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Antwerp: Hotel Carlton Golden Tulip

Quinten Matsijslei 25, Phone:

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Reviewed by: janie&geoff from Canada, review #1820

When: February 2007

Business hotel with restaurant and Internet access, close to the train station and 10 minutes walk from the centre of Antwerp. Shabby but clean and AFFORDABLE.

Let me start by saying that this is not a 4-star hotel, no matter what the website claims. Having said that, it is only €59 per night including breakfast, and for that price it’s pretty good value.

Antwerp is one of the more affordable cities in Northern Europe, the most expensive hotels in the town center are around 200 euros (we were paying more than that for a no-character chain hotel outside Amsterdam the day before). In Antwerp, the dividing line seems to be the Frankrijklei, a main street with trolley buses that divides the older, scenic part of town from the newer. Hotels to the west (inside) of the Frankrijklei cost more than their equivalents outside this “ring road”.

Location: The hotel is on a street facing the Stadspark, a triangular area of greenery that must be very pleasant in the summer. It is a 5-minute walk from the main train station and 5 minutes from De Keyserlei, which is their main shopping street. Amtwerp is pretty compact, so if you like walking, it really doesn’t matter that you need to walk 10-15 minutes to get to the older part of town to begin serious sightseeing. The main sights on this part of town are the train station (quite the architecture, now going through major renovations), the zoo and the diamond district. Interestingly, because of the number of Orthodox Jews in the diamond trade here, the hotel is only a street away from neighborhoods offering kosher foods. A quick walk down the block, and you can find an apoteek (pharmacy) and a corner grocer, where you can stock up on any missing supplies, bottled water and fruit. Dining: There is a restaurant on the ground floor that serves breakfast starting at 6:30 am. I thought the breakfast buffet was quite adequate (eggs, ham, sausage, cold cuts, breads & pastries, fruit compote, cereal, marinated salmon, pickled herring, cut tomatoes and cucumbers, selection of teas, jug of hot coffee at every table) but my European colleague informed me that this was “pretty sparse”. I did not have dinner there at all, just the breakfast.

Good things: It was quiet, the rooms are a good size, good amount of closet space. The furnishings and décor were a bit shabby and aged with fake bird’s eye maple veneer furniture in cheap Art Deco style, but the bathroom was immaculate and newly-tiled. They have wireless Internet for 10 euros per day plus enough BBC and CNN that you can get your news fix in English.

Bad things: it’s one of those zero character business hotels. The room is missing a hot water jug and an ironing board and iron. Then again, for 59 euros -- affordable and no complaints.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of

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