Hotel Le Plaza, Brussels, Belgium – Review
My first visit to the city of Brussels (a few hour-long layovers at the airport notwithstanding) was just a few months ago and I was looking forward to this trip as it was also one of my first appearances in Europe talking about my new book, Overload! How Too Much Information Is Hazardous To Your Organization.
I booked a room at the Hotel Le Plaza, where the book event was being held. Built in the 1920s, Hotel Le Plaza, situated on the Boulevard Adolphe Maxlaan (one of the grand boulevards of the city and connecting the Bruxelles-Nord/Brussel-Noord train station to the Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid station) is one of the last remaining independent hotels in Brussels and underwent a major renovation in 1995.
From the Web site (which played music, something most Internet users don’t appreciate), the hotel looked ideal – metro station is one minute from the front door – and within walking distance to the city’s major attractions including Le Grand Place. And indeed, in many respects, it was, although the surrounding area is a bit run down (think Red Light District) and has definitely seen better days. My flight arrived from Munich rather late in the evening and, when I arrived at the hotel’s front door, it was locked and there did not appear to be any staff present. I found a small bell and the front desk clerk immediately came to the door, greeted me warmly, and offered to help me with my bags.
The Plaza has a total of 190 rooms and suites, including four Executive Suites, one Plaza Suite, and one presidential suite. My Prestige Room was quite spacious and elegant, with a separate sleeping area that could be closed off by curtains. There was a sitting area suitable for a meeting and I was able to hold a lunch meeting for four (with a room service table serving as the table) without feeling like we were meeting in my bedroom.
The bed itself was quite comfortable, heating and air conditioning controls were easy to find and set (because the building has landmark protected status, no interior changes are permitted, including air conditioning so each room has an unobtrusive free-standing AC unit in the corner), and the room itself was very quiet, despite facing the main boulevard.
ROAD WARRIOR SUPPORT
Thanks to the results of our Pet Peeves Survey, I look for nearby electrical outlets almost before I unpack my bags and I was pleased to see a large array at desk-level, making it easy to plug in my ThinkPad and mobile phone charger.
The hotel offers free Wi-Fi (capped at 0.5 Mbps) to all guests and faster speeds are available for €7 for 24 hours. The free Internet access worked very well and I found it was more than fast enough for my needs, but it inexplicably stopped working my last night.around 8:40 p.m. and I had to switch to my Xcom Global MiFi hotspot to connect to the Net that evening.
During my stay, I did run into one major problem. I relied on the concierge for directions to a meeting and, after providing him with the complete address, he directed me to a similar-sounding street in a completely different part of the city. This resulted in my missing my meeting since I was almost an hour away from the correct location.
Upon my return to the hotel, the concierge was truly sorry and, when I told him my meeting would take place at the hotel, he offered to set up my room for a lunch meeting (at no cost to me), checked with housekeeping to ensure the room was prepared, and sent up an entire and very tasty selection of sandwiches for all four of us plus beverages.
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