The Iconic Brussels View
Hotel Arlequin, a Floris Hotel
17-19 Rue de Fourche
0032 (0)2 514 16 15
We got into Brussels on a Friday morning at 6:30 a.m. and a bit blurry eyed. We get through border patrol, get our visitor visa stamps in our passports, pick up our luggage and went looking for the express train to Central Station, Brussels. All of the written directions I had printed out were in French. 2 decades ago in my Boston high school French class, my German origin teacher said that Brussels is a fantastic city that is based in the French language and it is very easy to get around Brussels knowing French. I was under the impression that Brussels was a French speaking city. To my surprise, all of the train and street signs were in Flemish. None of my directions (in French) matched up with any train directions (in Flemish), so we were definitely directionally challenged at this point. We had two choices at the airport train station, platform 1 or platform 2, but which one? Did we choose wisely? Yes, we got on the express train to Central Station, Brussels on platform 2.
We got off at Central Station, still a blurry eyed and exhausted after flying overnight and the time change. I pull out the French written instructions to the hotel we were staying at. We look up and there were the big Flemish street signs. None of the Flemish street names resemble any of the French street names (ex. Fourche and Greepstraat, or Herbe and Grasmarktstraat). Before we left, Matt did take time to look at the Google Earth satellite map of the few blocks were we needed to go. He lead us, totally by feel through the cobblestone streets with rolling luggage to a tiny street that looks like an alley way, and TA DA, our hotel and it was about 8 a.m.
We opted for this hotel after looking at various travel guides like Let's Go, Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor.com. Let's Go recommended this great hotel so highly, and all the Tripadvisor posts raved about this place, so booked we did. It was only about 63 euros per night. There were no cons to this hotel for us. The pros about the hotel are the spacious and comfortable lobby, full bar in the lobby, the well versed in mulitple languages hotel employees, short strolls to Grand Place and Central Station, WiFi, and an internet ready computer for guests (5 euros per use). The rooms were amazing as well. I felt like the room was quite roomy for this ancient city, the linens were crisp and clean, the marble bathrooms have luxurious showers, and the view from our 6th floor room was breath-taking. The breakfast is the best breakfast I have ever seen anywhere. There were wonderfully made scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, croissants, baguettes, fresh fruits, meats, cheeses, yogurt, cereal, milk, juice, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, tomato cucumber salad, and all the real butter and jams you want. I know I am leaving something out. This was the best value for our buck for sure for location, comfort, luxury and breakfast.