“ Address: Vuurkruisenlaan 4 / 3000 Leuven / Belgium „
We used to live in Leuven, and we stayed in the Novotel on our last night in Leuven prior to flying out of Brussels airport the following morning. We chose the Novotel based on it's proximity to the train station in Leuven - it's just a 5 minute walk away, and also the fact that it has secure underground car parking - we had a hire van that we had to return the following morning and so we wanted to be able to leave it somewhere secure overnight.
The Novotel isn't right in the heart of the city, it's out past the main train station. It's about a 5 minute walk to the main train station, and from there it's about a 15 minute walk into the centre of Leuven. The hotel is actually right next door to the Stella Artois brewery, you can even smell the yeast (is it the yeast that you can smell when they brew beer, or the hops?? either way you can smell them brewing the beer!). Trains run very frequently from Leuven train station through to Brussels and to Brussels airport.
I have to say that I was really pleasantly surprised with the Novotel, we got a really cheap online room rate, and so I thought that it wouldn't be up to much, but I was totally wrong. The hotel was much nicer than I expected it to be, and we had a huge room with tonnes of space and a really large bathroom. The room was of a really good standard. The room itself was really spacious, it had a kingsize bed (which was really comfy), a sofa bed, a large desk and work area, tv, phone etc. The bathroom was really spacious too, with a bathtub, shower over bath, hairdryer, and nice toiletries! The room was perfectly clean, and had spare pillows and towels. There was wi-fi throughout the hotel, but there was a charge for this, we did pay for a 24 hour pass as we needed to check in online and check various other details. The reception desk was open 24 hours a day, and the staff spoke perfect English. The hotel is a non-smoking hotel, which did surprise me as the Belgians still allow smoking in restaurants and bars.
As I mentioned there is car parking at the hotel, it's secure underground parking underneath the hotel. We had a bit of issue with the parking though; you drive down a curved ramp to get into the underground car park and I can absolutely guarantee that there were no signs anywhere telling us that there was a height restriction in place to get into the car park. We drove down and round the ramp, and then realised that our hire van was too tall to be able to enter the car park. My husband had to reverse the van back up the winding ramp. We checked with reception who said that we could park outside the hotel if we could find a spot, obviously all the spots were taken and so we had to go and park in a pay and display car park overnight.
The room rate is for the room only, breakfast is extra, we didn't have breakfast as I wanted to get breakfast at Starbucks in Brussels airport. There is a restaurant which again we didn't use as we'd already eaten by the time we arrived. We did however sit and have a couple of Belgian beers in the bar, our last Belgian beers whilst living in Belgium! The bar area is across from the reception area and had lots of comfy seats and was quite a pleasant area to sit for an hour or so with a couple of drinks, the beers were overpriced but most hotel bars are anyway.
I would definitely recommend the Novotel in Leuven, I was really pleasantly surprised with the quality of both the hotel and the room, it's not the best location but it's not actually too far away that you feel out of the city plus it's handy for the train station if you are arriving and departing that way. We did have problems with the parking, but only due to our van being too tall, most people stopping here probably don't have a van with them!