The coach pulled up at a bus stop, with no indication of where the hotel was.
Bewildered, I followed the guide across a couple of roads to the entrance to the hotel. Several coaches stood outside explaining the brief walk.
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As DFDS tends only to use major hotel chains for its mini cruise and stay packages, my hotel in Brussels was the Novotel Centre Tour Noire. Novotel is part of the Accor Group as are the Ibis and Mercure chains.
The front of the hotel overlooked a car park while the rear overlooked the sister hotel, Ibis Brussels Centre Ste Catherine. The entrance, located under the blue illuminated sign, lead into a large lobby area.
Check-in was brisk with four agents on the front desk. I had to complete a form and hand over my reservation ticket. In return, I collected a set of key cards for room 226.
The lift needs a valid keycard to work going upwards, but it didn't require anything for the descent.
My room was huge! A large bed was tucked in a corner leaving an enormous amount of space, ideal for plenty of luggage. A TV (which could receive BBC One, BBC World Service as well as countless French, German and Italian channels) sat next to a kettle with tea and coffee supplies.
A buffet breakfast with a choice of hot and cold items was inclusive in the package. I opted for bacon sandwiches although eating hollow chocolate snowmen (real Belgian chocolate that tasted excellent) as well as the Lotus biscuit Santas for breakfast was a real novelty. Lotus, headquartered in Belgium, are of course renowned for their caramelised biscuits traditionally served with coffee.
The location of the hotel was ideal, with the Christmas Markets at Place Saint Catherine located just behind the hotel - a two-minute walk around the corner. It was a five-minute walk to the Grand Place and another five to the Mannequin Pis. For the Christmas Markets, the hotel was ideally placed and perhaps the closest I could have been to the main attractions of Winter Wonderland.
I did not dine at the hotel's restaurant in the evening, despite the appetising menu. Instead, I headed out to the Christmas Markets and the wide range of hot food stalls.
I could not fault the Novotel Centre Tour Noire Brussels hotel. The room was spacious, the service impeccable, and the food delicious.
Read more in this series
- Getting to Port of Tyne International Passenger Terminal
- King Seaways Review
- King Seaways Cabins
- Food & Drink on King Seaways
- Entertainment on King Seaways
- Guide to Ijmuiden, Amsterdam
- Novotel Centre Tour Noire Brussels Review (you are here)
- Top Things To Do, See, And Eat In Brussels
- Brussels Christmas Markets and Light Show
- Brussels Christmas Markets Mini Cruise Review on DFDS' King Seaways