When choosing where to stay in Brussels, visitors will often only look for hotels near Grand Place. Brussels has more options.
Your search among the best places to stay in Brussels can be fine-tuned. Our tips on the best area to stay in Brussels will help you zero in.
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Why Visit and Where to Stay in Brussels?
If you’re looking for a mid-size city experience in Western Europe, our top recommendation would be Brussels. We love an under-rated destination and Brussels delivers!
Most visitors will be under the impression that the best places to stay in Brussels will be among the hotels near Grand Place, the UNESCO World Heritage Site which is the heart of the city’s center. They wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but there’s more to consider when you’re evaluating where to stay in Brussels.With a population of around 200,000, Brussels is manageable in size. Its districts, which are arranged in a pentagon-shape around the city center where Grand Place is located, are highly walkable.
There is plenty of history dating from medieval times (Brussels goes back to the 11th century) to modern eras. This background flavors the city’s appearance and impacts its cultural heritage.
You’ll find some of the best neighborhoods in Brussels are located along the perimeter of the pentagon or just outside. When you branch out to these first tier suburban locations, you’ll find the public transportation system in Brussels to be reliable and practically organized to get you where you want to go quickly and easily.
The unique meeting of Dutch elements from the Flemish regions in northern Belgium with French from the southern regions in the country, and the impact of the European Union presence, makes this capital city unique.
Streets are named in both Dutch and French; these are used interchangeably. Menus are written in multiple languages – very much appreciated. As well, English is widely spoken so that if your French is limited, you’ll be able to get along nicely.
We enjoyed extended stays in Brussels on two separate occasions. This gave us plenty of time to acquaint ourselves with the central districts in the pentagon, and a couple of charming suburbs as well.
Our experiences provided the opportunity to evaluate the benefits of staying close in, where, to be honest, most of the touristic activity occurs, vs. what might be the best place to stay in Brussels for those looking for a more authentic experience. Neither approach is wrong.
Brussels is a cosmopolitan city with close to a third of its population foreign nationals. As the capital of the European Union, Brussels is home to close to almost 50,000 employees of the E.U., NATO, and other international organizations.
Among the best neighborhoods to stay in Brussels are those which are home to diplomatic embassies and their career personnel. We’ll do a deep dive in the following sections on some of the areas to help you decide the best area to stay in Brussels based upon the type of experiences you’d like to have.
Please note our pricing key in front of each hotel we’ve listed, as well, good for budgeting!
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Best Area to Stay in Brussels for Proximity to City Center
Choosing the best area to stay in Brussels is dependent upon the amount of time you have to spend in the city. If you’re visiting with a limited number of days for the first time, you’ll want to keep within the reasonable radius of the center of the pentagon.
Most people who fit this profile when they first visited will think the best place to stay in Brussels is as close to Grand Place as you can get within your budget. Fortunately, there are a variety of options.
Hotels Near Grand Place in Brussels
Note that the city center near Grand Place may be among the best neighborhoods to stay in Brussels for visitors, but locals will more than likely live elsewhere. Prices are also going to be higher in this central location than they will be even a few blocks or a suburb away.
Keep the relative convenience of transportation in mind if you prefer to allocate your spending in categories other than hotel accommodations.
$$$$$ Hotel Amigo Around the corner from Grand Place on a cobbled street, a blend of history and contemporary elegance with a mix of Italian and Belgian elements in a 500 year old building, first converted for hospitality in conjunction with Expo 58, the Brussels World’s Fair. Restaurant and bar feature Italian cuisine. Vintage elements include lobby cobblestones dating from the 7th century. Family friendly with hospitality programs geared to kids, and special event rates available. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$$$$ Hilton Brussels Grand Place Convenient luxury close to the Central rail station and Grand Place, 100% smoke-free, pet friendly, four onsite restaurants, cocktail lounge, more than 200 guest rooms and 20 meeting rooms. Family-friendly rooms, suites and lounge access options available. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$$$ Brussels Marriott Hotel Grand Place A full service, 5-star experience from the Marriott brand, pet friendly, over 200 rooms entirely smoke-free. 24-hour room service and 3 paid breakfast options. American steakhouse style Midtown Bar & Grill. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$$$ Warwick Brussels Formerly the Royal Windsor Hotel, just steps from Grand Place, a luxury 5-star option with piano bar, business and fitness center, concierge and butler services and multi-lingual staff. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$$ Atlas Hotel A 3-star option located in “downtown” Brussels on the Halles St-Gery side, minutes from Grand Place in a neighborhood filled with excellent bars, restaurants and shopping. Cold buffet breakfast included with extra a la carte options. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$$ Hotel Metropole Long a mainstay on any serious tour of art nouveau architecture in the city, there is a transitional aspect to the accommodations. Don’t be shy about specifying a quiet, updated room, and revel in the glorious public spaces of this landmark. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$ Hotel Adagio Brussels Grand Place Within 500 meters of Grand Place, and 3 minutes from bus and metro stops. Studio, 1-Bedroom and accessible apartment configurations with kitchenette including dishwasher, fridge, microwave, kitchen utensils. Breakfast and fitness center. Weekly cleaning services or paid full housekeeping. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$ Ibis Brussels City Centre Not to be confused with the more expensive Ibis Brussels Off Grand Place, this is better value for this popular European brand. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
Hotels Near Midi Station
The Eurostar and other international trains leave from Midi, so it might be that the two options we recommend would be good if you have an early departure. Although there were several restaurants within walking distance, we weren’t exactly enamored of the immediate area around the station itself, so we are counting these two hotels among the best places to stay in Brussels primarily for convenience and security.
$ Park Inn by Radisson Brussels Midi We found this hotel most convenient to Brussels Midi as it’s literally across the street, so a very short walk into the station with luggage. Rooms are well-appointed and spacious. Staff is welcoming and morning breakfast is ample and convenient. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$ Pullman Brussels Centre Midi Hotel Part of the Accor brand family, geared for business travel with fitness amenities, full-service restaurant, bar and meeting space. Convenient corner location in the Midi Station complex across from the Federal Government Building. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
Choosing B&B Options and Hotels Near Sablon
The Sablon is one of the best areas to stay in Brussels for a trendy, upscale experience just beyond the ancient city boundaries. Some of the old walls are still visible as you walk up the hill from Grand Place or the Central Station via Rue Lebeau towards Notre Dame au Sablon church.
One of the oldest streets in Brussels, the pedestrian-only Rue de Rollebeek also ambles up the hill past a medieval wall fragment which is overlooked now by a combination discotheque and bowling alley.
In front of the church, the large open square – the Grand Sablon – holds a weekly antiques market with a festival atmosphere.
$$$$$ 9Hotel Sablon An upscale hotel in a quiet allee with pool and sauna. Close to Place du Grand Sablon and Rue de Rollebeek for fine dining, the museums off Place Royale, and the Palaces flanking the Parc de Bruxelles. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$$$ NH Collection Brussels Grand Sablon Right on the beautiful square, close to restaurants, antique shopping and specialty retailers. A high 4-star experience away from the hustle in the tourist center. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$$$ Les Chambres de Martin Located above Restaurant Au Vieux Saint Martin, two guest rooms and one suite in a renaissance house overlooking the Grand Sablon. The former home of Willy Mestach who collected African tribal art. Close to two bakeries for breakfast, Michelin plate rated brasserie downstairs from lunch to late night bistro. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$$ B&B La Maison Haute An ultra-stylish transformation of a vintage trading house in Quartier Marolles, down the hill from the Grand Sablon has three guest rooms and one duplex room. Numerous gastropubs and restaurants within a minute’s walk featuring Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Spanish, Belgian and other European cuisines. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
Best Neighborhoods in Brussels for Local Flavor
During our first extended stay in Brussels, we headquarted just below La Sablon a couple of blocks from the world-famous Manneken Pis statue.
Our digs were in an atmospheric building a few doors down from La Fleur en Papier Dore, a pub where surrealist Rene Magritte and his friends used to hang out in the early 20th century. The interior of the restaurant is protected historical artifact, down to thumbtacked scraps of paper on the walls.
Our next extended visit was spent in a couple of first tier suburbs. Because Brussels is compact by comparison with other major cities in Europe, options for visitors to get an “authentic” impression of the city is relatively easy.
Some of the best neighborhoods to stay in Brussels are hidden enclaves off the leafy boulevards that define suburban areas like Ixelles, Churchill (with street names in honor of WWII heroes like Generals Patton and Eisenhower), Forest, Uccle, and Sant Gilles which ring the main pentagon in a southeasterly fashion.
Any of these neighborhoods would be the best place to stay in Brussels if you’re looking to hunt down the many excellent examples of art nouveau architecture which remain intact throughout the city.
Noted architect Victor Horta and his students were commissioned by many prominent families to build residences and commercial buildings in this bold new style which bridged the Victorian esthetic with the more streamlined modernist ethos which was yet to come.
These are also among the best areas to stay in Brussels due to the high numbers of embassy and other diplomatic entourage officials who make them their homes. It was great fun to walk the dog we were caring for in Uccle past the brass nameplates which announced that an ambassador or a delegation were our neighbors.
Places to Stay In and Around Ixelles – Churchill – Uccle – Forest – Sant Gilles
$$$ La Maison d’Edgar A cozy B&B experience in a vintage town house with period furniture and art. Public sitting rooms with optional breakfast. Close to restaurants in the neighborhood. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$$$ Le Chatelain A 5-star independent boutique experience with 107 rooms, restaurant, bar private garden, valet and shuttle service. Full business center with meeting and event space. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$$ Ibis Styles Brussels Louise Non-smoking hotel, buffet breakfast included, part of the Accor brand family. Private indoor parking available. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$$ Hotel Catalonia Brussels Located in the heart of the art nouveau district, off Ave. Louise. Buffet breakfast, tapas and cocktail bar. Dedicated parking and pet friendly. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$ Hotel de Fierlant A solid 3-star choice with terrace and 24 hour bar. En suite rooms include mini-fridge and kettle. Parking available in enclosed garage. Daily breakfast buffet of hot and cold items included. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
$ Aquarelle B&B A petite, 3-room art nouveau jewel in a townhouse near Parvis de Saint-Gilles, one of the best neighborhoods in Brussels for random art nouveau buildings. Beautiful stained glass and architectural details. Click here to read TripAdvisor reviews. To book with Booking.com, click here.
Whether you choose to stay within or outside of the city center, Brussels will delight you with its cosmopolitan style and livable atmosphere.
We found ourselves thinking that Brussels was all that we wished Paris might have been: French emotion tempered with Dutch pragmatism, outstanding gastronomy (some of the best food in Europe), centuries of history and sophisticated cultural influences, outstanding architecture, and great beer.
We hope our recommendations for the best neighborhoods in Brussels will have you thinking of alternatives for accommodations that best fit your travel style and interests.