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Don't be put off by the European Parliament, Brussels isn't bland and full of bureaucrats. There's enough art and design, and hip happenings and history to make this multicultural city a super city break destination. And plenty of the best places to stay in Brussels reflect this wealth of culture - there is a wide range of accommodation, from trendy guesthouses to luxury "grand dame" hotels.
Brussels has always been a fascinating mixing pot. The African quarter, just a few blocks from the wealth of Avenue Louise, has long infused the cuisine and culture of Belgium's capital. And within this city of grand Art Nouveau architecture some of the world's best known surrealist art was created.
Brussels has good food, a very lively cafe culture, great shopping, a warm pub scene and plenty to see and do. And it's beautiful. There are plenty of accommodation options (the best places to stay in Brussels vary from hotels to Presidential Suites), and eating and entertainments to match all budgets.
Brussels City Break
Find a traditional restaurant off the Grand Place and sample Belgium's famed double fried frites with mussels, washed down with beer and followed by waffles. And experience the blending of Flemish and French cuisine which typifies the atmosphere of cultural fusion in the city which, since it began hosting the European Parliament, has only grown more multiculturally diverse.
Brussels is all variety: in the cuisine, the background of the citizens, and most dramatically, the architecture – which spans from the medieval Grand Place to a funky space age structure called the Atomium built in the 1950s.
A city stroll will reveal modernist or surrealist art, painted onto walls and metro stations, free for the viewing, along with the Flemish architecture of the houses and Art Nouveau buildings of the city centre. Slip inside the Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts or the Museum of Modern Art to see an even wider range of Belgian art and spend an evening at the La Monnaie Theatre and opera house to get a taste of Belgian theatre.
- For unfussy elegance and lots of natural light, townhouse hotel Made in Louise is one of the best places to stay in Brussels. Close to the Abbey of la Cambre, the National Geographic Institute and the Avenue Louise, this is a home from home for people with stylish minimalist tastes, and also a taste for the best Belgian beers. Served in the conservatory/bar.
- For more traditional decor, try Le Dixseptieme. This hotel has four poster beds, fireplaces and wooden floors - but it's refined not opulent. More importantly for city breakers, it's only about two minutes walk from the Grand Place, so definitely one to book if you want to be in the centre of things.
- The Dominican is also just off the Grand Place, and is a good choice if you prefer elegance, in addition to all the comforts a larger hotel can offer. There's a very good restaurant, and a bistro in the courtyard, as well as a gym and spa.
Strolling the streets is almost enough, the architecture is so beautiful. But if you wind your way to the delightfully Gothic Eglise Notre-Dame du Sablon, it's worth a look in.
Plan to have one of your meals in Le Cirio - yes, it's touristy now, but the beauty of this wonderful 19th Century grand cafe is worth the crowds.
- If you're looking for somewhere you can feel like it's just the two of you, then have a look at the three bedroom B&B, X2Brussels. Close to the main sights, and also the fashionable Dansaert area, this B&B has large airy rooms done in white. It's simple. And reasonable. And most important, intimate.
- For five star romance, the Hotel Amigo is one of the best places to stay in Brussels. It's right in the heart of the city, and surrounded by some excellent restaurants. Though the hotel's own Italian restaurant has won a number of awards. Come here for a spot of refinement and elegance, plus the service that you always get in one of Rocco Forte's establishments.
- If you're looking to impress, Odette en Ville is a good choice. A sophisticated townhouse hotel, it's all cool black and white photography, black lacquered furniture, and fabrics in plush shades of grey. If you want uber style in the Chatelain quarter, near shopping and nightlife, this is one of the best places to stay in Brussels.
Brussels on a Budget
Brussels can be a relatively cheap city, as many of the great works of art are mounted on the walls of civic or religious buildings. There are also plenty of street markets to explore, and numerous wonderful buildings to admire, including the National Basilica, the world's fifth largest church and largest art deco building.
- Starting from just £54 per night, the Pantone Hotel is perfect if you're watching your wallet. As the name hints, this hotel is contemporary, with bright, bold splashes of colour amongst its basic white, clean lines. You're right next to the Avenue Louise, and some rooms even have great views of the city.
- The Sofitel Le Louise is probably one of the best places to stay in Brussels if you're looking for a good deal: this is a five star hotel, but prices start from less than £100 a night. It's prefect for business travellers, but the fun, arty touches to the decor mean it really doesn't feel like a business hotel.
- If you're looking for something chic, and maybe a bit clubby, try Be Manos. Its bold lighting effects and monochrome, high concept design style decor, don't get in the way of comfort and service. And the bar and restaurant are very good.
Brussels with your Family
Kids will love Manneken Pis, the fountain statue of the little boy relieving himself cheerfully. And it's just back from Rue Charles Buls, the tourist street of chocolate shops. They may also be interested in taking a chocolate tour or chocolate making workshop.
For a real sense of Brussels's multicultural heritage, visit the Musees Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, which has an excellent ancient Egyptian section. And the family of stuffed iguanodons at the Musee des Sciences Naturelles, will be another highlight for kids.
If you fancy a night out, visit La Peruchet, a puppet theatre aimed at kids.
- The Vintage Hotel, with its family size rooms which sleep up to six, is a good choice for families. Located only 10mins from the Grand Place, and just up from the Avenue Louise, this is one of the best places to stay in Brussels if you don't want the bother of transporting your brood around. Kids will hopefully find the colourful, 60s decor fun, and will probably want you to stay in the vintage Airstream caravan on the terrace!
- The Stanhope is a more traditional hotel, converted with elegance from a convent. The hotel's seven family apartments, which also sleep up to six, make it another of the best places to stay in Brussels for families. It's also only a 10 minute walk from the European Parliament.
Best Hotels in Brussels
Pantone Hotel 61 rooms from $67Brussels
Simple contemporary hotel with bright splashes of colour and lots of natural light. Bright rooms and suites without clutter, some with private balconies. Excellent breakfasts and bikes to rent. An understated spot.Value chicCity StyleViews - Many of the bedrooms have great city viewsSights nearby - Located close to the Avenue LouiseRecommended by - Tablet
Aloft Brussels 157 rooms from $78Brussels
Centrally located, super contemporary chic, this hotel offers great working space, is light and airy with great facilities, including fitness area. The bar provides light snacks while you listen to music with a DJ in the evenings, live music on certain dates. The European Parliament is 500m away.City Style - Just over a 5-minute walk from Jubelpark and the Cinquantenaire Museum.Sights nearby - Leopold Park and European Union Parliament Building.Lively - Hip and happening.Quirky - An experience!Recommended by - CN Traveller
Brussels Welcome Hotel 16 rooms from $89Brussels
Quirky, fun and colourful hotel in 19th century city mansion with 17 individually themed ensuite rooms filled with original artworks and antiques. Located in historic St Anne quarter close to city sights, restaurants and cafes. Great for a city weekend escape.Local markets - Close to historic fish marketSights nearby - Well located for major sights.Private Hot Tub
Manos Premier 50 rooms from $114Brussels
A beautiful hotel in the city centre. Contemporary chic rooms and suites have lots of natural light and sophisticated furnishings. Fantastic French restaurant and terrace, luscious garden, and a fully equipped spa. Perfect for the stylish city visitor.LuxuryCity StyleSights nearby - Notre Dame du Sablon.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.
Fish Market B&B 2 rooms from $114Brussels
A charming neo-classical B&B with large rooms, one apartment, and a lovely breakfast terrace. Wooden floors, pastel painted walls, chandeliers, and high ceilings. A great choice for couples, families, or groups.Sights nearby - Quiet location but easy access to all major attractionsViews - Great views from hotelLocal markets - Good for local colour.
Sofitel Le Louise 169 rooms from $117Brussels
A Five Star hotel with contemporary interiors. Bedrooms and suites have modern furniture, all the mod cons and splashes of modern art. Trendy bar and restaurant, and excellent business services. A great choice for the luxury business traveller.5* Luxury - Very high service standards.City StylePrivate Hot Tub - Book the best suite and get your own jacuzzi and private hammamDesigner - Theatrical interiors by renowned architect Antoine PintoRecommended by - Tablet
Be Manos 60 rooms from $124Brussels
Trendy, contemporary retro hotel in the city centre. Monochrome and bold lighting effects throughout the interiors, bar and excellent restaurant. Contemporary rooms and suites in black and white with all the mod cons. Lovely outdoor terrace too. A chic spot.City Style - A seriously chic option with monochrome interiors and statement lightingSights nearby - Just a fifteen minute walk from some of Brussels' highlightsSpa - Free entry to the wellness centre if you book a suiteLively - Hip and happening.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, CN Traveller
Urban Rooms 3 rooms from $125Brussels
Urban Rooms offers guests contemporary suites with garden views and free WiFi. Bedrooms are bright and airy and decorated in neutral palettes in a minimalist style. The perfect location if you're looking to get out and explore the city, or visiting for work. Simple, intimate and spacious.Local exploring - Located in the heart of Brussels this prpoerty is located ideally for exploring town.Sights nearby - Grand-Place
Vintage Hotel 29 rooms from $130Brussels
A funky and light-hearted modern retro hotel. Rooms, suites and family rooms have faux 60s style murals and big comfy beds. Smart parquet floored living areas and a lovely terrace. A refreshingly different choice. There is even a vintage Airstream caravan on the terrace if you fancy glamping!Families - Family rooms sleep 6.City StyleSights nearby - A stone's throw from Avenue Louise and 10 mins from the Grand PlaceLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Tablet
Made in Louise 48 rooms from $135Brussels
A great alternative to the large contemporary hotel. A smaller townhouse hotel in minimalist, but conservative, style. Bedrooms in pale tones of greys and blues with lots of natural light. Charming breakfast room and bar with the best Belgian beers. Understated and chic.City StyleSights nearby - Abbey of la Cambre and the National Geographic Insititute.Local markets - “Aperos du Chatelain”.
X2Brussels 3 rooms from $136Brussels
Gorgeous boutique B&B with big bright airy rooms. White washed walls, modern furnishings, subtle lighting. A more personal choice for a romantic break. Family friendly too.City StyleSights nearby - Grand-Place, the Manneken Pis.Romantic - Good for couples.Local markets - Good for local colour.
Maison Noble 3 rooms from $145Brussels
A wonderful traditional townhouse B&B with grand living areas and beautiful rooms. Bedrooms have light parquet floors, lots of natural light, and enormous comfy beds. Lovely sitting rooms with grand piano. A sophisticated B&B.Sights nearby - Grand-Place.Local markets - Good for local colour.
The Augustin 47 rooms from $150Brussels
Recently renovated townhouse hotel just ten minutes from the Grand Place and within easy walking distance of the city highlights. Spacious rooms which are contemporary in style and feature seriously comfy beds make the ideal choice for a city break or for those here on business. Great value too.City Style - This recently renovated property offers a stylish base perfectly located to explore the best of Brussels on foot.Value chic - With rooms from as little as €89 per night including breakfast, it's excellent value for moneySights nearby - Just a short walk from Grand Place, the best bits of Brussels are very close by.
The Stanhope 125 rooms from $157Brussels
Understated luxury and traditional elegance in a former convent. Classical furnishings, antiques, and floral fabrics adorn rooms, suites, and apartments. Bedrooms have four poster beds and marble bathrooms. Excellent restaurant and spa. A great choice for any traveller.Families - 7 apartments, some sleep up to 6.City StyleGroupsSights nearby - 10 minutes walk from the European ParliamentRecommended by - Tablet
Le Dixseptieme 24 rooms from $157Brussels
A gorgeous Four Star hotel with traditional elegant interiors. Classical rooms and suites have fireplaces, antiques, paintings, wooden floors and four poster beds. Lovely breakfast courtyard, excellent meeting rooms, and business centre. It caters perfectly to the business visitor.City StyleLuxurySights nearby - 2 minutes walk from the Grand Place. All major sights are at most 15 mins on foot from the hotel.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Kiwi Collection, Fodors
The Hotel from $161Brussels
Modern high rise luxury hotel in the centre of Brussels' designer shopping area. Smart rooms decorated in creams offer stunning views over the entire city. Gourmet restaurant and chic bar which also does a great line in afternoon tea! A sophisticated stay for sightsee-ers or shopaholics.Views - The views are simply superb....book a panorama room and you'll get at least two different angles!Sights nearby - Great central location for exploring BrusselsLively - Hip and happening.Spa
The Dominican 150 rooms from $162Brussels
A luxury hotel in a renovated cloister. Traditional facades encase elegant contemporary furnishings and works of modern art. Rooms, suites, and serviced studios have all the modern gadgetry and lots of natural light. Lovely courtyard restaurant, business centre, and gym.City StyleSights nearby - Situated just off the Grand PlaceLocal markets - Good for local colour.SpaRecommended by - Kiwi Collection
Hotel Des Galeries 23 rooms from $174Brussels
Boutique hotel inside city landmark Galeries Royales Saint-Huber. Rooms have parquet floors, wooden shutters, unique furniture and very chic bathrooms. Suites are in the eaves over two floors. Modern Belgian cuisine in cool restaurant. Superb location, characterful and good value.City Style - Hotel with as much character as the city itself, and friendly staff are enthusiatic to give exploring tips and help hire bikesSights nearby - Cathedral of St Michael & La Grand PlaceDesigner - Fleur Delesalle and Camille FlammarionRecommended by - Tablet
Hotel Amigo 173 rooms from $208Brussels
A Five Star luxury hotel befitting its Rocco Forte heritage. Simple, uncluttered elegance throughout creamy interiors, rooms and suites. Fantastic Italian restaurant, business centre, and spa treatments. Refined, classic, indulgent.City Style5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Sights nearby - Situated in the heart of the city. Most sights are within walking distance.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Tablet
Odette en Ville 8 rooms from $287Brussels
Sophisticated and smart townhouse hotel. Sultry interiors combine black lacquered furniture, black and white photography, and spotless white walls. High tech bedrooms are similarly classic and have stand alone bath tubs. Excellent restaurant and extensive library. A grown up spot.City StyleSights nearby - Located in the Chatelain quarterLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, CN Traveller