We've have had a terrible experience with the Phileas Fogg B&B in Brussels!
We had booked a room for 6 and 7/11/2009. Unfortunately, due to illness, we had to cancel our trip. We followed the cancellation instruction on the booking confirmation (also on their website http://www.phileasfogg.be/cancel.html) which states "Cancellations can be done FREE of charge if you cancel at the latest 2 days in advance. I.e. if you booked for day 9 of the month, then we should receive your cancellation (preferably by e-mail) at the latest at midnight of day 6. Otherwise the full amount will be charged on your credit card."
So we cancelled on 3/11/2009 at 7pm, both by phone and by email. According to the cancellation policy our cancellation was free of charge. The owner, Karin, was very friendly and understanding on the phone and confirmed there would be no costs involved. She also confirmed our cancellation by email at 8pm on 3/11/2009, stating again that the cancellation was free of charge. So far, so good.
HOWEVER, when our VISA statement arrived the next month we discovered to our surprise that she had charged us the full price of the 2 night of our cancelled stay (170 euro!)! We immediately contacted her and she said she would look into it and let us know something asap. However, a week later we hadn't heard anything. We contacted her again, by phone and by email, but on the phone she always came up with an excuse (i didn't have time, i was on holiday, i didn't get your email) and she NEVER replied to any of our emails! This went on for another month, after which we decided to file a complaint with VISA. So VISA sent her a letter asking for an explanation, and she immediately sent them back a letter stating that we should have cancelled on 2/11/2009. A bold lie, because both on the phone and in her email reply to our cancellation and on her own website and on the booking confirmation it shows very clearly that we did cancel in time!
VISA unfortunately said they couldn't intervene as this was a conflict between us and her :-(. We tried to contact her again, but she would hang up the phone if she heard it was us and still never replied to email :-(.
We sought legal advise, only to find out that filing a complaint with the police would in the end cost us more than the 170 euro she stole from us :-(. She probably knows this and hopes that we'll just give up :-(.
In short: DON'T GO THERE! THE OWNER MAY SEEM NICE, BUT SHE'S NOT TO BE TRUSTED!
Unique Quality: DON'T GO THERE! THE OWNER MAY SEEM NICE, BUT SHE'S NOT TO BE TRUSTED!
I booked 4 guests into the B&B. Karin is very friendly and helpful. We agreed on a 10 day stay for the 4 guests including dinners cooked there, received an invoice which was prepaid. On the very evening of arrival one of the guests turned around immediately and said that there was no way she could stay there. She was give a room in the cellar. The other two also complained that some of the rooms cannot be locked. Therefore no one felt safe either with their belongings or personally. Furthermore the place has secreveral dogs running around the house. Upon asking to have funds returned for services not rendered, I received a dirty email back from Karin, criticizing even how we run our business and making nasty remarks about the guests. The message was clear, she was not planning on paying even one cent back.
We are 2500 euros out of pocket - this is pure theft! We are now taking legal advice.
Unique Quality: Outstanding for its poor service, and rudeness of the host!
Beautiful website which does not correspond with reality at all. Cleaning is deficient (practically non-existant between guess!) and the accommodation cluttered. Repairs are badly needed due to humidity and wear over the years. Even common repairs are lacking such as light bulbs, only given one set of keys, no waste paper basket or garbage bin at all, television broken. The furniture is old and worn to the thread. The owner is very nice and accommodating but has no one to help her with the cleaning so she just does not clean between guests! The bedroom of a duplex is on basement level with no ventilation and all the noise from the street. The cost is 85 euros a night. I recommend spending a little more and getting something cleaner and more comfortable. This place will give you one the creeps!
Unique Quality: Has wifi and the owner is accessible.
Directions: Area metro Madou in an ethnic neighbourhood.
We stayed in the so callled blue room which was recommded by the Lonely Planet, but this time they got it all wrong. If Karin is such a traveller, she does not really understand what travelers want. On the first morning, we had to make our own breakfast in a very unclean kitchen where al the utensils were dirty, and the second morning she bought pancakes (from outside instead of making them) which we did not eat. We had no closet space of our own as it was filled with her own winter clothes. We did not have hot water on the second day. To cap it all, there were 2 big black dogs - this should be clear stated in their ads and website. We would not recommend this B&B.
Unique Quality: Huh?
This was a warm and friendly place to stay. While there, I met Karin & Nerjis, Paul, some lovely people from New Zealand, a Dutch fashion designer, and an uptight Canadian lady. They speak dutch, french, english, german, spanish, portuguese and italian. Karin is a great cook, and is very welcoming. The place is a good location, and within walking distance of the metro. The decor is modern and interesting, and I had a wonderful time visiting. If you like to meet interesting people and have a bit of ambience, this is a great place to stay.
Directions: It is located right in the heart of Brussels close to Place Madou.
When we arrived we were jet lagged and early for check in. Karin gave us a place to nap in her living room while our room was prepared. She was a few months pregnant and still had more energy than most hostesses I've met. Each morning she went out to the local bakery and brought back the most wonderful breads and pastries. She then laid out fresh fruits, fresh squeezed orange juice and other goodies for us. She would sit at the table with her cup of coffee and discuss the days events or make suggestions on places to go. The funniest thing was watching her interact with her two dogs, who she affectionately called "monsters". The only disadvantage was the room we had did not have a toilet, it was 2 floors down. We did have a full bathtub and sink in our room though.
Unique Quality: Huge rooms, great English speaking staff, walking distance to sights and metro.
Just returned from a B & B tour of The Netherlands and Belgium. What a website this place has! However, having just forked over money just to get out of this place, pictures can be deceiving. Despite the insinuation about each room having "baths", only a room in the basement has an across the hall toilet. All the other rooms share a sinkless toilet room down 3 flights of dark stairs. We were given no introduction to the property (i.e. - how things work, where bkfst is served, how to light the dark stairway). The Propreitor has a small child that began screaming at 7 AM (shortly after the dogs in the house started barking). The entire place was a mess and breakfast consisted of a reheated "Moroccan" pancake and coffee. There was no offer of seconds on the coffe or pancakes. I have stayed in finer youth hostels for a fifth of the price. The neighborhood is also a bit dodgey. For an extra USD 20 a night, we moved to a 5 star hotel next to the Grand Place.
Having thoroughly researched all the B & B's we stayed in based on other reviews I had read, I felt completely deceived about this hovel.
Directions: Dodgey neighborhood
I am no expert on Brussels, been there just for the usual EU business. But!!!! I discovered this unique and different Bed & Breakfast called Phileas Fogg.
Owned by Karin, a widely travelled person herself and a great lover of deserts makes everyone feel at home.
Book well in advance! the place is small and very popular!!!
Unique Quality: Beautifully decorated rooms, with Karin's unique touch, full of objects from her travels.
I think everyone interested in starting a B&B business should take hospitality lessons from Karin. She is the expert of making you feel at home!
Great communal breakfasts around a huge kitchen table!!
Directions: Place Madou, quite central I would say
Rue de l'Amigo 1 - 3, Brussels
5 rue du Peuplier, Brussels
40 Rue Veydt, Brussels
Carrefour de l'Europe 3, Brussels
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Address: Van Bemmelstraat 6, Brussels, 1210, Belgium