Brussels Marriott Hotel-Brussels, Belgium Date of stay-September 2010 Some people scoff at the idea of staying abroad at an American hotel chain, but personally I feel it’s a great idea, especially when starting a trip after a long transatlantic flight. My logic is you can be almost assured of what to expect, specifically with familiar comforts such as normal size bathrooms and comfortable bedding. There aren’t any hidden surprises that are sometimes the case when staying at an unknown hotel you found on the Internet. The other reason I decided to stay there was its rate. A word to the wise about this hotel, rates on the weekend were drastically lower than during the week. Why, you ask? Well Brussels is home to a large diplomatic community, but where do the diplomats go on the weekend? They go home to their native lands, so many hotels in Brussels are nowhere near to the capacity over the weekend that they are during the week.
The Brussels Marriott’s location cannot be beat, as it is less than a five minute walk to the city’s famed Grand Place and other key attractions (including notable “chocolate houses” aka utterly devastatingly delicious chocolate shops). Although it was a somewhat tiring walk to the hotel from the Central train station when contending with pulling heavy luggage over medieval cobblestone streets, it still is doable. It’s also worth saving the euros you would spend on cab fare, since the halfway mark between the station and the hotel just happens to be the Grand Place, where you can admire many of its stunning buildings while resting. The hotel and I immediately got off to a good start when we were able to check in right away, even though it was just after 10 in the morning. This is always a great start to a trip, for nothing is worse than being jet lagged and in dire need of a long, hot shower, and actual sleep, and having to wait for your room.
The room itself was typical of a Marriott; there wasn’t anything in its look or feel that would make you conscious of the fact that the city of Brussels was right outside. However, as I mentioned previously, I like it that way. I can experience a completely new country and culture, but am still assured of a good night’s sleep because there are no surprises (at least not most of the time). Included in our 130 euro a night room package was an American style buffet breakfast each morning. The offerings were quite extensive, including a Belgian waffle station, although they were nowhere as good as those you would buy at a food stand on the street. There was never a wait, although the staff to seat you could be a bit standoffish and unhelpful at times.
My only negative critique of the hotel was that the few times I wanted to use the hotel’s concierge services, there was never anyone there. We often checked at different times of the day and the desk area was always empty. It was never a life and death matter (only a reservation for a restaurant), but disaapointing that no one was around to assist us. If you’re reading this and have eaten at Belga Queen, I’m immensely jealous. All in all the Brussels Marriott provided a lovely stay and was a terrific bargain when considering the high cost of top end European accomodations.
Brussels Marriott Rue Auguste Orts 3-7/Grand Place Brussels, 1000 Belgium