Location, location, location – what it was all about for us when choosing a Brussels hotel. Just one night in the city meant time was a luxury we did not have, somewhere central was our first and top requirement. The Novotel at the Grand Place seemed to tick that box so we went for it. Surprisingly easy to find despite being bang in the middle of a big city, an extra bonus was the underground car park next door and at only 14 Euro for twenty four hours parking, I thought a bit of a bargain. Teeny tiny spaces but Husband managed to shoe horn our estate car into one without too much sweat.
Great first impressions with a contemporary and bright reception area aided by a friendly check-in then up to our room. This was also a hit – big, bright and comfortable with air-conditioning which, after our sweaty night in Dover, was even more greatly appreciated. A super comfy bed, a huge bathroom, everything was just right but the icing on the cake was definitely the location. Just steps away from the Grand Place it was all we wanted – maximum sightseeing and soaking up the atmosphere, minimum walking and no underground riding required.
A thrill for me to find the Galeries St Hubert just at the back of the hotel. Europe’s first shopping centre, Son groaned until he went inside and found “the best chocolate shops ever”. Everyone happy, we spent ages browsing in this ornate and beautiful arcade.
We emerged famished and ready for food in the Rue des Bouchers. A tourist trap for sure but Son fell in love with the area and gave a convincing argument as to why we need go no further for dinner. Enchantingly colourful lanes full of close-packed fish restaurants I’m sure you get better (and cheaper) food elsewhere but this was one of those times a tourist trap did just fine. We loved the cobbled, hilly streets and plethora of outdoor tables. With similar menus everywhere Son took the job of selecting our eaterie – he went for the place with the chattiest waiter. The food was good – mussels and chips washed down with Belgian beer sitting in the evening sunshine – you can’t go wrong with that.
Next morning the hotel breakfast also went down a treat. So much choice – including to Son’s delight waffles. He went on to consume his body weight in those treats making sure to avail of the endless jugs of chocolate sauce. A Playstation in one corner of the room (I’m not normally a fan of that) meant a long, lingering breakfast for the adults while the little people enjoyed themselves.
We spotted a Smurf from our bedroom window and decided to check him out after breakfast. A whole host of other interesting artwork around the city made for an interesting stroll.
A quick browse in a gorgeous little market right outside the hotel where we came away with our very own painting of the Grand Place, modern and colourful and done by a local artist, then we were on our way. Next stop Ghent.