Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Hotel Bloom - Brussels

Rue Royale 250
1210 Brussels

Breakfast served until
10am Mon - Fri
11am Sat & Sun

The hotel was located just behind the botanical gardens.

The interior was quirky, spacious and modern.

Our room was excellent for €40 per night.

When we first visited the bar we were really impressed but this was short lived as we later discovered the very loud music goes on until 2am at weekends making it almost impossible to sleep in the rooms above.

 It seems like complaining about the noise payed off though as we were given a free breakfast for 2 voucher worth €30.

 The breakfast room was huge and when busy became difficult to get around.

 Each table had salt, pepper and a selection of sugar, sauces were available near the hot food.

You can play sudoku if you wish, I chose not to though as trying to work out where all the breakfast items were locating was taxing enough for me.

 After a long wait at the coffee machine I finally got a cappuccino.

Just a shame it only ever dispensed half a mug..

 It was far easier to get to the fruit juices.

 These were freshly squeezed and tasted great.

The joys of a buffet queue.. Some people were queuing which resulted in a cold breakfast whilst others (me included) simply got the items they wanted in a desperate bid to keep their food from going cold and tried to ignore the evil looks from other guests . There seemed to be no guidelines on the correct etiquette of serving yourself in a buffet queue but one thing is for sure, it was frustrating and not much fun.

Often items had run out so you had to quickly decide if it was worth waiting for more to arrive or just go without. 

 The tiny sausages came in 2 different varieties, pork which were very nice and chorizo which were ok but very rich.

 Cold meats and cheeses were also available and perfect to make some rolls with which could be eaten later in the day. 

On the first morning the scrambled egg had run out but there was plenty of delicious chicken breast and it seemed to make sense to make a cheese and ham salad sandwich too. 

 On the second morning I quickly grabbed what I could and managed to eat it whilst it was still warm, I had to wait a while for some bacon to appear though.

 The bacon though quite pale was far better than what I had tasted in other hotels abroad and the chicken nuggets were delicious if a little odd at breakfast time.

 I added ham and cheese to the plate simply because it was available and my stomach was convincing me it was a good plan. The scrambled egg was good but the beans were very solid and needed more juice.

It has become a regular thing now that in mid December my wife and I visit a new city, we have so far visited Berlin, New York, Paris and Madrid. This year we decided to visit Brussels as we had not been there before, it was easy to get to on the Eurostar and there was a big food festival happening in the city called Brusselicious (but we saw no evidence of it during our stay.) The hotel only cost us €80 for 2 nights which seemed like an amazing deal, when arrived at the hotel, it was very stylish, quirky and spacious with an excellent sized room. We had booked the room only option as the breakfast each day cost €25 per person which seemed a ridiculous price to pay. The breakfast room did look incredible though so we inquired at reception about what kind of breakfasts were available. We were told a vast selection including cooked breakfast were available at a special weekend rate of €15 per person. This seemed a much better price, especially as everything in this city seemed rather expensive anyway so we decided to try it...

The following morning having been kept awake by loud music till 2am from the hotel bar we headed into the breakfast room. The room was huge, I couldn't work out where everything was located and found it difficult to take photos convinced everyone was watching me. I decided to abort the inspection and just eat the breakfast that although not particularly hot still tasted pretty good and was incredibly filling. My wife prepared rolls up for lunch ready to smuggle out, at one point we were convinced we had been spotted but to our relief the slightly scary looking lady heading directly towards our table simply tidied the table behind us.

We decided the following morning we would have breakfast at a 50's style diner but looking it up on the map realised it was quite far out of the city centre so decided on an Irish pub that were offering a full Irish breakfast for around €12. Having spent 8 hours walking around Brussels and seeing some amazing sights we decided to head back to the hotel around 8pm. Around 9pm music from a private party on the floor below started booming out so loudly that fixtures in the bathroom started to shake. We jokingly said to each other maybe if we complain about the noise they will offer us a free breakfast. Around midnight my wife phoned reception to complain about the loud music and they did offer us a free breakfast the next morning. Finally at 2am the music stopped and knowing the layout from the previous morning I decided to have a second shot in the morning at inspecting the hotel breakfast..

Upon entering - Hand your breakfast voucher to the person at the entrance of the dining room (on the second morning there was nobody there so anyone could have just walked in) and find a table. The room is stylish and looks amazing with contemporary furnishings and illuminated wall panels.

When we arrived it was really busy with most tables occupied but we did manage to find a table to the side that was free. I sat there until my wife returned with a pastry on a plate that we could leave on the table showing it was occupied. We then went off in different directions to attempt to locate everything swiftly and return to the table to hopefully enjoy a hot breakfast. With so many people trying to achieve the same thing though we soon discovered this would be no easy task! I decided to start with the coffee thinking this would stay hot long enough for me to return for some food but there was a long queue at the coffee machine so I went for some fruit juice instead. Next it was time to get some food but this was not going to be happening just yet as the large plates had run out. Whilst waiting for more plates to arrive I headed back to the coffee machine where the queue had got longer but decided to wait anyway. The coffee dispensed from the machine was really nice but why it only fills half the mug is still a mystery? 

Finally more plates had arrived so we headed to the now really busy food section only to discover that half the items had run out. I was keen to get some bacon but couldn't decide if it was worth waiting for more to arrive or maybe I should attempt to make it back to the table. I waited about 30 seconds and headed back towards the table with my baconless breakfast doing the awkward waltz with Germans, Americans and Chinese people along the way. As soon as I sat down to eat what I had managed to salvage from the food counter the reality hit me, I needed some bacon! I quickly slurped some of the cappuccino and downed the fresh orange juice in one gulp, I was going back in to get some bacon. As I passed numerous people giving me a "you have plenty on your plate, do you really need more?" look I saw more bacon arrive at the counter. 

My wife at this time was having a similar frustration with the scrambled egg that had run out. We eventually made it back to the table to eat our food but on this huge tour of the breakfast room I hadn't once spotted butter anywhere and wasn't prepared to go searching for it. My wife informed me it was in the fridge area which made sense but having it so far from the toaster didn't. Finally more scrambled eggs appeared so my wife headed back to get some, by this point most of the people had finished their breakfast and the room was much easier to navigate. I imagine at less busy times choosing your breakfast is a fairly easy process but when busy it was a bit of a nightmare! 3/10

Service - You serve yourself so I can only base this section on the staff replenishing the food that has run out. They were doing there best but people were still waiting quite a long time for things to reappear. 4/10

Contents - There was a vast selection of things available to eat and drink including, different teas and coffees, breads, cold meats, cheeses, salad, pastries, waffles, cereals, fresh fruit, yogurts and pancakes. The cooked breakfast items consisted of, pork sausages, chorizo sausages, bacon, chicken breast, chicken nuggets, scrambled eggs, baked beans. Some of the items on offer may appear a bit strange but they were clearly trying to offer something for everyone. 7/10

Presentation - You serve everything yourself so it is down to you how everything looks on the plate. The items are presented nicely on the counter and everything appeared nicely cooked except the beans that were looking a bit dry. 7/10

The food - The pork sausages were really nice but the chorizo ones were a bit too rich at breakfast time, the bacon was the best I have eaten abroad so far. The scrambled eggs had a great taste and nice consistency. The chicken breast chunks were delicious and seasoned really well and the chicken nuggets were really good too. The beans were very solid and dark in colour with not enough bean juice to accompany them. The ham and cheeses on offer seemed to be good quality and tasted nice. The pastries, bread selection and drinks on offer were all really good. 8/10

Value for money - Based on the standard rate of €25 per person it seemed very expensive, for this price you would expect to be served a piping hot breakfast without any of the frustration that can be found in a crowded self service breakfast buffet. We paid €15 each on the first morning as it was a special weekend rate and had to tolerate 5 hours of banging dance music in order to receive the next breakfast free. You can eat as much as you like for the money but it may not be the relaxing breakfast experience you were hoping for. 4/10

Veggie option - Not any veggie alternatives to the cooked meat items but still plenty of other things on offer.

Overall - The hotel itself looks stunning with large and well designed rooms and really nice communal spaces. It is not a good place to try to sleep in at weekends though as the music on Friday and Saturday nights can be heard throughout the hotel until 2am so if you are looking forward to a good nights sleep you will be disappointed. The breakfast experience was not particularly enjoyable as so many people are trying to get their breakfast at the same time causing delays, queues and frustration as items run out. I imagine if you manage to have breakfast when it is less busy then it would all seem a much more pleasant experience. The food is good but sitting down to eat it whilst it is still hot with a hot drink and some hot toast is probably something that is impossible to achieve. 5.5/10

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a lovely hotel, it looks very clean and the ambiance is great too. Plus the foods they are very sumptuous.