I booked this hotel because for some reason, at my desired time prices of all hotels in Brussels had rocketed.
Having paid just 55 EUR/night, I was prepared for a less-than-perfect experience. However, it turned out be bad enough for me to write this review.
Upon arrival I learned that they could not find my reservation made a month earlier. A man introducing himself as the owner of the place was quick to come forward and admit their mistake. Fair enough, things happen. What are they going to do about it? They are going to move me to another of their four properties in town, the Hotel Albergo. It is in the same (red-light) district near the North Station but a little closer, therefore I agreed to move. They said it was the same standard. The owner drove me there. After my request, he gave me a free Wifi code valid for one day (worth 12 EUR) as compensation for the inconvenience. Nice gesture, and I did not mind the change much then.
They gave me my room key, and the first warning sign was that they showed me to the stairs leading DOWN from the tiny reception. Yes, the room (No 40) was in the basement right under the reception, with two half-windows of opaque glass letting in a little light from the level of pavement (and plenty of light from passing car's headlights, as I'd find out at night). Each time I entered I would be greeted by a hanging musty smell.
There was a small LCD TV on the wall and a night-lamp on the stand for equipment. The wardrobe didn't have any handles, only holes for where they should have been, but it did have dust on the top. The adjoining toilet/shower had even more damp smell, probably because of hardly-existing ventilation in the cellar. The two soap and shampoo dispensers were empty, and I had to ask at the reception to give me some soap. After returning from town I found a bottle of cheap shampoo on the shower floor, for me to use as soap.
The shower ceiling had green mold bubbles everywhere - upon noticing them I was not so sure if I wanted to take showers there any more.
There was no room cleaning service after the night - they only brought in a fresh set of towels on my second day.
I had to go to an important meeting in the morning, and thus came to the reception at about 6.30 to ask how much it would take (and approximately cost) to go by taxi to my intended location. There was only one middle-aged guy going about some house-keeping who indifferently replied that he could call the taxi company, but that he was not supposed to know these things as he was not a taxi driver (as if I had implied that). He exchanged a few words on the phone and gave the receiver to me, not bothering to do the arranging himself.
I agreed that the taxi would come for me at 7.15, and mentioned to the guy that I was now going to have breakfast (at the other side of the reception, same room) so he could not down my room number. He was exhilarated: "But breakfast only starts at 7!" pointing to a bag full of buns that he was taking to the breakfast room. Frankly, I hadn't checked, but thought that 6 or 6.30 was not such an early time in a city like Brussels. Anyway, the guy clearly felt offended by my suggestion, and even though I said it was OK, he went on bumbling how people still sleep at this time and repeating that breakfast was served from 7, as if I had made the stupidest comment in my life.
Anyway, I came back at 7, knowing I had just 15 minutes to eat breakfast before my cab. I spent some minutes experimenting with the coffee and juice machines both of which worked only partly, dispensing some drinks, but not others, and was about in the middle of my meal when the guy said the taxi was there. Indeed, it was exactly 7.15. I thought I'd grab a few more bites, knowing that I wouldn't be able to leave my meeting until 13.00, after all three or five minutes of waiting by the cabbie would not change much. However, there was the sound of horn outside, and the hotel guy was telling me repeatedly that I must go immediately because the taxi is blocking the way for someone. (It is strange because the hotel is on a wide part of the street near a junction.). Although I think that it is the cabbie's job to do the driving/traffic part, and mine is to pay him for the extra waiting incurred, the hotel guy's constant pressure that I must go now got the better of me, and I ran to the cab, half-hungry and almost forgetting important papers in the room.
The other reception staff who I met (a lady spending all her time on Facebook and another younger guy) were quite nice but not too enthusiastic about their duties.
I was thinking how I could sum up this experience:
+ ok price (the owner even told me someone else was paying 139 euros for the same hotel);
+ good attitude of the owner;
+ ok location;
- dirty room and antisanitary shower;
- room in the basement!
- two-star staff attitude (on average);
- the fact that they keep moving guests around suggests a habit, not a coincidence.
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Albert Hotel Brussels
- Hotel Albert Brussels, Belgium