Wednesday 14 December 2011

The Stanhope Hotel, Rue du Commerce, Brussels

Housed in an hundred-year old building perfectly-located between the European Parliament and the heart of Brussels, the Stanhope Hotel doesn't have to try very hard to attract guests. The ridiculously ornate foyer, with its classical columns, is many years out-of-date and rather stuffy, while the dining room is also excessively formal, fussy and elaborately decorated with incongruous Chinese prints. The two-storey bedrooms on the first floor have very high ceilings, tall windows, massive curtains, wooden floors and some period style.  Downstairs is a desk, chairs, sofa, minibar, television and ageing bathroom. On a mezzanine-level, is a comfortable double-bed and not much else. Unfortunately, the narrow, steep staircase can be a bit treacherous in the middle of the night, but there are light switches everywhere. Note, even a small bottle of water from the minibar costs four euros and the smoking rooms have a real stench of tobacco. The buffet breakfast isn't great for 25 euros. There is a broad selection, but the food is really only passable, while the coffee is lacklustre and can be lukewarm. The waitors are friendly, but they seem to be trying to deal with too many people at once and confusion beckons. On top of the hefty room-rate, the Stanhope charges eight euros city tax and a further nine euros for 24 hours of decent Wi-Fi access.  Somewhat complacent, the Stanhope seems to be making too good a living from Eurocrats on expense accounts. 5/10