“ Address: Rue Grétry 53 / 1000 Brussels / Belgium „
We stayed at the Hotel Opera in Brussels for three days last month and overall we found it to be a pleasant stay in a fabulous location. -Booking and Price- We booked the hotel through a broker site on the internet and paid just under £60 per night for a double room with a private bathroom. This price included breakfast which made it pretty good value as far as we were concerned. The rack price for the room we had was ninety Euros per night, so we made a considerable saving by booking online in advance. There are also cheaper rates if you book directly with the hotel in advance at www.hotel-opera.eu. One thing to bare in mind when booking hotels in general in Brussels is that they are often very busy during the week and the weekend rates are far, far cheaper. -The Location- The location was absolutely the best thing about the Hotel Opera. Whilst Brussels is a very small city and so the main attractions are not far from anywhere, we couldn't have been in a more perfect spot for sight seeing. The hotel is only about a two minute walk from the Grand Place (the main square) and about five minutes from the statue of Mannekin Pis. If you arrive from the airport by train, the central station is only a ten minute walk away (with cases in tow) and the main station for arriving my Eurostar is about a twenty five minute walk in a straight line away from the door of the hotel. With it having such a great location, there are plenty of bars and restaurants near by so you never struggle to find anything to eat or to find somewhere to grab one of the many hundreds of Belgian beers on offer. We came for the Christmas markets and there was a little one literally fifty yards away from the hotel and the main ones near Saint Catherine's cathedral are about a twenty minute gentle meander away. The only problem with having such a central location is the noise from the streets. It wasn't much of a problem for us as we were so exhausted from walking around all day, but I imagine that light sleepers would struggle. I did ask for a room at the back of the hotel because I read comments from other visitors about the noise, but all of the hotel's rooms look out onto the street, so that isn't an option. -The Rooms- The rooms are basic, this is a two star hotel after all, but they are clean and reasonably well equipped. The beds are comfortable but very narrow. As is usually the case, a double room actually consists of two beds pushed together and these two pushed together were probably as wide as a three quarter sized double bed. My mum said that I should tell you though that the pillows were the comfiest she has every slept on - high praise indeed because she is a fuss pot! My husband on the other hand has to sleep next to the bed hog that is me and declared the beds to be uncomfortably narrow - pros and cons then. The rooms are equipped with wardrobes, desks, chairs and a TV with digital although our digibox wasn't tuned in, so no BBC News 24 for us then. The rooms are quite spacious for a city centre location and they have large radiators which made the rooms lovely and warm. There is no air conditioning though which may be a problem in summer, although the rooms all have a least two large windows so that might help. The bathrooms are clean and fresh looking in contrast to the dated decor of the main room. They have showers which are surprisingly powerful and hot, although I don't know whether that was because there weren't many guests in the hotel. There is also a hair dryer in the room although it isn't particularly powerful as you might expect. -Other Facilities- Like I said this is a two star hotel so facilities are in short supply, however breakfast is included in the price of your room. Breakfast is on the first floor in a room that was a suitable size for a weekend but that I imagine would be a nightmare when it is full to capacity. Breakfast is available from 7am until 11am though perhaps to alleviate this problem a bit. It is the usual continental affair with fresh bread and pastries, cereals, ham and cheese, fresh fruit, jams and marmalades and cake. The coffee was decent enough but the juice was squash and was awful. There is a luggage room on the third floor if you need it and there is a lift. The lift is quite an experience because there is no side to it so you see the floors going past as you ascend or descend! It is supposed to fit six people but I'd be amazed if you could squash more than four in - not good if you are claustrophobic - much better to take the slightly slanted stairs and get a bit of exercise thrown in! The staff are friendly and helpful enough although few of them speak English (mainly the breakfast and the night staff don't), but if you use even Pigeon French they are much more accommodating, so it's worth a go. Overall I would have no hesitation in recommending the hotel as it is good value and in a fabulous location, but don't expect the Ritz because that it certainly isn't! If it hadn't been for it's great location, I'd have given this hotel three stars, but as it is it gets four from me!