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Not getting turned on by my trip to Brussels

Not getting turned on by my trip to Brussels

Jan 28th, 2006, 07:24 AM
  #1  
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Not getting turned on by my trip to Brussels

Hello. I am going on a 4 night trip to Belgium next month but the more research I do about Brussels the less Im getting a feel for it. I am not finding any hotels that I love (I prefer the sleek ones) and at this stage I am thinking of going onto Prague and skipping Belgium altogether. Am I making a mistake?

The other option I am thinking about is going out to Spa and spending two nights in the Thermal Springs there and then back two nights to Brussels.

I was looking at Antwerp also, and perhaps even going on to Amsterdam or down to Reims for the champagne houses.

My husband is against driving (as he complains he has to do it all, which is not true) and wants to stay put in Brussels or nearby.
AnnieP is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 07:30 AM
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Many people enjoy at least one overnight in Bruges, and I think Antwerp might be a good choice, too. Both are close enough that you could go to Brussels for some sightseeing.

If you find some posts on Brussels by BTilke (who lived there) you can get a wealth of information about sightseeing beyond 'Mannekin Pis'. There are quite a few interesting museums, great beer options, and dining recommendations.

Have you done a forum search for "hotel" and clicked on Belgium? I'm a budget traveler so 'sleek' doesn't compute with me, but I know others have noted good hotel choices in Brussels that should please you. Perhaps if you state your budget..?
Travelnut is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 07:11 PM
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We chose Brussels as a central point to stay. There is a lot to do and see in Belgium and it is easy to take day trips to Bruge, Amsterdam, Paris and others.
HarryS is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 07:24 PM
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My husband and I have friends in Ghent, and we've visited several times. It is a wonderful small city with enough to see for an entire day. Another interesting Belgian town is Ieper, which was along the front lines in WWI and was virtually destroyed. There is an arch there with the names of all American, Canadian, and British soldiers who fought there (I don't think it was just the ones who died there) - it was cool to find soldiers with our last name.
edgecorp is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 07:55 PM
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I looooooved bruges!!!
daisy58 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 05:38 AM
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Thank you everybody. We did decide to go on to Prague for 2 nights and then come back to Brussels. I booked the Hotel Amigo for there. May take a trip out to Bruges.

Thanks for all your help
AnnieP is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 05:46 AM
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I can understand your point because I have been to Brussels. Prague is one of my favorite European cities, you have made the right desicion. Have fun!
Viajero2 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 05:56 AM
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Actually, we still maintain an apartment in Brussels and live there part time...I was there for several weeks in Nov./December and am leaving again shortly for a several week stay there (with, hooray!!, a two week trip to Vienna and Krakow in between).
Re sleek, Brussels doesn't have any hotels currently that are "design" hotels like the Hotel Sezz in Paris or the Style Hotel in Vienna, but it does have some very good hotels. The rooms in the Sofitel on Toison d'Or are similar to the rooms at Le Meridien in Vienna (only more practical and comfortable, IMHO).
Your Prague break sounds like fun--I plan to do a short break in Krakow at the end of my Vienna trip, my colleagues who have been to both now prefer Krakow as it's less over-run with tourists than Prague. Although Oprah reportedly plans to do a show from Krakow later this year that will probably be a big boost for tourism there.
If you haven't been to Bruges yet, you really should slot it into your time.
And if your trip spills over into early March, consider dropping in on Batibouw, the largest home show in Europe. It's pretty amazing.
http://www.batibouw.com/en/page.aspx

Four nights sounds like an awfully short time period to fit in Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp AND Prague. Hope you don't feel too rushed.
BTilke is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 06:03 AM
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Oh, we cut out Antwerp etc., and now have 2 nights Prague and 2 nights Brussels. I figured that we will see how we are getting along in Brussels and then decide to take a little trip to Bruges for a few hours.

The flight times all worked out great to give us the max amount of time in each destination. BTilke, have you ever had dinner in Vincents? It looks fun in my travel book.
AnnieP is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 07:03 AM
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No, sorry, I haven't. I've walked by it several times, but we tend not to dine in the inner-city restaurants. Does look fun, though, and it gets good reviews on the www.resto.be site.

Our current restaurant favorites are Canterbury's (for chicken dishes, casual elegance, nice fireplace, nice crowd), Notos (for very upscale Greek cuisine although the service isn't quite as good as the food and decor) and Le Chalet de la Foret (elegant and well off the tourist track). If you were going to have a "serious" meal in Brussels, this should be a top contender:
http://www.lechaletdelaforet.be/
BTilke is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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Oops, forgot, here is the web site for Notos: www.notos.be of the dinner main courses, I love their breast of chicken with pistachios. Mmmm...
BTilke is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 08:35 AM
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Thank you BT. Those look fab. I think we might splurge for Le Chalet de la Foret it looks lovely. Would we get a cab there?

Where is Canterbury's? I really like the sound of that one?

Thanks again.
AnnieP is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 08:38 AM
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Found it on that site you gave me. Thanks.
AnnieP is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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Yes, you definitely need a cab for Le Chalet. If you're staying down by the Grand'Place and want to save money on cab fare, simply take the metro to Louise and walk a block up to the Conrad hotel and pick up a cab at the stand there. The restaurant will arrange for a taxi back.
The restaurant is out in the Uccle area, next to the forest (hence the name) and near the upscale David Lloyd fitness center--from the Conrad about a 15 minute cab ride (if traffic is light to normal). If you plan to have dinner, book a table for 8:30 pm. You could also go for lunch--it's pretty good value. Their wine list is excellent. The bill adds up quickly though--if you want a 3 or 4 course dinner a la carte plus at least one bottle of wine (and a bottle of water), it's probably about 240 euros and up for two. Plus cab fare.
BTilke is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 03:16 PM
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eeeek! BTilke, that is a bit steep for our dinner budget so unfortunately we will probably have to give that one a miss.

I found one I love though called Lola. It looks so cute and is open Sunday night so we will make a ressie there. Thanks for all your great help! And have a great time on your vacation en route back to Brussels.
AnnieP is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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Ohh one more thing I wonder if you could help me with. We were just going to spend our last night at that hotel in the airport as we have a 10:30am flight back to NYC. Do you think this is a good idea or is it fairly easy to get to the airport?

Thanks for letting me pick your brains.
AnnieP is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 03:24 PM
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Oh I don't think anyone with any depth can be turned on by Brussels. It is nice, but nothing more. There are no great hotels there. The "five star" ones are really just about four star in most other places...it lacks something. In fact this is probably due to its "capital of Europe" connections.

However, Antwerp is far more interesting and characterful. Well, actually it is unfair to call Brussels characterless, it's just a bit bland and safe.

m_kingdom2 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 03:34 PM
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well, we wont knock it until we have tried it, I am sure it will be very nice.
AnnieP is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 03:58 PM
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Lola is fine. I've eaten there several times. It can be pricey too, but it won't cost you as much as Le Chalet. It's still fashionable after all these years (the food is good, but IMO you get a better, more unique meal at Notos, which, FYI, is very easily reached from central Brussels, no cab needed). Reservations are advised and disregard any "attitude" you get from the waiters. It's not personal--some of them are very nice, others simply think they're too cool for school. If you want a pretty, inexpensive little locals hangout in that same area (the Sablon), try Cap Sablon: http://sites.resto.com/capsablon/

Getting from Brussels to the airport isn't hard--you can either go by airport train for about 6 euro or take a cab, anywhere from 25 to 40 euro. But staying at an airport hotel the last night is fine, too. If you're staying at the airport Sheraton (which isn't a bad hotel), you walk less than one minute to be in the airport. That also gives you access to the airport train for going into town for your last dinner. It's the only hotel on airport property; the others require a shuttle.
If you don't plan to have dinner in Brussels your last night, then staying at the airport makes sense. But if you would like to have dinner in town, then I think you might do better to stay in the city and cab or train it to the airport the next morning (for example, Le Meridien is right across the street from the Gare Centrale; the Sofitel Toison d'Or is right by the Louise metro stop, which is just 3 minutes by metro from the Gare du Midi). Note that the other "airport" hotels are mostly in Diegem in a corporate park area. There's little in the way of restaurants, etc., within walking distance of those hotels.
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