Where to stay in Belgium

Old Mar 11th, 2023, 03:52 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass
Lavandula,
You are kind. I worried it was long, but hoped it was useful..
Of course there are problems in European cities too and we have many lovely areas in American cities, but IMHO, so much of some of our cities are such a mess, the concept of cities that are human is foreign. I did not realize the difference until we spent time in Rome, Paris, Vienna, etc. We also don’t have transportation that allows us to be car free. We may hate driving conditions, but we can’t escape them. Even in cities that have human scale centers that are livable: parts of NOLA, a bit of Charleston, SF, etc., you still need a car.

JSamps,
It seems to me that you want your lodging to not be just a place to sleep, but to contribute positively to your travel experience. Am I reading you correctly? Some do not care, but I have come to find it does make a big difference to me.
Look at this.
https://www.theverhaegen.com
I love the dog wandering by, so typical of Belgium and the Netherlands.

correct we like scenic peaceful places to stay, take walks, have pleasant view outside the hotel room window….. and then to do trips from there.

We’re in our 50s traveling with our daughter in her 20s. So hotels that have family type rooms are good, like the lovely one you sent.

I’ll need to read all of your messages more carefully. Thank you very much.


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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 03:59 PM
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https://bed-and-breakfast.me/bruges/
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by lavandula
Is this in addition to your city trips (i.e. 5 destinations)? Or are you looking for recommendations of hotels near those cities, to replace staying in one of them? Or are you trying to find a base to see all of those cities?

Lavandula
A base to see Leuven, Bruges and Antwerp.
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulips
That place looks lovely Sassafrass!
I live in Belgium so do not stay in hotels and cannot recommend any, apart from the location. There are leafy suburbs all over the country, on the outskirts of cities. But these are places with large houses where people live. If you want to go somewhere, you drive or cycle if it's nearby.
I drive to Antwerp all the time. There are plenty of garages around. There's a new big one next to the Opera that is easy to get to. But there are a lot of roadworks, and sometimes the roads are so congested I cancel plans to go into town. Driving Gent to Antwerpen is 58 km, about 45 minutes drive. But there is sometimes a queue of an hour or more for the last 10 km since they are working on the ring road. These works will take another 10 years to complete. Driving Antwerpen to Leuven should take you 50 minutes, but could be 2 hours. By train it's 40 minutes.
If you plan to visit Antwerp, Leuven, Brugge and Gent I would do it by train. If you plan to visit places outside the cities, car is easier. Consider that the station in Gent is not in the center of town. In Brugge it's a short walk outside of town. In Antwerp it's in the center, but you do not want to stay right near the station. I don't know what you want to spend, but hotel August is 10 minutes wallking from Berchem Station (which is on the main line, nearly all trains stop there). This is a lovely hotel in a quiet area. Berchem is a historic area with beautiful Art Deco houses and plenty of restaurants. Google Cogels-Osylei.

Thanks for this information. The idea of staying in the quiet historic area in Antwerp is a possibility. We will need a nice hotel that has a variety of room sizes for small families, because we are 3 adults, and I think that hotel has room just for 2 in each room. If any other nice place comes to mind, I'd love to know. Thanks again!
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass
This is a great list! I'm now considering scaling down the itinerary significantly, and focusing on Leuven and Bruges.

I'm confused about whether there is parking in Bruges or not, because I see some of the hotels and b&bs seem to offer parking.

If anyone knows of a nice hotel or b&b in Bruges that is likely to have suites for families, I'd love a recommendation, but I'll look around.

Thanks again.
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 06:38 PM
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Based on everything I'm learning about Belgium travel, we're considering scaling down our itinerary to focus just on Leuven and Bruges (and if we have time for anywhere else we will go).

If you happen to know of a nice hotel or b&b in Bruges with suites for families, I'd love to know.

Thanks!!
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 06:40 PM
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Based on all of this information, we are thinking of focusing on Leuven and Bruges, with the option to go to Ghent if we have time.

We are now looking for hotels or b&b with suites for families (we are 3 adults) in those areas, if you happen to have suggestions.

Thanks again!
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 08:48 PM
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Sorry if I'm posting this too many times, just getting clearer about what might be best for where to base ourselves for this trip. In a nutshell we are leaning towards staying in or near Leuven, or possibly in between Leuven and Brussels so that we will be closer to the airport on the day we depart.

We may also stay in Bruges one night, but with all of our luggage with us, I think it might be better to just stay in one place in or near Leuven and Brussels. So Bruges would be a day trip.

Any suggestions about hotels or b&bs in the Leuven/Brussels area are appreciated. Meanwhile I'll look on the internet.....

Thanks
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 09:25 PM
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Post away. You can never have too much information, even if it seems confusing or is not useful at the moment.
It would be helpful to know your arrival city, departure city and what time you will be arriving and departing. Are you arriving by train or plane? From where? Looks as if you are flying out, how early is your flight? If it is actually by train, do you have a set time?
Are your arrival days and departure days included in your four days or do you have four full days outside of arrival and departure? Very important, you may have said and I may have missed it.
How much time do you actually want in Leuven? It does not look at all convenient to your other places.
It is a long day trip to Bruges. IMHO, it would be a most unpleasant experience because Bruges as a day trip is when it is really crowded, not fun at all.
However, Leuven is very convenient to the airport if you wanted to spend your last afternoon and evening there before flying out.

Understand your desire for one hotel, but how much luggage are you going to have? One small to medium bag and one tote or small carry on you can set on top of the first one? Not that much.

Consider three nights in Ghent (or Bruges), one in Leuven.



Last edited by Sassafrass; Mar 11th, 2023 at 09:57 PM.
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 09:57 PM
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the issue is that the reason we are going to Belgium is to visit a friend for a few hours in Leuven - that is mainly why we are going to Leuven.
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 10:00 PM
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basically we have about 4 days including some travel. I can't post exact details in this public forum, but the general plan is to visit a friend in Leuven, and then possibly see Bruges and if there is time - Antwerp and/or Ghent.
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 10:43 PM
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OK, I think it is safe. We all post travel itineraries, but certainly not unreasonable to be cautious. Without being more precise, my stab at a plan would be to put Leuven at the end.
Day 1, Arrive, go to Ghent hotel or BnB, afternoon and evening in Ghent.
Day 2, Day trip to Bruges
Day 3, Day trip to Antwerp, or full day in Ghent, or travel to Leuven (or after a day in Antwerp or Ghent, travel on to Leuven
Day 4, Leuven already there from the night before or travel there that morning.

If you have to go to Leuven first, then it depends on arrival time there and how much time you still have after the visit and when you have to return. The question was to determine if you needed to be near the airport for a return flight or if you could leave from Bruges or Ghent the day of departure. Only you know your needs that day. At any rate, a day trip from Leuven to Bruges is not good. Spend at least one night in Bruges or visit from Ghent. .

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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 11:05 PM
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Thanks for this itinerary idea! Sorry to further complicate things but we have to visit our friend in Leuven on the 2nd day of our stay - there's no way around it unfortunately.

Should I assume that we should not rent a car - if we do, everything will take longer? We will have luggage....

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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 11:32 PM
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In the Spring, will Bruges likely be very crowded on a week day?
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Old Mar 12th, 2023, 07:41 AM
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The visit on day 2 certainly doesn’t make it easier. After giving it some thought though, I lean towards going straight to Ghent and base in (or near) Ghent. Enjoy Ghent the first day. Visit Leuven on day two. Take a day trip to Bruges on day 3. If day 4 is a whole day, you could go to Antwerp. Depart from Ghent. There are, of course, other options and combinations such as Leuven the first night.

Honestly, I do not know about weekday crowds in Bruges in Spring. Lavandula, Tulips and others will know better than me. One website says that is the least crowded time. Another says it is the best time for day trippers. So, that is good luck for you.
Parking in Bruges. Yes, people can park, but most park in one of two lots and walk (10-15 minutes). It would be like parking at one side of Central Park and spending a day in the park.

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Old Mar 12th, 2023, 01:51 PM
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I think it depends where your hotel is in Bruges as to whether or not there will be parking. The closer to the centre the less likely there is to be parking options, you would have to locate the accommodation on a map. There are definitely possibilities of driving to certain points and dropping off luggage but then going back to the parking station to drop off the car, I don't think that's forbidden everywhere, but some places it's definitely not possible. You can still keep your car if you factor in that you won't be driving and parking in the middle of cities. The parking near the Bruges train station is fairly inexpensive if that becomes relevant. I am not an expert on Bruges, most of my trips have been by train from Brussels (which you can do, it's not terrible, really only about an hour), and I have only spent one night there ever and that was in the Green Park Hotel outside of Bruges, because we had a car and wanted to get out on the road early to drive to France. We drove in to the parking at the station on that day. I don't necessarily recommend that hotel to other people. It has a calm setting but there were hordes of Belgian tourists all using the pool (like us), not tranquil at all, and it's really just a hotel. Good breakfast though. But if you're looking for pretty accommodation or something like the hotel Sassafrass posted, that's not it.

You could base in Brussels which is just that tiny bit closer to Bruges and just have the one hotel for those 4 days. Then you could be close to Leuven, the airport and also get to Bruges just that bit better than from Leuven. If you are concerned about the location being too busy then a hotel somewhere like leafy Tervuren (close to Leuven but in the outskirts of Brussels) might be a solution, although if you drove to Bruges then you would have to get through Brussels (gaaah), unless you get onto the R0 and drive around Brussels (which could still be busy). That might hit most of the spots that you have proposed, but have a look at a map (Via Michelin has good maps of the roads). There is a lovely scenic tram ride from Tervuren to a metro stop called Montgomery (Tram 44), it's a very well-known ride. You can then easily catch a metro into the centre of town or just to Mérode for Cinquantenaire Park (museums, trees). But it's not easy access to the trains if you wanted a train to Bruges, you would have to do tram and then metro to Gare Central and transfer to the trains. Anyway, it's another option. There are definitely B&Bs there although I can't recommend anything myself.

Or, two days in Leuven, two days in Bruges and train to the airport on the last day, traffic is too risky for that journey. When does your flight leave?

I hope this is helpful, and not too confusing!

Lavandula
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Old Mar 12th, 2023, 03:12 PM
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I stayed 3 nights at the NH Hotel in Bruges. Could have used an extra night. Didn’t do any day trips. The hotel is maybe a 10 minute walk to the very center of town. Parking garage right across the street.
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Old Mar 12th, 2023, 06:05 PM
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re Leuven many of the hotels are in the city not exactly countryside. I lived at the irish college a Franciscan friary which is now a hotel. One other place which is out of leuven but more in the countryside is Hotel The lodge Heverlee -Heverlee is 2 kms from Leuven centre.
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Old Mar 12th, 2023, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by northie
re Leuven many of the hotels are in the city not exactly countryside. I lived at the irish college a Franciscan friary which is now a hotel. One other place which is out of leuven but more in the countryside is Hotel The lodge Heverlee -Heverlee is 2 kms from Leuven centre.
Thanks for this information!
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Old Mar 13th, 2023, 04:52 PM
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I appreciate everyones input very much!!! I'm almost embarrassed to say that due to differing interests and opinions with in my little travel group, we have decided to have our base in Antwerp! We'd like to be not far from the train station if possible, and looking for a very nice hotel. I personally would like to find a place with a touch of character or charm, very fresh and clean, maybe on a relatively quiet street and we need a hotel that offers Suites. Any hotel suggestions are greatly appreciated!!!




Originally Posted by JSamps
Hi
We will be in Belgium for about 4 days, and would like to stay in a nice hotel, preferably in a scenic countryside type location, or at least in a quiet charming place.

Our itinerary involves spending time in Antwerp, a brief visit to Leuven and a trip to Ghent and Bruges. We prefer to stay in one place the whole time, but would consider two.

Can anyone recommend a specific hotel, or area that might be nice to plant ourselves while in Belgium?

Thank you.
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