I had to find a place to stay while working in Brussels and found that getting a flat was a poor option because the landlords always wanted a 1 year lease and my stay was only a few months. I decided to stay at a B&B to keep it simple, and stayed at the Phileas Fogg, an old house built in 1888 with a huge kitchen and a pretty garden and a variety of rooms. Karin, the owner, was a gracious host always ready to provide help and advice whether it was directions, sightseeing, where to get the best bread, chocolate, coffee or antiques, and even getting help from the Police for my residency permit.
She was always so very helpful, generously taking care of my laundry each week herself when her in-house laundry machine broke down, and even buying my favourite beer at a much lower price than I was getting at the shops I knew. She even gave me a ride to the train station when I was leaving Brussels, something she certainly did not have to do.
Her adorable and energetic young daughter Nerjis was always loads of fun, drawing -even singing and dancing to entertain guests at dinner at times- what an amazing talented young lady she is.
Her loyal dog Nefi and I bonded, I enjoyed taking her for walks around the neighborhood.
Karin has recently rennovated several rooms in the house and they are quite spectacular now- making me wish I could have switched to one of them and stayed longer. I believe she is ultimately going to be rennovating the whole house but right now she already has several amazing new rooms that are quite beautiful.
Her dinners were always a treat, and when the house was full and the dinner table crowded with people from all over the world it made travelling all the more enjoyable- after-all, that's what it's supposed to be about.
Some important information for those who don't seem to get it when it comes to staying at a B&B:
It's not a hotel, so don't expect room service, TV, a pool or a bar or a 24 hour concierge.
There's no cafe, table service, restaurant or typical 'North American' menu. Your breakfast is continental- and that means a cup of coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice with bread with jam- not a customized breakfast with eggs and bacon however you want it, like what a Hotel catering to western travellers might offer.
I always just went to a grocers and got my own food and prepared my own breakfasts lunches and dinners, unless of course Karin had a house with guests and I arrived home from work in time for dinner! Then it was always a treat to join the table and sample something new.
You need to provide your own toiletries such as soap and shampoo, although towels are provided.
A B&B is NOT a hotel. It's a home away from home you live in temporarily and as such you take care of yourself as if it's your home and I think this is something many people fail to comprehend, and where those who don't enjoy their stay are missing the point.
Karin has recently brought in a manager to help take over much of the B&B's operations and this lovely young lady named Marta brings more energy to the house, and I believe she too speaks at least three languages.
If you travel to Brussels and want to have all the conveniences of a typical North American Hotel with your pay-per view, HBO, swimming pools, 24 hour room service, non- Belgian meals, lock yourself up in your room and never even meet your fellow travellers in the Hotel then you are unlikely to enjoy this B&B.
But if you like to take care of yourself when you travel, want to meet people from all over the world and stay in a charming rustic two centuries-old house and meet an amazing hostess who speaks a staggering seven languages [yes, seven] and feel like a real world traveller meeting people from around the world, cooking dinners together and making new friends and having great conversations together then this is the sort of place to stay.
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- Also Known As:
- The Phileas Fogg Hotel Brussels
- The Phileas Fogg Brussels, Belgium