Preview: I’ve spent many weeks in hotel bloom, and three of them were over the period of October-November 2013. This was a subsequent visit for me after several separate stays in years past. The best summary I can give in a couple sentences is that it is still my chosen hotel when in Brussels, and while a few things were not as I loved and remembered them, overall the stay was quite comfortable and felt like home.
From top to bottom:
When seeing pictures of Hotel Bloom, you will notice that it is a modern/stylish/trendy hotel and is well rated for one of the trendiest hotels worldwide. This does not mean it is a luxury hotel or something to make a world trip for, but in the realm of hotels, it is a fun and interesting stay and offers some unique aspects that keep the hotel experience feeling fresh and different.
The interiors of the hotel are quite modern and playful— astroturf island in the lobby, bamboo like branches painted on glass doors to obscure the view of office behind the front desk, and a restaurant and bar area that looks as much like a couch bar as it does a restaurant. Cartoons and swings in a corner by the elevators. All of these things are components of the Bloom experience.
Check in is relaxed and low key. You will find youngish employees managing your check in process and assigning your room. You’ll notice the ever-changing color of the mood lighting throughout the lobby, and normally a pulse of music everywhere in the lobby, eating areas, and even the elevators.
The rooms are as well decorated in a minimalist modern way as well— most areas are white, including walls, desk, bed stand and sides. Each room features a unique painting behind the bed and a description of the artist and sometimes contact information of the artist on the side wall. The furniture is also retro modern, and the carpet is a uniform short shag green in every room I’ve inhabited.
My original stays some years ago were absolutely outstanding and fantastic. The pulsing music in the elevator rocked me awake every morning— at first with a grimace— but when I left Brussels and visited other hotels I really yearned for that elevator music pulse to rock me awake on the way to breakfast. Not a lot has changed since my original visits and this almost-month-long stay, but a few finder points were less honed, and while I had only one real issue it was solved immediately.
Upon my first check in in October, I received a room that had quite a bit of scuffs on the walls. A hotel committing to all white walls is also committing to a lot of mid-term upkeep and magic sponge wall attention, and this room clearly hadn’t received it. As well, it had a few stains on the carpet. I also had problems with wifi and the TV, so I approached the front desk. I was promptly given an apology and was assigned a different room. All was well in the new room.
The front desk service was very calm and adequately friendly. The hotel experience in Europe and Brussels is different than in the US, so if you are a US traveler and this is your first experience, this is a very normal check in experience. You might think it’s slow. It’s not lightning speed, every customer gets special attention and time without rushing you.
Since my prior visits, the hotel has replaced all of the TV’s in the guest room with large, beautiful Samsung LCD’s (I’d guess 37” or 42”), that are vibrant and attractive. The TV has a unique interface to them which can also play music, log you in to some social media options and browse the web. It is a nice menu but the drawback is that I had some technical glitches with it in every room I visited. Navigating the menu is not done by arrows on the remote but by swinging the remote around in the air like a Nintendo Wii. This was awkward and imprecise. I spent most of my mornings - nights at the office, so it wasn’t a huge disruption for me until I had one that wouldn’t turn on until I power cycled the TV & box every time, to get it to turn on. Spent a lot of mornings wanting music and being aggravated because the TV wouldn’t turn on and a lot of nights aggravated because I had to get out of bed to unplug it because it wouldn’t turn off. The hotel needs to work with the vendor to fix this system.
Wifi is free everywhere in the hotel, and even at peak hours in the evening was usable for general surfing. At non-peak times I was able to to large downloads and app updates with no issue. They were expectedly slower at peak times.
The bed was firm and unusually comfortable for a firm bed, in every room that I visited. Adequate luggage space exists underneath, and the room has nice spaces designed into the desk/TV area for luggage, backpacks, and other travel items to sit up off the floor and within easy reach. Each room is also equipped with a refrigerator, safe, closet area and bathroom. A coffee machine (Senseo) is also there. The configuration varies by room, but they all have these features as a minimum. Sleep quality is good, and the curtains can black out very well. The window will open a few inches. The AC is adequate at the times of year they allow you to use it— and it seems to shut off sometime in October. This also is fairly typical in European hotels. The rooms were all adequately quiet, knowing that there are some street traffic, some sirens and a concert hall not far away.
One of the highlights of this hotel is the expansive breakfast area— beautiful, interesting, comfortable, and in my previous visits— bumping to the pulse of new music. This time though, the music was much quieter, sometimes “off” in the mornings, and even after I mentioned it to the hotel via Twitter, still some days we’d find it off in the morning. For me this is a key personality trait of the hotel and some re-training time should be done to reinforce this as a very important element of the breakfast room experience. I also noticed this stay that the hotel has become more popular with business travelers and some older travelers, so it is possible they’re trying to please a larger range of expectations for the volume of music in the morning. We had some sad mornings missing the music, and I hope this is a point of conversation with the team there. Breakfast opened very promptly every morning and if not, only 2-3 minutes late.
As far as service of the room goes, every day my room was cleaned to my high expectations— bed was made, no lint or dirt found, bathroom was fully clean & spotless. The only small frowns came with some small inconsistencies on various room services: One day after sending away laundry, my room cleaner didn’t replace my laundry bag and sheet so I could send more. I’m probably the uncommon traveler in that way. One day my free water wasn’t replaced, and one day even after the front desk suggested that I could have housekeeping take away my laundry, my bag of laundry was left in my room even through the cleaning time and no one touched it. Very small things, but they were noticed. Small things to reinforce, and not enough to really make a serious disappointment.
In summary, and in line with my title, this is the same Hotel Bloom the I have come to love over the last couple years, with just a bit less Boom. Same Bloom, less Boom. A satisfied customer will return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel BLOOM! is a unique hotel in the heart of Brussels where no two rooms are alike. Each light-filled room is decorated with a unique hand painted fresco created by a young European artist. You can pick a room to your own taste. From sober to crazy: the choice is all yours.Whether you’re here to work or to have fun, at BLOOM! you will immediately feel a creative vibe that will inspire you and bring you new ideas. Stay with us and live a unique experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bloom Hotel Brussels
- Hotel BLOOM! Brussels, Belgium