All of the good reviews are true. The hosts, Pascal and Akemi, are lovely people and very knowledgeable about Brussels and other cities. Pascal chatted with us at breakfast about our plans for the day, and if he couldn't answer a question (which was rare), he would look up the answer. We also appreciate that he called in French to confirm some bookings (taxi service, music club). His restaurant suggestions were excellent--most likely we would not have found, on our own, some of the eateries he recommended.
At breakfast we enjoyed the super-fresh croissants, fruit jam, bread, cheese, yogurt, coffee, and tea. As someone who drinks only tea, I was thrilled to have Twinings and water kept piping hot.
The location is literally 100 steps from the Mannekin Pis statue (I counted the steps :-) Fortunately it is one block away and around a corner, so you are not right on top of this crowded attraction. I would compare the neighborhood to New York City's Greenwich Village. There are dozens of good restaurants and several music clubs within walking distance. The Grand Place is nearby, but not too near (it also attracts large crowds). Metro stop Annessens is a few blocks away, but the city is so compact that we only used the Metro and tram system once, choosing instead to walk up Mont des Arts to the big museums. En route we checked out neighborhoods with high concentrations of hotels, e.g., Rue Madeleine, and were happy we chose the Carmelites location instead.
Speaking of steps, it is a 40-step climb to the top floor. We had no problem with that (and Pascal kindly helped to carry the luggage), but you should be aware in case you don't like stair-climbing.
This is an old and historic house, and naturally its charms are accompanied by a few "old house" quirks. The floors creak. The bathroom sometimes has an earthy smell. While the tub is modern and large, the shower is hand-held. We have found this to be standard in other European countries as well. Rue de Moineaux is generally quiet, but on weekends some street noise drifted in. Pascal told us that he has applied to the city to install double-glazed windows, but the process is bureaucratic because of restrictions that limit exterior renovation in historic districts. Also, the bedroom windows are opposite two bright street lights, so the room is never quite dark. I wore a sleep mask.
The bed is very comfortable and there are reading lamps. We set up wi-fi once and used our laptop to check email every day from our room, with no problems (just remember to bring a converter).
My husband and I heartily recommend Carmelites to independent travelers who want an authentic Brussels experience. We did not see the next-door apartment that has recently been added (there were guests staying there already), but if it's anything like the main house, you should consider it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- If you have been looking for bed n breakfasts in Brussels, you have to consider Carmelites Guest House. There are many great attractions nearby, including Manneken Pis Statue, La Grande Place, Notre Dame du Sablon and Museum of Musical Instruments - Old England Building. Also close by are Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and Cathedral of St. Michael.This 3-star Brussels City Centre - Grand Place bed & breakfast, Brussels offers free wireless Internet access, plus free breakfast. ... more less
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