We walked to the Grand Place and found (possibly the only) brewpub in Brussels, Les Brasseurs, right off the square with a great view so we went there for lunch. The beer was pretty good. I had the Tripel and Gay had the Dark. The Dark was very nice and sweet. But they were also very expensive at €7.50 and €9 each. That’s $10.63 and and $12.76 for a 16 oz (500ml) beer! Even in London, where beers are served in Imperial pints (20 fl oz), I don’t recall paying nearly that much. That’s what you pay for drinking beer overlooking the biggest tourist spot in Belgium. The food wasn’t all that great either. I’ll never complain about $4.50 beers in the US again.
After lunch, we went to a couple hotels we found online to see if they had a room that would work for us with 2 kids. We usually try to get suites that have a room separate from the beds so we can put the kids to bed early and we can stay up later. That’s hard to find here, but we ended up getting two adjoining rooms instead, which we now realize is even better. Two rooms always seemed excessive with just one kid, but with two, two rooms seems to work well. Plus, you get two of everything: two showers, two bathrooms, two breakfasts, two TVs, etc. They also gave us the second room for half-off. We have the impression that tourism isn’t so great these days and both hotels we visited were very willing to negotiate prices — there’s an upside to a global recession (thanks AIG and Bear Sterns)!
The hotel is more expensive than the apartment but the location is much better, just a few blocks from the Grand Place, a park and all the recommended restaurants. Unless you’re in love with money, we think it’s always better to trade a little more money for a better quality experience.