Travelers to Belgium will find a wide range of accommodations, particularly in the major cities, where the choices include boutique and traditional hotels as well as rental apartments. In Belgium’s countryside and small villages, there are countless small inns and bed and breakfasts.
In Brussels, you can save as much as 50 percent on special rates offered during summer weekends, especially in big chain hotels that are popular with businesspeople.
Wherever you book, be sure to read the fine print. Many hotels charge a 50 percent penalty or the price of the first night’s stay if you cancel within 21 days of arrival. (Consider trip insurance to cover you if your plans change.)
Make reservations as far in advance as you can, especially if you are traveling between June and August. The best places get reserved months in advance, and the longer you wait, the fewer options you’ll have. Always carry a copy of your hotel confirmation.
Belgium Historic Hotels
Belgium is home to numerous hotels occupying historic structures. With meticulously preserved architectural details and luxurious textiles from eras gone by, these properties make for atmospheric and memorable places to stay.
One of our favorites is the Dominican, set in a former abbey in Brussels; located behind the theater and opera house, it offers a dreamy escape from the country’s busy governmental hub. Hotel de Orangerie in Bruges is another converted religious building; once a 15th-century convent, it’s now a 20-room boutique property overlooking the Dijver Canal.
Another incredible retreat is Auberge du Moulin Hideux, a 17th-century mill that’s been converted into a member of the Relais & Chateaux collection. Here guests can relax in the garden, visit the hammam or sauna, or dine in the fine on-site restaurant.
Belgium Historic Hotel Resources:
Belgium Boutique Hotels
Most of the country’s boutique hotels are located in Brussels, the magical historic town of Bruges or Antwerp, the country’s capital of cool. These small hotels are often very stylish, even exquisite. In Brussels, our favorites include Be Manos, a a sleek retro-style hotel within walking distance of Midi Station, and Made in Louise, with modern rooms and a well-rated breakfast.
Hotel Prinsenhof is a luxury boutique option in Bruges, offering 24 rooms in a 1930s mansion, while Hotel Matelote combines chic modern decor with a 16th-century building in the heart of historic Antwerp.
Belgium Boutique Hotel Resources:
Belgium Chain Hotels
For those who wish to utilize loyalty points or who prefer familiar brands, many of the most recognizable international chain hotels have properties in the urban areas of Belgium. For example, Sofitel and Hilton each have a couple of properties in Brussels, while Ibis has dozens of affordable hotels around the country.
Belgium Bed and Breakfasts
Whether you’re staying in a city or retreating to the countryside, you’ll find Belgium rife with bed and breakfasts. Many of these are in historic buildings and in charming settings. Some have as few as one or two guestrooms. Most serve simple but lovely breakfasts including baskets of fresh breads and pastries, as well as fruits, cheeses, yogurts and cereals.
Among our favorites is Sint Niklaas B&B, with three guestrooms offering wonderful views of the bell tower in Bruges. We also love L’Ecume des Jours, which offers one stylish suite in a 1916 house in Ghent.
Belgium B&B Resources:
Belgium Rental Apartments and Homes
For those wanting to spread out a little in Brussels, there are a number of serviced apartments that are appropriate for both short-term travelers and those seeking longer stays. These one- to three-bedroom apartments are located in a variety of convenient destinations around the city, from the Grand Place neighborhood to the Art Deco residential area. These are similar to hotels in that they offer daily housekeeping, but they also have kitchens or kitchenettes and washer/dryer facilities. One popular provider is B-aparthotels.
Throughout many Belgian cities there are also furnished apartments available to rent for short-term visits. You can find rooms, studios and full apartments via online services such as Airbnb.com. Rental houses are available outside the cities as well. Amenities and facilities — such as air conditioning and Wi-Fi — vary based on the individual accommodations, so be sure to read reviews carefully.
–written by Susan Farewell