I stumbled upon the Hotel Communal in the Place Colignon and the Ste. Marie church, both beautiful old buildings worth seeing, as well as visiting the Botanique across the street from the hotel for a quieter moment in the midst of the city.
Also worth recommending for the adventurous and/or cheap are the Turkish restaurants on the Chaussée de Haecht -- I had a €4 lahmacun ("lah-mah-JOON", a pizza topped with ground lamb and spices) at one establishment somewhere around the Rue de l'Abondance. Look for places filled with Turkish people and you won't go wrong with the food.
Be aware that the red light district, including prostitutes sitting at plate glass windows at all hours, is located between the hotel and Gare du Nord (though south of the street I took to walk to the hotel the first morning, thankfully). However, as a woman traveling alone, I never felt unsafe in the area.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel BLOOM! is an artwork in perpetual evolution... A unique hotel in the heart of Brussels where no two rooms are alike. Each light-filled room is decorated with a unique hand painted fresco created by a young European artist. You can pick a room to your own taste. From sober to crazy: the choice is all yours.Whether you’re here to work or to have fun, at BLOOM! you will immediately feel a creative vibe that will inspire you and bring you new ideas. Stay with us and live a unique experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bloom Hotel Brussels
- Hotel BLOOM! Brussels, Belgium