Citadines Sainte-Catherine Brussels

By Joan Sanders
This item appears on page 49 of the March 2016 issue.

Stephen O. Addison, Jr., described frustrations of using the Metro in Brussels, Belgium (March ’15, pg. 12). My husband and I totally agree with him, based on our experience in September 2014.
Signage was missing at key stations. When we arrived at the central station from the airport, there were no signs directing passengers to the correct level for the Metro. We wandered around and finally found someone to assist. When we did get to the kiosk, it was closed for the day (it was midday). Finally, we received help at the train ticket window, where we were given a Metro map and directions to the ticket machines.
During the week we were in Brussels, our best find was where we stayed: Citadines Sainte-Catherine Brussels (51 Quai au Bois à Brûler, 1060 Brussels, Belgium; phone +32 2 221 14 11,
Citadines is a new chain of hotels (they’re also in Paris and London) with rooms that include small kitchenettes. Each hotel also has a large laundry room to accommodate guests. For six nights, we paid approximately $134 per night.
The hotel was located at the Sainte-Catherine Metro stop, two stations away from the central station.
Near the hotel was a small grocery store, where we bought breakfast and lunch supplies. There were lots of restaurants nearby as well as an outstanding chocolate shop, Frederic Blondeel (Quai aux Briques 36; phone +32 2 502 21 31,, where cones were lined with chocolate before being filled with ice cream.
Breakfast was available at the Citadines, but, at €15 (near $16.40) each, it was beyond our budget. The lobby offered free coffee around the clock plus a beautifully functioning computer.
We gave up on purchasing a museum pass. First, we were told by the tourist office on the Grand Place that they didn’t sell the passes. Since the nearest office that sold them was four blocks away, we decided to ask about the passes at the first museum we entered, but they didn’t have them either.
Train travel was good for day trips to Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp. After 9 a.m., the senior (65 or older) fare for these day trips was only €6 each, round trip, with many schedules offered.
Elkin, NC