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Brussels Hotels

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Featured Brussels Hotels


Self-styled world capital of comic books as well as of Belgium, Brussels is famous for waffles, chocolate and beer. But it offers visitors so much more, shattering its image as a city of "Eurocrats". Alongside many fine examples of Art Nouveau architecture, Brussels has a thriving cultural scene and is one of the great culinary hubs of northern Europe.

Brussels: city layout

Central Brussels is divided in two: the Lower Town and Upper Town, both filled with narrow, medieval streets and linked by a gently sloping escarpment. The former centres on Grand-Place , while the latter is home to fine arts museums and the Royal Palace.

To the east, in Schuman, you'll find most European institutions, and the museums of Parc de Cinquantenaire. In the northern suburb of Laeken you can climb the city's symbol, the Atomium – a giant, atomic model of an iron crystal built for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair.

What to see: from Gothic art to Tintin

The centrepiece of the Lower Town, Grand-Place is one of Europe's great squares. Surrounded on three sides by ornate, step-gabled guildhalls, it is dominated on the fourth by the soaring Gothic tower of the city hall, completed in 1420. Nearby is the infamous urinating boy statuette, the Mannekin Pis.

Also in the Lower Town, the Comics Art Museum focuses on Belgium's history as a centre for comic books, including The Adventures of Tintin, written and often set here in the city. For classical art, head to the Upper Town's Old Masters Museum, featuring works by Rubens, Van Dyck and Rembrandt.

The concierge recommends…

  • Following the Comic Strip Walk, a series of over 40 brightly painted murals featuring characters from Tintin to Asterix.
  • Visiting the Horta Museum, the former home of prominent architect Victor Horta, to see how the influence of Art Nouveau helped shape the city.
  • Checking out the Art Nouveau Musical Instruments Museum, which lets you hear as well as see musical instruments throughout the ages.
  • Entering the strange world of surrealist art in the Magritte Museum, which tells the Belgian painter's life story and houses some of his best works.

Hotels in Brussels

Most sights and many shops are located in central Brussels, so many visitors find it convenient to stay here. Hotels in Brussels' suburbs are often quieter, and the city has an efficient public transport network so all neighbourhoods have fast connections to the centre.

Staying in the central Upper or Lower Town will leave you within an easy walk of sights and nightlife. There is also a high concentration of hotels in Ixelles, particularly around the northern end of Avenue Louise, a leafy boulevard lined with shops and restaurants.

If you're here on European business, you may prefer to stay in Schuman, where many EU institutions are located. Hotels near Brussels Airport (BRU) leave business visitors close to several international offices, including the NATO headquarters and Eurocontrol.

Eating Out in Brussels

Brussels enjoys an excellent culinary reputation, from simple street food to fine dining.The former includes Belgian frites (incorrectly called "French" fries in English), usually smothered in mayonnaise. Also popular are gaufres (waffles) and the Belgian chocolate praline: a silky smooth treat that melts on your tongue.

The Lower Town contains hundreds of restaurants serving global cuisines, as well as plenty of simpler cafés focusing on classic Belgian dishes. In this area, Quai aux Briques has become known as the place to go for seafood.

The central Rue des Bouchers is a narrow alley crammed with restaurants that also serve seafood, but are more geared towards tourists – ask your concierge about the best places. Head to the Upper Town and the area surrounding Place du Grand Sablon for a cluster of chic bistros.

The chef recommends...

  • Carbonade flamande: A rich and filling beef stew that has been slow-cooked in beer.
  • Filet américain: Finely ground beef, spiced and served raw. Similar to but simpler than steak tartare.
  • Moules-frites: A large bowl of steaming mussels, cooked in a variety of sauces – white wine, garlic, cream, curry, and "natural" are the most commonly seen. Always served with frites.
  • Chicon au gratin: Chicory, cooked whole and wrapped in ham, then baked in a cheesy béchamel sauce. Be careful – it comes sizzling from the oven, and the serving dish is red hot.

Shopping in Brussels

If you've always wanted a corkscrew featuring a Mannekin Pis (the famous Brussels statue of a boy urinating), you'll find plenty in the city's souvenir shops. However, more discerning shoppers also appreciate Brussels for its high-end fashion outlets and chocolatiers selling an array of pralines.

Shops abound throughout the Lower and Upper Towns, but Rue Antoine Dansaert has made itself a name as the home of high-end fashion pieces by some of Belgium's most talented designers. For more everyday items, you'll find chain stores all along pedestrianised Rue Neuve, at the north end of which is the City 2 shopping mall.

Just browsing the boutiques of Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is worthwhile to marvel at the architecture of this 19th-century, glazed-roof shopping arcade – one of Europe's oldest. Farther south, the city's largest open-air market, Marché du Midi, sets up every morning outside Midi Station.

Prices are fixed and bartering is unnecessary. You should also keep in mind that most shops remain closed on Sundays.

Top souvenirs from Brussels

  • Lace: Whether you're looking for a gown, a table covering or a parasol, the city's many lace vendors offer this Belgian speciality in every form imaginable.
  • Chocolate:Pralines are synonymous with Belgian chocolate, but specialist chocolatiers such as Wittamer and Frederic Blondeel also use hundreds of other flavourings, often transforming this sweet treat into tiny works of art.
  • Beer: With over 1,500 different beers to choose from in dozens of different styles, you'll be hard pressed not to find something to like.

Culture & Nightlife in Brussels

Brussels has a vibrant nightlife scene, based largely around its restaurants, bars and clubs. Outside the central area, with some notable exceptions such as the north end of Avenue Louise, bars tend to be oriented towards a local clientele, although visitors are of course welcome. Many bars and clubs have very late opening hours – until dawn in some cases.

You'll find most of the livelier bars and clubs scattered throughout the Lower Town. The area around Bourse and Grand-Place has a high concentration of bars, several of which still sport their original Art Nouveau decor.

If sitting and admiring the architecture is too staid for you, there are several popular dance clubs in this area and to the south, around Rue du Marché au Charbon. If you'd prefer to sip and savour an aperitif in peace, you'll find a number of upmarket bars in the Upper Town, many clustered around Place du Grand Sablon.

Live music venues in Brussels

  • Central Ancienne Belgique hosts big-name rock and dance acts from around the world.
  • Forest National, in the southern suburb of Forest, is a large arena that plays host to global musical superstars.
  • La Monnaie hosts both opera and theatrical performances.
  • The Music Village puts on jazz performances in a hall designed to recreate the golden era of jazz in the 1920s and ‘30s.

Visiting Brussels with a Family

Children of all ages are welcome in the cafés and restaurants of this family-friendly city. Many museums and attractions will appeal to young and old, although some charge an entry fee. Parks are free, of course, the main one in the city centre being Parc de Bruxelles near the Royal Palace.

For a cartoon-themed day out in the Lower Town, head first to the Comics Art Museum. Its exhibits take visitors on a journey through the history of comic books, showcasing a cast of characters from Lucky Luke to Tintin.

On a grander scale, but also for free, the Comic Strip Walk is a series of more than 40 colourful murals adorning buildings throughout the Lower Town, starting near Place de Brouckère. They playfully recreate famous scenes from the books, often merging ingeniously with the city's architecture.

Top family attractions in Brussels

  • Even adults will want to visit the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate, where you can learn how this sweet delicacy conquered the world and watch praline-making demonstrations.
  • If you want to visit some of Europe's great monuments, from the Eiffel Tower to the Acropolis, all in one morning, take a trip to Mini Europe. Here they are all recreated in 1:25 scale models.
  • The Children's Museum in Ixelles has no computers or touch screens, but instead uses drawing classes and costumes to help younger kids discover their creative side.
  • The Bois de la Cambre is a large park south of the centre, filled with lakes and trees, where children can run around and burn off some energy.

Latest Brussels Hotel Reviews

Average Rating for Brussels Hotel
(4.0 / 5) of 1988 reviews
excellent hotel
By alken9595
centrally located hotel near transport, also Brussels Tours pick up from hotel which was excellent. [Less]
Perfect Location for visiting the city
By nick231272
This hotel is perfectly situated for visiting the city with many of the main sites being a short walk. The staff are friendly and efficient, and the rooms very clean and comfortable. Highly [More] recommended [Less]
Great location for exploring the city
By EtchGuy
Although the building is well over 100 years old, the rooms are well laid out, spacious & well equipped. Great location for exploring the city. The only down-side is having to cart your luggage from [More] the nearby public parking garage [Less]
Good facility, poorly staffed
By JureS
The hotel itself is new, rooms are nice and spacious and clean. However, the hotel is so poorley staffed, that it completely destroys the experience. We wanted to have dinner and a beer in the hotel [More] restaurant. After 20 minutes of sitting there and constantly calling the waiter - to no avail - we decided to leave. They had 2 people working for an entire restaurant and bar, for a hotel that has what looks like 300 rooms. And the serving staff served people at such a random pattern. People arriving 15 minutes after us got the waiters attention before ua. Completey unacceptable. [Less]
room lighting
room lighting could be brighter. more light points could be provided with brighter bulbs [Less]
Conference in hotel down the road
By DickieP
Convenient, reasonably priced. Good position for conference attending in another hotel in the area (walking distance). [Less]
Good experience
By Tour Dictator
Due to recent airport events I was unaware of the shuttle service being operational and thus took a taxi. Hotel close to the airport and quiet and comfortable. Liked the lake view and ducks from the [More] lounge area. Early check in was not allowed until 2pm but the manager got us a room very quickly as we arrived from a US flight early. Stay was pleasant and we had no negative issues. [Less]
good location next to airport
By businesstravel66
nice stay - very convenient to airport. I was disappointed that there wasn't a hotel shuttle bus running during the day. We landed at 1:00 PM and the signs directed us to the airport shuttle pickup [More] but the shuttle didn't run during the day. There was no way to contact the hotel to request a pickup. We had to backtrack 15 minutes to find a taxi for the 5 minute drive. [Less]
Good hotel but front desk organisation to improve
By Forto2
The hotel is what you would expect from Crowne Plaza but at checkout i was unable to find any staff. The whole front desk and surrounding area was empty and no way to contact anyone. [Less]

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