The idea was, on the occasion of my 40th Birthday, to be able to sit, hopefully outside on the advertised terrace/balcony, relax, enjoy the advertised complimentary bottle of Prosecco, and look at the park, as spring took its hold, possibly in an ironic acknowledgment that, my own youth is now well and truly buried in the sands of time. And then head out to a heavy metal concert to begin my midlife crisis with a (head)bang.
Well, as I said, that WAS the idea. Unfortunately that was not the case. Firstly I should mention that, in general, I do not stay in "posh" hotels. I have worked in/for posh hotels, The Grand in Brighton being one, but I do not stay in them. I see no point, as, in general, I expect not to be in said hotel for anything other than sleeping and freshening up, but, this was my wife's treat. Go somewhere perceived as "a bit snazzy", just for the one night, and, the pictures certainly looked like it would be that.
I indulged her.
I can feel you thinking "Such hardship endured for your wife's pleasure", and some might say that, it's entirely possible that maybe, it was her who was perhaps looking forward to the hotel, more than the prospect of 3 hours of sweaty hairy men watching more sweaty hairy men with guitars shout a lot. I cannot deny that this passed my mind too, however, I digress.
To me, €130 constitutes expensive for one night. I will happily stay in a Britannia Hotel in the UK for 33% of that price. In point of fact, last year on my 39th Birthday, we stayed in Las Vegas, for far less, and had no issue whatsoever. The Astoria was certainly no better than a UK Britannia.
There were 2 balconies. Accessible by stepping through a window. With no chairs on because, well, the view constituted fire exits and the back of other hotels. There was no park in sight, which was somewhat obvious on the approach to the hotel, as it was situated in a side street among other side streets.
There was no park view. See above.
There was no complimentary bottle of wine to go with the whole romance of what should've been happening, presumably because no-one in their right mind could have expected anything remotely romantic to be taking place within this environment.
The decor of the room was dull. Dank even. Besmirched with the air of defeat which had probably oozed from other travellers having arrived here with high hopes only to have them dashed, this contrast perhaps, seeping into the walls, so that instead all that remains is desolate despair reflecting the reality which is The Astoria Hotel room to which we were assigned.
Somewhat disenamoured, my wife headed to the reception, while I quietly cogitated about how I could've used the €70 by which the hotel was overpriced by. The lady on reception, contacted someone of more seniority who proceeded to say, almost without hesitation, that we could move to The Leopold Hotel, for the same price, which is owned by the same company. It was almost as if... and of course this is only speculation... people had complained about the exact same issue before.
So, we were whisked away to the Leopold, where we were offered a normal room for the same price, or, a room that looked startlingly like the room we thought we were booking originally, but, for that, we would have to of course, pay an extra €50. €50 more, to get the room we'd originally paid for, after all the grief which had gone before, was never going to happen, so instead, we took the same priced room, and cut our losses.
There was still no wine. There was still no balcony/terrace to sit and enjoy the.. oh wait... now I see again why there was no wine.
However, the Leopold room at least looked like a room that welcomed people. While I know that should be a congenital part of a hotel room, at this point it was a "thankful for small mercies" moment.
The only positive I can give you for the Astoria Hotel is that the lady who moved us to the Leopold did so with accustomed ease, but the cynic in me wants to think that this is perhaps due to the repetition of such events becoming second nature, rather than good customer service. However, that might be an injustice to her.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Astoria Hotel Antwerp is ideally located in the the city centre across the road from the beautiful Stadspark. The historical city packed full of restaurants, bars and the famous diamond sector are located a short stroll away. Antwerp's central station and the most popular shopping area are less than five minutes away. This well regarded hotel is known for its soothing ambiance and impeccable service. With 66 well appointed bedrooms, the hotel offers an affordable base for staying in Antwerp, whether on a business trip, or a weekend break. We are pleased to announce that our hotel is now completely smoke free, smoking is prohibited in all areas of the hotel, including guest rooms. Guests must go outside the building to smoke. Breakfast is available each morning The lobby is equipped with a 'Grab and Go' snacks and drinks machine. We offer FREE internet access in all guest rooms through the flat screen TV Great choice of international channels including CNN free of charge We have secure underground parking for a fee (subject to availability). Guests of the Astoria Hotel can avail of all the facilities at our sister hotel, the Leopold Hotel Antwerp, which is located just 2 minutes walk from our door. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Antwerp Astoria Hotel