As you all know by now, I have a soft spot for Brussels. Unlike its neighbors Paris and Amsterdam, Brussels is a city you have look deeper in order to find the small treasures to make your experience unforgettable. That being said, the experience starts on where you stay. Brussels Hotels can range from top luxury to quaint guesthouses. Here are my top five picks of where to stay in the city, all tested by yours truly.
Luxury Travel: The Hotel Brussels has just undergone a massive renovation. Located on Chaussée de Waterloo among luxury shops such as Louis Vuitton, Armani, and Tod’s it’s the perfect place for a luxury trip to Brussels. Tip: the higher you stay, the better the views of the city from your room. You can see the Place du Sablon, Palais de Justice, and the beautiful architecture of the city. The rooms have comfortable beds, modern décor, neutral colors, and most importantly, tons of light (very important on a light deprived Brussels). Local tip: head to Mamy Louise for lunch or a coffee (five minute walk) or head to the weekend antique market at Place du Sablon (10 minute walk). The Hotel Brussels, Boulevard de Waterloo 38, Bruxelles
Design: If you love design, The Dominican Hotel in the city center is the place for you. The Dominican monastery turned hotel is perfect for a romantic city trip or a luxury getaway with friends. I love the open courtyard of the hotel, popular with locals for weekend cocktails or a coffee break. As you walk through the dark hallway to your room, you are accompanied by soft music and taken to a quaint, gorgeously decorated room with hints of green and purples. The tub is deep, perfect for a soak after a long flight (aromatic bath salts included). Make sure to have cocktails at the bar, they are simply delicious. Local Tip: Walk to Place Saint Gery (five minute walk) for drinks at one of my favorite spots: Halles de Saint Gery. On Saturdays, head to Place Saint Catherine (five minute walk) for the markets. The Dominican Hotel, Rue Leopold 9, Bruxelles
Art Lovers: I first experienced Hotel Bloom! in 2009 to plan a work event and was captivated by the original concept of the hotel. I soon returned for dinner at Smoods, the hotel restaurant which five years later is still popular among the locals, especially on the weekends since they have a DJ. What makes Hotel Bloom so original is the art work in the rooms. No two rooms are alike. My room during my stay December 2014 was hand painted by a Ukranian artist and it had a really cool view of the Botanique (the botanical garden of Brussels). Stay highlight: breakfast. Not only does it have a wide selection but it also has a waffle truck inside the breakfast room! Local Tip: The Botanique has some amazing concerts in their initamate venue, make sure to check out their schedule. Although the neighborhood has its rough parts, the metro is located right next to the hotel and there is a tram stop right in front of the hotel so accessibility is perfect.Hotel Bloom! Rue Royale 250, Bruxelles
At home with locals: I love the concept of a bed and breakfast hosted by locals. My Italian friends Pietro and Mario opened Sleeping in Brussels, bed and breakfasts in the heart of the city with two houses on Rue de l’Eclipse. They both have lived in Brussels for decades and know the city like the back of their hand. Pietro also owns a wine bar nearby, Winehouse Osteria and a wine online wine shop, Only Great Wines. I used to order Italian wines from them when I used to live in Brussels for my dinner parties. The rooms make you feel at home with personal touches and breakfast. Another perk is that the bed and breakfast is LGBT friendly but also caters to all visitors (I gifted my friends a stay for their wedding present there, they loved it). Local Tip: Do you love Salsa? Walk over to Che Havana, a small salsa bar on a side street of the Grand Place for live music and delicious mojitos.Sleep in Brussels, Rue de l’Eclipse 7, Bruxelles