“ Flats and apartments located throughout Brussels which are primarily used for business purposes. „
Why Was The Need For Accommodation In Brussels?
I was offered the opportunity to work in Belgium on secondment in November by my manager for a few months. I'm 21 living at home so I figured why not. It would be a good experience to live in a different country and perhaps enhance my career if I was lucky. Getting my name out there as it isn't something I'm particularly good at doing but hopefully this opportunity would do the work for me. Anyway, back on topic, for the duration of my stay in Brussels, I am staying at the Riverside Residence Brussels Business Flats.
Collection of Keys
On arrival I picked up my keys from a safety deposit box in a building not too far from the flats although as it has been quite some time since I did this, I can't remember the name of this building. I do know that it was quite late in the evening and I was still sleepy from having slept pretty much all the way on the Eurostar and then found myself at the red light district which was an experience in itself. I was glad that I was with a colleague when we collected the keys as I didn't feel entirely comfortable and I did start to wonder what type of accommodation they were going to put us up in. I was hoping it somewhere far away from where we were.
Arrival at Brussels Business Flats - Riverside Residence
Fortunately, when the taxi driver arrived at our destination I was pleased to see no ladies of the night standing on street corners. Just a clean looking, secure building that actually looked pretty modern, even if it was situated next to a dodgy looking block of flats.
On arrival of the Business Flats I was pleased to find a small welcome pack which included a few key essentials like rolls, soap, water, cheese, ham, etc. This was certainly enough to get me through the first day before I managed to find somewhere to do a little bit of shopping.
The address of the Riverside Residence is Avenue de l'Héliport 48, 1000 Brussels. These business flats are centrally situated near WTC (World Trade Center) but unfortunately this is not the area that I am working in. The location of these business flats aren't ideal but maybe that is just when I consider that I had to travel to and from Brussels everyday and I was working in a town that is the other side of the city. It is perfect however for the weekends when you just want to walk into the city centre.
If you aren't planning on driving in Brussels, the locations of the flats is perfect as they are situated extremely close to Gare du Nord and Yser Metro Station so those of you lucky ones that are forced to face death every time you set foot in front of the wheel in Brussels have public transport at your finger tips.
What Is Local To The Apartments?
Near to the Riverside Residence is a small Delhaize at the North Station but I found this to be very expensive therefore I would only recommend shopping here when you are desperate, like on the Sunday I first arrived as there are very few supermarkets open on a Sunday. If you take a 10 minute walk, you will find yourself on a main street with a variety of shops and restaurants including Brussels Grill and Pizza Hut.
Other hotspots in the area include Place de Brouckere and Grand Place within walking distance. If you go to the Grand Place, you must buy chocolate there. It is divine. There is also a City 2 Shopping Centre which is about a 10-15 minute walk which has a big GB on the lower floor, perfect to do your weekly shopping as it has pretty much everything you'll need in there.
When I read about the flats that I would be staying in I read "Opposite this building is a park where you can do some jogging or walking if you wish". I thought great, fantastic, this will help me to keep fit. It takes you less than a minute to jog around so don't get too excited about this.
The Apartment Itself
You have a normal key to unlock the door to your apartment so no need to worry about a stupid card not working. When you first walk in, to the left you have an intercom phone which allows you to let in anyone from downstairs. There is also a coat rack attached to the wall which came in pretty handy with all of my coats and jumper instead of having them hung over the backs of chairs or just slung on the floor. To the left you see the kitchen.
The kitchen: Small is one word that I would use to describe the kitchen but to be honest what did I you expect for business flats. It would have been nice to have a little more space but it wasn't essential. I am certainly sure that I can survive with it. But what I wasn't particularly impressed with was the lack of an oven. I had a hob with 4 points and a microwave but no oven and I must say I was a little disappointed with this.
As the flats were furnished, the kitchen came with the majority of things that you would need to cook and eat (plates, bowls, saucepans, glasses, cutlery, etc). There is also a very small bin that fills up pretty quickly. You get a fridge with a small freezer compartment inside, dishwasher, coffee machine, toaster and kettle.
The bathroom: In the bathroom, there is a shower/bath (although I found out that very few of the rooms had a bath), a toilet, sink with a good well lit mirror, small cupboard and a strange brown rack which looked to me like it was for shoes. In the bathroom were 2 small towels and one large towel as well as a fluffy bath mat. Let's cover the good first. I loved the bath as it was a relatively big size and it made the place feel a little more homely. And around the bath was plenty of space to put your shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, etc. The shower was excellent. Instead of the showers that gently tipple water, this was powerful and pretty damn perfect. As for the mirror, it was superb. There were four light bulbs along the top which allowed you to apply make up without going outside to find it is a different shade to what you applied or that you have numerous lines. But what I wasn't too keen on in the bathroom was the toilet. It didn't have a great flush and you found you had to flush the toilet several times before the action was performed correctly which isn't particularly environmentally friendly or nice at all to be honest.
The living area: Again, it's small but livable. There is a leather sofa which is pretty comfortable and probably where I spend most of my time in the apartment. There are also two small leather stools (which tend to be used as a place to put clothes) as well as a big leather footrest. There is also a small black glass table which is perfectly sized to have your laptop on.
One of the thing that you get in the living room is cable TV. This isn't brilliant but it had BBC1 and BBC2 which kept me a little bit sane. The range of channels depends on the provider in the area but there were a number to choose from in a variety of languages. Also in the living area is a high speed internet connection which will be a god send to you, it certainly was for me.
Between the kitchen and living area is a white table with two chairs. This is sufficient for me as it is only myself staying and when I do have a guest for the occasional weekend, there will be room for them to eat also.
The bedroom: The bedroom is compact. There is a double bed which is very comfortable. There is plenty of room for clothes as in the bedroom is a triple wardrobe. More than enough space for the type of people that will be staying in the apartment. I have lots of clothes but I didn't even fill half of the space. On the front of one of the wardrobe doors is a mirror which is handy.
The balcony: This isn't something that all apartments have, some simply having a sliding window. In my apartment, I had the world's smallest balcony. The door slides open and you have about a foot of space to edge your way left to right. As was mainly winter months that I stayed in the apartment I can't say that I used it too much other than to get a little bit of fresh air.
One of the things that I was disappointed with when it came to the apartments was the fact that there was no washing machine in the room. The Riverside Residence has a laundry room that is situated in the basement with a coin operated washing machine and tumble dryer. These are easy to use but expensive and take absolutely ages. My wash took almost 2 hours and I was bored out of my brain waiting down there for it to finish. I eventually went elsewhere down the road as one washing machine for the entire apartment block just wasn't enough and it was a lot cheaper.
To have parking in this area is a complete must in my opinion. The hours that I have been working mean that I wouldn't get home early enough to get a parking space on the road. My company paid for a space in the underground car park which makes your life easier in that you have a car parking space although it is tiny down there so you need to be very careful not to crash into the walls or other cars. This car parking costs Euro150 per month. Expensive, yes. But also worth it.
Was There Anything Else That I Really Didn't Like?
Well yes. The one thing that really bothered me about the apartments and Brussels on the whole was the sirens. They are super loud. Imagine something really loud and times it by ten. Even then, the sirens are louder. And the reason that I am adding this into my review is that you can hear them through your apartment. The noise is unbelievable. For the first few months my sleep was constantly broken due to these very annoying sirens and I would love to say that you get used to it, because you don't. But you grow so tired that you just sleep through the noise in the end.
A cleaning service is provided in the rental package. The services provided include cleaning of the kitchen and floors, hoover and dust, changing of the towels and bed linen as well as removing small waste. This cleaning service takes place twice a month and I must say they do a pretty good job even if you can't find your belongings as they have put them away somewhere.
How Much Does It Cost?
I didn't have to look or take into account the costs of the apartment but I did a bit of research into it for the purpose of my review and the prices are as follows:
1 bedroom costs between Euro1340 and Euro1550 per month depending on how long you have the apartment for.
2 bedroom costs between Euro1640 and Euro1890 also depending on the length of your contract.
As I haven't looked around at prices elsewhere I am unable to tell you whether this is a good, fair or poor price.
Something to Keep In Mind
If you book to stay at the Riverside Residence you should be aware that the apartments all differ. Some of the colleagues that also stayed in the apartments had very different room layouts and amenities to those that I had. My advice is to go without expecting to have a bath or dishwasher as these are two of the things that many people did not have within their rooms.
When I take everything into account, I would say that my 7 month stay at Riverside Residence Brussels Business Flats was a satisfactory one. I wouldn't quite say that I loved the apartment but I think came to quite liking the place probably as I didn't spend a great deal of time their due to the very long hours that I was working. Would I recommend them to somebody looking for accommodation in Brussels? Sure. I don't see why I wouldn't if they were staying in an apartment like my own. It was definitely adequate and I loved having a bath.
Hopefully I have covered everything that needs covering but apologies for not being able to answer any questions you may have on how easy it is to pay them as this was all done on my behalf so I didn't have the worry of this.
For any further details, you can visit www.bbf.be. I'm sure that if you email the address given on the website, they will be able to answer any question that you may have.