My European winter vacation ended in January, but not before a final stop in Brussels, Belgium. Seriously, pairing beer with waffles is a
good great idea! My sister and I had been in Prague, and we decided to travel to Brussels using both plane and train. We flew KLM from Prague to Amsterdam, then hopped on a train from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the Brussels Midi (Central) Station. Our flight home to the United States was the next morning, so we decided to stay just across the street from the Brussels train station. There are a few options in the area, but I selected the Park Inn by Radisson Brussels Midi. The hotel is located right across the street (truly!) from the train station, but that didn’t stop me from circling the block looking for the entrance. It was late, and I was tired, OK?
While the hotel’s located is ideal for people like us who had only 12 hours in the city, it’s not the best spot for tourists who plan to spend a few days (or more) doing touristy things. If you plan to spend time in Brussels, I recommend selecting a hotel that is closer to the city’s main attractions, like the European Parliament, Grote Markt or Manneken Pis. During my previous visit to Brussels (in August), I split my time between the Radisson Blu EU Hotel and the Brussels Marriott Grand Place. For the purposes of this trip, though, the Park Inn at Midi station was fantastic.
In this blog post, I’ll share my thoughts on the hotel, my room and the cost of staying there. Since I am a wheelchair user, I’ll also include a review of the room’s wheelchair accessibility.
Reservation and Check-in
I made my reservation a few weeks in advance using a Cash & Points rate through Club Carlson Rewards and the hotel website. I paid about €65,00, plus 10,000 points. The Club Carlson program has a points system that is somewhat inflated, so 10,000 points is not that many relative to other rewards programs. As a standard member, you earn 20 points per U.S. Dollar spent on hotel room rates. In looking at room rates throughout the year at this property, they range from €100 to €200 per night.
I had reserved a standard room with two twin-size beds and a roll-in shower. Check-in was a breeze, and we were in our room within 5 minutes. The room was just as described and met all of my accessibility needs.
Hotel Room: 2 Twin Beds & Roll-in Shower
Pictured above are the two twin beds, set side-by-side. You’ll notice that there is no space between them, which is standard of many budget hotels in Europe. There was space for a wheelchair on the left side, so I slept in the twin bed on the left, and my sister took the twin bed on the right. The in-room telephone was on the nightstand on my side of the bed, which was convenient.
Also appearing in this photo are a red chair, floor lamp, and lightweight/movable coffee table. None of these objects impeded the movement of my wheelchair through the room.
A desk and flat screen television were located along the wall opposite the beds. Within reach were power above the desk, and I used these to plug in my power wheelchair. The off-board charger I use has cables that were able to stretch across the room, to my wheelchair parked next to the bed. If you are traveling abroad with a power wheelchair, remember to consider the higher power voltages used in other countries.
In a cubby beneath the desk, easily accessible from my wheelchair, was a safe with an electronic keypad and locking mechanism. In-room safes are a great place to store valuables, including laptops, cameras, medications, credit cards/wallets and passports.
The bathroom is large, with many accessible features, including a sink (pictured above) that has enough clear space underneath to accommodate a wheelchair. I didn’t have to fear bumping my knees on the countertop or against awkwardly placed pipes, as can often be the case.
The toilet is the least accessible of the bathroom’s accessible features. The grab bars are great – one along the wall, and a grab bar to the right of the toilet that can fold up or down.Unfortunately, the toilet is too close to the sink, and there is no space for a wheelchair directly alongside it. This means that you’ll have to park your wheelchair in front of the toilet and transfer sideways – certainly not ideal. I see this all too often in hotel rooms, and it’s definitely frustrating.
The roll-in shower is well designed. A shower seat and two grab bars fold down from the wall. The water controls and handheld shower nozzle are within easy reach of the seat. The floor is angled towards the drain, which collected the water well. Towels were hung on the wall at a relatively low height. Although the bathroom didn’t have the trimmings of a luxury hotel, it performed its purpose and was extremely accessible with the exception of the toilet.
The next time I visit Brussels, I will likely stay at a hotel inside one of the primary tourist areas of the city. That said, I will definitely consider returning to this property on my last night, as it provides easy access to the Gare du Midi train station. Being able to walk across the street to catch the train to the airport was a great convenience, and it meant we could catch a bit of extra sleep. Our proximity to the train station meant we didn’t have to pay for a taxi cab, or worry about using other public transportation options in the city.
The hotel was clean, the staff were friendly, and the room met my accessibility needs. Plus, it was relatively inexpensive compared to the other options. For me, that adds up to a great stay.