During the past 4 months I’ve lived and worked in Belgium and I’ve definitely taken advantage of how easy it is to get around here. Paris is only about 3 hours away, London around 1,5 hour and so the list of European capitals within reach continues. But the EU capital itself, Brussels, is definitely also worth a visit and there’s several reasons for that. I went to stay at one of the most central hotels in the city, Steigenberger Grandhotel, which is situated amongst expensive shops and trendy restaurants on Avenue Louise. Here’s my review.
Big and comfortable
Steigenberger is a German hotel chain founded by Albert Steigenberger in 1930. Since that time the chain has spread to several parts of Europe, but here in Belgium there’s only one. Grandhotel is a 4 star establishment, it has 267 rooms and the location probably couldn’t be any better if you’re looking for a true city break. My firsthand impression was good and the friendly porter outside the hotel welcomed me with a smile. There’s a reason for it’s name Grandhotel; the first thing you see when entering the property is an enormous main hall filled with mahogany furniture, chandeliers and lots of people having coffee and checking in at the reception. One could probably get lost, but in my case I only had to reach the elevator and push the ‘2nd floor’ button to reach my goal; a double room containing both a balcony and a beautiful Nespresso machine, which would appear to become my new best friend.
For business and for leisure
Apart from a restaurant and a bar, Grandhotel accommodates a spa including a pool and a fitness area. The bar at the hotel was nominated the best hotel bar in Europe in 2010 by Prix Villegiature, so I obviously had to visit that as well!
Unfortunately the spa isn’t a part of the hotel itself, wherefore guests are charged 25 EUR if they want to make use of the facilities. A bit misleading since the spa is so closely linked to the hotel. Shortly after my arrival I decided to have a quick bite in the Loui Lounge & Bar, and even though the service definitely wasn’t 4 star worthy (!) it was nice to sit in the roofed outside area and look at all the people passing by. The bar proved to deliver both delicious cocktails and a well-equipped wine menu. I didn’t have dinner at the hotel, but it’s possible to reserve a table in the ‘Brasserie Loui’, which serves an array of international and regional dishes and selected wines.
Grandhotel is popular amongst business people and tourists, who will gladly pay a little extra for an overnight stay. The rooms are decorated in a tasteful and luxurious manner and they range from ‘Classic’ rooms to ‘Royal’ suites (there’s more than 5 different suites to choose from!) All rooms are decorated with lovely details such as iPod stereos, espresso machines and – the best part – comfortable king size beds! It’s a perfect location for a city break in Brussels – but do mind that room prices start from 209 EUR pr. night. For more info on Steigenberger hotels go to www.steigenberger.com
Rates: from 135€
Facilities: access to fitness + spa at preferential rate, conference, private parking, iPod docking stations in all rooms.