brussels lodging, neighborhoods

Dec 26th, 2002, 11:54 PM
  #1  
polyester
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brussels lodging, neighborhoods

We're visiting Brussels for a few days in mid-March and are considering several hotels. Does anyone know anything about Hotel le Dome near the Jardins Botaniques at the Rogier Metro stop? I'm curious about the hotel and the neighborhood and am having a hard time figuring out what part of town this is in. Thanks so much for any help you can provide!
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 01:06 AM
  #2  
humpty
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Thats where all the porn shops are located
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 02:41 AM
  #3  
BTilke
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Humpty is right. It's not my favorite neighborhood, although there is more to it than porn shops. The rue Neuve by the Place Rogier is a main (but not the best) shopping street in Brussels and is absolutely mobbed on week-ends.
If you want to be near the Grand'Place, there are several closer hotels to choose from in a wide range of prices.
While staying near the Grand'Place puts you in the heart of tourist Brussels, there are some very nice hotels in excellent residential neighborhoods. I highly recommend checking out the Hyatt Barsey on the Avenue Louise. It's a new luxury boutique hotel (it was an independent hotel and then Hyatt acquired it). Friends were able to book rooms there last week-end for only $115 a night, including breakfast.
BTilke (Brussels and Bochum)
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 06:32 AM
  #4  
bru
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The Le Dome is right across the street from a number of porn shops, but the neighborhood isn't really that bad so long as you walk south. It's only a ten minute walk to the Grand Place and is in the same location as a bunch of other hotels including the Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, Le Plaza, etc.

There certainly are nicer locations, although you may not want to be so far away as the Barsey down Ave. Louise. I would check out the Hotel Jolly in the Sablon. IMHO this is the nicest area in Brussels and you can get good rates off-season.

Also, a friend just got a rate of EUR 75 at the Hotel Manos Stephanie which is a great hotel right near Place Stephanie which is at the top of Avenue Louise near the high-end shopping district at Toison D'Or (also a very nice area).
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 07:20 AM
  #5  
Alice
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Here is my review of the hotel we used in October:
Atlas Hotel, Rue du vieux Marché aux Grains 30, Brussels 1000
– this might be classified as a ‘business’ hotel, was very nice and had a large bedroom and huge bathroom (by Euopean standards) situated off an internal courtyard. This one was very nice and I would recommend to anyone (115 Euro/double). The bedroom had plenty of space to maneuver around the beds, a desk/chair unit, and two armchairs. There was a small foyer with a full-length mirror and a closet/cupboard. The bath was a tub with shower, gleaming fixtures, and plenty large. The location was good, about 2 blocks the opposite side of the Bourse from the Grand Place, ie. walk past Bourse to get to Grand Place. The only unfortunate thing here was so much road construction, but that’s the way it goes.
Stopped in at Hotel le Legende and met a very friendly proprietor, who gave me every conceivable brochure or card he had. Said the hotel is small but has numerous regulars, so early booking is recommended. Might try this one next time, about 2 blocks off Grand Place.
http://www.atlas-hotel.be/
http://www.hotels-belgium.com/brussel-center/legende.htm
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 10:20 AM
  #6  
polyester
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Thanks for the info, y'all. Just in case we decide to go with our super-duper bargain at le Dome (the other places suggested sound lovely and comparable but I haven't found the deals like with Hotel le Dome -- wonder why , would there be any reason to think this area is unsafe for two women traveling alone? We've been to New Orleans numerous times with no problems near the porn shops and nudie bars. Also, about how many shops? The entertainment district back home has several adult bookstores and sex toy shops on the main drag, but they are extremely low-key, so no one is ever hassled. Thanks so much for all your help!
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 10:31 AM
  #7  
Joe
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Hotel Welcome is in a neighborhood about five minutes from Grand Place. You wouldn't know there were tourists around. Lots of little stores, restaurants, a park across the street. We had a very large room on the second or third floor. Decorated in medieval clutter, it was a kick. Very large bathroom with tub/shower, entry foyer, tables and chairs, good view out the windows. $120 per night. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Breakfast in a little restaurant on ground floor and the food at dinner was pretty good as well. Different, not for everybody, but we enjoyed it very much and it was very convenient. If you head away from the Grand Place, you are quickly into a major shopping area and no tourists. If you search on Hotel Welcome, you will find many fans of this little hotel. I found out about it here. Have a great trip.
 
Dec 31st, 2002, 01:28 AM
  #8  
bru
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Polly,

The area around Le Dome is not unsafe. I work across the street and leave quite late at night and have never had any problems. There are lots of other hotels and many businesses very close by. The Flemish Parliament is only a block and a half away.

They're are quite a few adult bookshops, but no one hassles anyone. It's actually quite a good location otherwise. You're only ten minutes walk to the Grand' Place and even closer to Ste. Katherines.

The only indoor shopping mall in Brussels (City II) is a block away on Rue Neuve.

FYI: The restaurant below Le Dome (called Le Kom-Kom) is pretty decent and has good Sole Meuniere. For a good art nouveau atmosphere walk down to the Bourse and turn left and go to the Bar Le Cirio.

Have a good trip.
 
Dec 31st, 2002, 02:09 AM
  #9  
BTilke
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Actually, City II is not the only indoor shopping mall in Brussels. There is an American-style mall at the Roodebeek metro in the Woluwes.
The Place Rogier is one of the less attractive parts of Brussels--not much character there. It's very crowded on week-ends, sometimes to the point where it's a huge pain trying to get down the rue Neuve. It's a commercial rather than residential neighborhood. I'd suggest staying in a little more pleasant neighborhood, esp. in March, when things are drab. The 75 euro rate for the Manos Stephanie is a good one if that's available. I prefer being farther up the Ave. Louise at the Hyatt but it's about a 10-15 minute walk (or 4 minute tram ride) down to the Place Louise area. However, the Chatelain/Chaussee de Waterloo neighborhood around is one of the better residential areas and worth exploring for its shops, cafes, and restaurants (you'll find few if any tourists at those).
Brussels has a good mass transit system and it's easy to get from one part of town to another, especially in the more central areass.
 
Dec 31st, 2002, 03:49 AM
  #10  
bru
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FYI to BTilke:

I meant that City II is the only shopping center in Brussels commune (aka BXL) not the Capital Region and I certainly hope no one thinks Woluwe Shopping is "American-style". Yikes!

Also, I doubt anyone could walk from the Hyatt Barsey to Place Louise in 10 minutes.

Finally, Brussels has a mediocre at best public transportation system. I doubt a first time visitor to Brussels could figure out how to get from the Barsey to the Grand' Place by public transportation.
 
Jan 1st, 2003, 07:25 AM
  #11  
BTilke
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Having lived 3+ years in the Ave. Louise neighborhood, I often make the trip from the Barsey area (we walk our dog in a nearby park) to the Place Stephanie/Place Louise blocks in less than 15 minutes. I would also categorize the mass transit as above mediocre. I never use our car in Brussels and have no trouble getting anywhere in the city by mass transit, certainly tourist destinations. The only problem with the Grand'Place is that it's closed to traffic (with exceptions), so of coure, no tram or bus is going to drop tourists off right in the middle.
Our first apartment, FYI, was by the Hyatt and it wasn't hard to figure out how to get to the Grand Place, at any rate, I think the hotel staff just might actually be willing to help a guest find their way. Another Fodorite recently stayed at the Hyatt and gave it high marks both for location, quality of hotel and service.
The mall at Roodbeek is enclosed, has plenty of shops to walk around, and is a reasonable facsimile of an American style mall, as much as City II.
Finally, when most people think of Brussels, they're not thinking of one single commune, but the whole group. Most people would say the Horta House is in Brussels, not Ixelles. Or that the Gare du Midi is in Brussels, not St. Gilles. In that context--the more common one--City II isn't the only enclosed shopping center in Brussels.
 
Jan 2nd, 2003, 12:35 AM
  #12  
polyester
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Thanks so much for the feedback. We're thinking we'll book a place closer to the Grand'Place -- for character and location.

Do you think getting around Brussels by Metro is more difficult than the Paris, Montreal or Washington, D.C., Metros or the El in Chicago? They all seem pretty similar. However, I've heard that Metro travel in Brussels slacks off in the evening. Is travel after 10 p.m. or so safe? Thanks all!
 
Jan 2nd, 2003, 01:15 AM
  #13  
BTilke
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Metro travel does drop down in the later evening in Brussels, as it does in many other cities. And there are some stops that I don't think are safe--for example, the Hotel des Monnaie stop (one stop before the Ave. Louise on the line 2). It's a very deep station, 3 sets of escalators, and it's not staffed in the evening. Also, it doesn't connect with any other lines (bus, tram), so it can be isolated. I would stay away from that one after dark.
I think the metro is better than the Chicago el and the DC Metro. In peak hours, trains run every few minutes and the stations have boards up to let you know when the next train will arrive. Also, when you punch your ticket, you're entitled to a full hour of travel, free transfers, not a single ride (unless you get an all day pass, which is unlimited travel for that day).
When you're staying near the Grand'Place it's tempting--and easy--to stick to that area. But there is much more to see in Brussels. The Van Buren museum, for example, is very interesting (but has limited hours). The Sablons is one of the prettiest parts of Brussels and be sure to not miss that one. The Chatelain/Chaussee de Waterloo area is full of interesting shops and good, moderately priced, and untouristy restaurants and cafes.
One nice thing about Brussels cafes--many have fireplaces, so if the weather is uncooperate in March, sit down with a drink by the fire and warm up. (Many cafes in Brugge also have fireplaces).
 
Jun 22nd, 2003, 12:30 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Hey Polyester,
Where did you guys end up staying? If you posted a trip report could you direct me to it?
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