Review: The Hotel Brussels

Introduction
Executive Club Houston Airport
Lufthansa First Class Houston to Frankfurt
Getting paid $150/hour to sit in the First Class Lounge
Sheraton Salzburg
InterContinental Berchtesgaden
The Hotel Brussels
Hilton Frankfurt Airport
Lufthansa First Class Frankfurt to Miami
Dad’s Thoughts


I was in Brussels for two days to attend TravelMagic, where I presented on maximizing miles and points. The conference was being held at The Hotel, and in the interest of full disclosure, the cost of my room was covered by the conference.

First of all, I think this hotel deserves an award for its name. It’s always fun to get in a taxi and say “take me to The Hotel, please.” “Which hotel?” “The Hotel.” “Yes, but which one?”

The Hotel used to be a Hilton and was independently rebranded just recently. Quality of the hotel aside, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to fill an independent (non-chain/non-affiliated) hotel with over 400 rooms. It’s almost unheard of nowadays.

The Hotel looks fairly bland from the outside, though is more stylish once you step in the doors.

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The Hotel exterior

The lobby sort of has a “W” feel to it, minus the stuffiness.

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The Hotel lobby

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The Hotel lobby

On the side of the lobby was even a cart with some water, gummy bears, and marshmallows.

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Snacks

Check-in was efficient, and we were quickly given keys to our panorama suite on the 25th floor, which we had been upgraded to.

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Elevators

The suite had an entryway with ample closet space to the right and the bathroom to the left.

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Panorama Suite entryway

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Panorama Suite entryway

To the left was the living area, featuring a couple of chairs with a coffee table, and an “L” shaped couch.

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Panorama Suite living area

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Panorama Suite TV

Also in the living area was the minibar, and all of the contents were complimentary.

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The Hotel minibar

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The Hotel coffee machine

To the right was the bed and a desk area.

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Panorama Suite bed

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Panorama Suite desk

The room boasted awesome, panoramic views.

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Panorama Suite views

The Hotel had a quirky welcome gift waiting on the desk, consisting of a handwritten note, a box of chocolates, and a “Handbook of Style” (which I could certainly use). 😉

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The Hotel welcome gift

Back near the entrance on the right was some closet space.

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Panorama Suite closet space

Opposite of it was the bathroom, which featured double sinks, a massive walk-in shower, toilet, and even a heated towel rack.

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Panorama Suite bathroom

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Panorama Suite sinks

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Panorama Suite shower

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Panorama Suite toilet/bidet

The toiletries were C.O. Bigelow branded, the same as the Andaz properties in New York.

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Toiletries

I thought the room was beautifully appointed, and it’s worth noting that the hotel even has free wifi. The catch — and this is a huge catch — is that it was excruciatingly slow.

In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, there’s a decent gym on the 23rd floor with nice views of the city.

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The Hotel gym

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The Hotel gym

There’s also some nice meeting spaces on the top floors, which we used for TravelMagic.

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The Hotel meeting space

Breakfast was included with our room at the hotel’s restaurant — creatively named The Restaurant — which is located just off the lobby.

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The Restaurant

The breakfast selection was pretty standard for a European hotel, though they had both cookies and brownies. Yum/damn them!

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The Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Restaurant breakfast buffet

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The Restaurant breakfast buffet

As far as Brussels itself goes, I actually really liked the city. It took a day for it to grow on me, but it has some beautiful architecture and pedestrian zones. Below are just a few pictures. Pardon the angles because I was trying to take a single angled picture for Instagram, and, well, that just didn’t end well.

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Brussels

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Brussels

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Brussels

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Brussels

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Brussels

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Brussels

Anyway, I had a really pleasant stay at The Hotel. The issue is that I always try to stay at chain hotels whenever possible to maximize elite benefits and points earning potential, and without a loyalty program or belong to a hotel group I think they’ll have a hard time filling 400+ rooms a night, unless they can really attract the convention crowd. If I weren’t into points/status, though, I’d definitely consider staying here again if the price is right.

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Comments

  1. Totally would not have imagined that interior based on the exterior.

    And Instagram or not, please no angled pictures 😉

  2. “The issue is that I always try to stay at chain hotels whenever possible to maximize elite benefits and points earning potential, and without a loyalty program or belong to a hotel group….”

    How do you decide between an OK chain hotel vs an amazing non chain hotel? Europe has amazing boutique style hotels that will not offer you points but will offer you an amazing and unique experience. I also struggle not to get points but I rather stay in a small unique boutique hotel versus a cold chain hotel with hundreds of rooms where you just feel as another guest.

  3. “I’d definitely consider staying here again if the price is right.”

    It isn’t 🙁

    The “flexible” rate for that Suite is $600+. And since it’s not a chain hotel, the only way to get upgraded from a basic room is to be a presenter at a conference.

    It did look really nice though. My thought is “I’d definitely consider staying here if” someone else is paying the bill. 🙂

  4. Funny about the photos. In my industry, stuff that’s shot purposely angled is called Dutch angles. You weren’t far off, being in Belgium!

  5. @ Santastico — There are definitely exceptions, especially boutique hotels that participate in FHR/Virtuoso. The issue here is that this hotel isn’t quite “boutique” enough to make me choose it over a chain.

    But if a boutique hotel is really unique I think it’s totally worth skipping a chain to stay at it.

  6. No angled pics in the future please! Been there done that 😉 kind of thing. Brussels is a strange city, and a bad hotel scene. I like being there but not too often. Taking a break this year! 🙂

  7. Nice soothing color scheme of the hotel room.
    Kelly has excellent handwriting and writes a welcoming note.

    Time to replenish the buffet, however.

    New camera? The recent pics are amazingly clear.

    The Handbook of Style suggests putting the lid down before taking pics of The Toilet.
    😉

  8. You could come to Minneapolis and get it all. The Hotel Minneapolis is part of the Autograph collection from Marriott. And it is really colon the inside, a former old school bank.

  9. It’s a shame that this hotel left the Hilton Worldwide family. More depressingly, Conrad Brussels also re-flagged about a year later. Though there’s still a Hilton in the city center, both of the aforementioned properties were better.

  10. Hi everyone,

    First of all I would like to thank Peter for the compliment about my handwriting 😉

    With regards to our rates > the average rate for a Panorama Suite is about $ 400, and prices are lower during weekends since we are mainly a business hotel. We also have a Facebook Fan Rate offering 15% discount on the Flexible Rate and a special Fan Treatment, bookable via https://www.facebook.com/thehotelbrussels/app_305394136188487. In case of additional questions please don’t hesitate to drop me an email via kelly.wouters@thehotel.be 😉

    Wishing you all a lovely weekend.

    Warm Regards,

    Kelly Wouters
    DotCom Manager
    The Hotel. Brussels

  11. I hear you about the points and benefits options, but… as noted in a prior reply, sometimes those things are NOT as important as they seem. If/when you can find them, the medium and up-scale non-affiliated hotels and inns are usually a far better experience. Comparing those non-branded hotels to the First World, perhaps Amerikan standard is mixing apples and oranges. Whatever floats your boat and gets you points is fine, but I think you are missing about 75% of the fun. **Even if you have to pay** real Euros, not use points etc., I think you are missing something if you don’t try a few more of the one-off inns. The best rival or exceed the chain houses and they make their rules on the fly. Service: small house. Food: small house,shut up and eat what is served. Gracious friendliness and memory: They do remember! If you are polite and enjoy their facilities they will always have room for you. Behave like a jerk and their book is always full.
    As often as you visit Europe, I have to wonder why you do not explore a lot more of the smaller, top-end inns. I guess it must be about points. Nice review.

  12. I’m curious as to how you got upgraded without being part of a loyalty program? You had one of the nicest rooms in the hotel, yet lamented the difficulty getting upgraded. Was this room paid for by the conference?

    I’m mostly curious for selfish reasons, like wanting to stay In an awesome room like this :).

  13. The hotel looks nice but I wish they came up with a more imaginative name to avoid the confusion.

    There’s certainly room for boutique hotels even if you have status/points/whatever with hotel programs. Recently, stayed at Hotel Maximilian in Prague and its amenities/location were pretty darn great for the price. But other posters are correct that you need to establish a good relationship with them 🙂

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