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Perfectly Positioned and Plenty of Personality!
With just 24 hours to spend in Brussels, we wanted a hotel that was located in the heart of the city so we could easily pop in and out as weather and rest necessitated. We also needed a quiet hotel that wasn't directly on the main part of Grand Place so we could have a peaceful, uninterrupted night of sleep before our early morning wake up call. And most of all we needed a hotel that met our criteria for cleanliness, comfort, charm and - of course! - good value so we could recommend it to other travellers. With the Hotel Atlas, we found everything we needed and more.
The staff of the hotel were friendly, efficient, and spoke excellent English. We spoke with them regarding our early morning departure and arranged for a wake up call. Since we would be leaving before the complimentary breakfast buffet we asked if it would be possible to take something to go. We were told that the croissants arrived fresh each morning at 4:30 am (Note: fresh baked croissants! Swoon!) and that it would most likely be possible for the night staff member to get some for us before we left.
The outside of the hotel is nothing special - just a plain frontage on a quiet street. It was just a short walk from Grand Place and it took about 12 minutes to walk to the train station. For those heading further afield there are two metro stations just a few minutes away. There are plenty of restaurants within a 2 minute walk, making it very easy to pop out for a quick bite. Our room looked out on an interior courtyard, so we were able to get a bit of a view with some greenery.
Our standard room was clean, comfortable, stylish, and well designed. The queen sized bed was outfitted with white linens and had a great mattress. The room was a little bigger than average size by European standards, but North American visitors might still find it a touch on the small side. Fortunately, it was well organized and well laid out, with room for a small desk and armchair and a spacious wardrobe area. Our window opened, we had adjustable heat in the bedroom and bathroom, and our room came equipped with a kettle and instant coffee and tea. As a travel writer, Wi-Fi is hugely important to me, and I'm happy to report Hotel Atlas had free, fast connections.
By far my favourite thing about the room was that it honored local architect Danny Venlet. There was a plaque on our wall sharing Mr Venlet's accomplishments and another mirrored panel honoring his work. As we walked down the hotel hallway, we could see other rooms named for local designers and architects, which was a fun and funky touch and, in my view, this community connection elevated the hotel to something really special, with tons of personality.
The hotel room had one other feature I really loved - a bath tub!!! I'm a huge fan of baths but I rarely encounter bathtubs in my travels. Goodness knows they're seldom seen in hostels, campgrounds, college dorms, or budget European hotels! In fact, it's even hard to find a bath tub in a lot of 4 and 5 star hotels. So it was a genuine treat to have a clean bathtub and plenty of hot water in Brussels.
Unfortunately, we left far too early for breakfast and we were running about 5 minutes behind schedule, so we were unable to stop and request a few portable croissants. However, we were able to take advantage of the hotel's hospitality in another way. Every evening the hotel offers a complimentary happy hour, with beer, wine, juice, and soda available in the basement lounge/breakfast bar area. This was such a nice way to unwind and meet a few fellow travellers!
Hotel Atlas proclaims that, while there are many 3 star hotels in Brussels, they aim to be the very best. After my experience, I feel they might be missing a star. Between the funky, fresh room decor, the rare appearance of a bathtub, a complimentary breakfast AND a complimentary happy hour, this hotel absolutely goes above and beyond. And the best thing of all is the price. During weekends a double room is only 99 Euros and prices can even be a bit lower in the down season. If you are planning a trip to Belgium, try to be in Brussels on the weekend, when all the bureaucrats have gone home, and Bruges during the week (as the lovebirds flock there by weekend). Like most Brussels accommodations, Hotel Atlas costs 30-50% more on weekdays.
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. Have you been to Brussels before? What did you like and dislike?
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Accommodations at Hotel Atlas were provided compliments of Belgium Tourism. This did not affect my review & all opinions remain my own.