At August Bank Holiday in 2005 we went on another extremely successful long weekend to Belgium. This time we were staying in a different region of Belgium and had the opportunity to experience the French rather than Dutch influenced region of Hainaut (previous trips have taken us the northern province of Flanders) and the Infotel Hotel in Mons.
~~~ Where is the Infotel?
The hotel can be found on the Rue d’ Havr near the centre of Mons. It is about ten to fifteen minutes walk from the railway station (we had taken a train from Brussels which was about 40 minutes away), but there are three free shuttle buses from the station that all called in at the Grand Place (the town’s main square). This is the option that I recommend. Not only is the service free (my favourite price!) but the hotel only a couple of minutes walk from the square ~ a bonus with luggage!
~~~What is it like?
Although right near the bustling town square the hotel is tucked off of the street and is actually nice and quiet. The entrance the hotel is down a small alley way off of Rue d’Havr and is modern and made of a mixture of light and dark brick. The main door leads to a reception area (again very modern and stylish) at the end of a short corridor with display cabinets of souvenirs (including Belgian Beers and glasses) for sale. The reception area is small but perfectly formed, with a couple of comfy chairs to wait in while checking in (I’ll return to that later).
The breakfast room is just off of the reception area and is a little on the lines of a modern chic caf. It is on the small side and wouldn’t be able to accommodate all the guests if they all came down to eat together! There are some rather cool accessories containing a good selection of continental breakfast items. I was particularly impressed by the cereal dispensers that had taps on them! There was a lot of chrome and black!
Breakfast itself was rather nice and consisted of toast, bread, cold meats, boiled eggs, cheeses, yoghurts, fruit and the like. To drink we had orange juice, bottled water, a choice of teas, hot chocolate and coffee. A great selection and a good chance to stock up for the day! Breakfast also went on from 7 to 10 am to allow people to come down in shifts!
Our bedroom was a double on the ground floor. It was obviously pretty newly decorated, spotlessly clean and was in the modern style that seems typical of the hotel as a whole. The room was a good size and had a built in wardrobe, a safety deposit box and a television with a choice of cable channels (we could even get BBC). The window, our room was looking on to the car park, was double glazed and had a good set of thick curtains and a blind for privacy (this also kept out the noise well).
The bathroom was also very clean and modern and a very reasonable size. It contained a shower that was easy to work, a toilet that flushed rather loudly (and made a pretty odd glugging noise) and a large wash basin. I was very impressed with the amount of shelving in the bathroom, but would have liked another shelf in the shower! I was also pleased to find a hairdryer in the bathroom ~ it was a good one with a nice long flex. The only problem was that you had to keep your finger on the ON button constantly while using it which did make your hand ache after a little while!
One member of our party had a wheelchair and she didn’t have too many problems ~ lifts were a good size and a ground floor room was requested in any case. Her only problem came in the breakfast room because of the size and the closely packed tables. She is able to walk with a stick for short distances so was able to combat this access problem ok. I don’t think the rooms were adapted for anyone with other disabilities.
~~~Check in and check out
Although check in was officially listed as 6pm (a little late I thought) we had no problems arriving at around 5pm. The staff were efficient and friendly and managed to smile and joke even when faced with a large group arriving at once (there were 29 of us in the group, but 22 of us arrived together). We just had to fill in a small registration form (address, date of birth, passport number) and were given our key. The only thing I think could have been improved on was that they didn’t tell us we had a safety deposit box in our room and we only found it behind the curtain later.
Check out was 11am on the morning of our departure. We left around 9.30 to catch a train and check out only involved the painless process of handing your room key to a nice smiling lady on the desk ~ nice when suffering from Belgian Beer induced hangover!
The Infotel is made up of a combination of double, twin, single, triple and executive rooms. There are also a number of studio apartments. We didn’t book our double room ourselves because our tour was booked as a package by a friend. Rooms are available on a Bed & Breakfast basis, but there are plenty of places to eat in Mons (including bars, pizza restaurants and even a McDonalds) The hotel website lists the room prices in Euros per night as follows (the second price is for cash payment):
Single room – 70.50 or 65
Double room 1 bed – 85 or 79
Twin bedded room 2 beds – 90 or 84
Triple room 3 beds – 112 or 104
Executive room 1 pers – 97 or 90
Executive room 2 pers – 110 or100
Executive room 3 pers – 129 or 119
Executive room 4 pers – 150 or 140
Rooms can be booked direct from the hotel (via email or phone) and I also found it listed on a number of websites via a search on good old Google!
I was very impressed by the good standard of service and cleanliness at the Infotel. It was comfortable, stylish and modern! The location was excellent and very convenient for all the main bars and the Grand Place. The shuttle bus from the station made the hotel easy to get to by train too. Mons is a lovely town with some beautiful buildings, great bars, friendly people and a rather nice chocolate and pastry shop on the same street as the hotel (result!) I think the Infotel is an ideal hotel for people wanting a base for exploring this region of Belgium.
I would certainly stay at this hotel again and have no hesitation in recommending it to other visitors to Mons.
Rue d’Havr, 32