Grand Hotel Casselbergh, Bruges
On our last two trips to Bruges we stayed at the Oud Huis de Peellaert, and while we enjoyed our stay both times, on this trip their sister property, Grand Hotel Casselbergh, was substantially cheaper and closer to the main square. We decided to give it a try and are glad we did. The breakfast was tasty and had quite a few options, and the front desk was very helpful with making restaurant recommendations and reservations.
Our room was a good size with two chairs, a very comfortable bed, and a good size desk. Oddly, the desk didn’t have convenient outlets, so we had to crawl under the nightstand to charge things at night. The bathroom has L’Occitane soap (lemon verbena!) and had both a tub and shower. The shower doors were a little loose so water had a tendency to escape but it wasn’t a significant problem.
Based on our experience on the first floor we’d recommend a room 2 floors up from the restaurant – the sound of chairs being moved for breakfast was noticeable early in the morning.
Hotel Matelote, Antwerp
Hotel Matelote is a small hotel with 10 rooms and a great location just three blocks from a metro stop and one block from the main square. Their reception desk is toward the back of the building so the front door is typically locked; we were buzzed in and met by the most outgoing of the receptionists of our stay. The ground floor of the hotel is common space, with a large couch and TV in the front room, and several tables and a fireplace in the second room. As a welcome drink the receptionist opened a bottle of cava for our group of six and we enjoyed it around the wood fire.
Leandra and I were in room 9 on the second floor which was accessed via a metal spiral staircase. Our room was very contemporary, with a large comfortable bed, concrete floors, and large windows looking onto a small courtyard.
The bathroom was bright and fairly roomy with a large double head shower. Unfortunately, hot water seems to be an issue at this hotel, as our friends lost hot water the first night and we lost hot water on the second night. The only solution appeared to be a ‘reset’ of the hot water heater which entailed the lone front desk person waking up people in a different room to access the hot water heater! The bathroom was also up three stairs, which was a little tricky first thing in the fog of morning.
Hotel Matelote can arrange breakfast for 12E/person which we requested on our first morning. It was quite European with some fresh breads, granola, and cheese. Leandra even braved the egg boiler, although without ice water handy to stop the cooking process, it took quite a while for the hard-boiled egg to cool down. On the second morning we decided to try out a restaurant as we preferred more protein to start the day.
We would consider returning to this hotel but would be a bit wary of the water.
B&B Maison Noble, Brussels
This was our third stay at Maison Noble, so we obviously enjoy staying here (see report from 2010). With three couples we took up all three of the rooms, so this time we stayed up on the top floor in the loft. The loft has a sitting/closet/desk area when you first walk in, and a set of somewhat slippery stairs leading up to the bathroom and bed.
While the skylights provide a nice view of the city (below), we prefer a very dark room for sleeping and the skylights made it quite light in the morning. Overall, the loft room was ok but we preferred the third floor room we had on our last two stays.
As usual, breakfast was tasty with fresh pastries, granola, cheese and scrambled eggs overlooking a beautiful stained glass window.
Jurys Inn Heathrow, London
The Jury’s Inn is our go-to airport hotel in London simply because we can reach it via the tube (no need for the Hoppa bus or a taxi). Rooms at the Jury’s Inn are fairly basic (think Holiday Inn) but reasonably clean and remarkably quiet given that aircraft are constantly flying over on their landing approach. We stayed here in May on our way back from Israel, and over the summer Leandra locked in a deal for rooms at 55 pounds (~$80) which was a ridiculously good rate. Since rooms in central London are typically $200+ a night we decided to stay out by the airport for this one night in London. All in all it’s a good place to get a night’s sleep on your way to your next destination!