Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Meininger Brussels Hostel Review

Second Brussels post!  Hopefully my first post about the sights and activities of Belgium's capital city (which you can see here) was slightly useful, or at least interesting.  For my second post I thought I would do a little review of the hostel we stayed in as well. 

Overview 
The Meininger is a huge complex (a total of 720 beds according to the girl on the desk), in a lofty converted brewery.  You can get all sorts of bed combinations in the rooms so you should be able to find something to suit what you need.  The two of us stayed in a six bed dorm, which had two single beds and two sets of bunk beds in a really big room with nice high ceilings.

Outside it looks pretty rustic but inside is really modern; big wide open spaces and Scandinavian style interior.  There is also great common areas - a lounge on the first floor, deckchairs outside but best of all is the bar with nice big sofas which we napped on before our rooms were ready at 3pm.  


The Good 

To match the modern feel of the hostel it is really clean.  It certainly didn't have the dingy feeling you sometimes expect from hostels, it's great!  House keeping comes every day and kept everything clean and tidy.  

The staff were amazing, so friendly and professional.  They dealt with everyone's problems and questions (in numerous languages) with a smile on their face.  They even gave me a quiet place to have a skype interview for a job when I discovered the wifi in my room wasn't good enough for consistent skype.  They played a big part in giving the hostel a really nice vibe, it felt alive!  But not alive in a party way, just alive with hustle and bustle but nice and chilled at the same time.  There was everyone from school trips to lads tours to older couples staying at Meininger and it had a really well rounded vibe.  

The location - it's just on the edge of town.  It's supposedly 1.2km to the Stock Exchange so that was about a 15 minute walk.  This was great because most things were in walking distance so saved us pennies, and it also meant if we were going out we didn't have to worry about navigating night public transport instead we could walk home.  When we ventured further afield the tram and metro stops were really close by as well.  

Inside the rooms I really liked how the toilet area was set up, everything was separate so you could shower without worrying about taking up the whole bathroom.  Plus the shower pressure was awesome and it was a nice big shower stall.  We could also get the free wifi in our room, although like I said it wasn't quite good enough for me to feel safe about having a job interview over skype.  

The Bad
Source - Tony Meyer
These are pretty petty, but you know #myblogmyrules so I'm going to tell you them anyway!  My biggest grumble day to day was the bed positions.  It was rather odd.  For some reason there was two single beds pushed together to make a double (odd when there was no couple staying with us) and two bunkbeds were set up so you were supposed to sleep head-to-head with strangers.  Kinda odd, we flipped it so we were toe-to-toe but then all the useful stuff like plugs and lights were at the wrong side.  

The lockers were also odd, your average padlock didn't fit so get a padlock with extra long legs since you'll need it.  Which is a bit of a pain, especially if you are going on a long trip and this is the only place that needs a fancy pants padlock.  It was the same for everyone in our room though and I think most of us just locked our valuables in our bags and that was it, but not ideal.  

I guess a certain down point for some people would be the price, because it is a little more expensive than your usual hostel.  But for me, it's worth it.  You get what you pay for and it is nicer!  

The Ugly?

No ultimate deal breakers for me, I would definitely stay at the Meininger again.  Only one ugly point for me and that is the heat.  

Because the Meininger is one of these fancy pants eco house you can't open any windows because it is supposed to regulate itself.  But you know what- it doesn't.  And blimey it was hot in the rooms, so hot I had to keep sprinkling water on my sheets to keep me cool during the night.  I would wake up because I was so hot so this seriously unimpressed me, especially when it wasn't even hot outside! 

Would I go back? Yes
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