Mama Shelter Hotel, Kirchberg – Luxembourg

On my most recent stay in Luxembourg I stayed at the Mama Shelter in Kirchberg. Kirchberg is where all the banks, offices and the European parliament are located. In as much, it’s a prime location for all the business traffic to the city.

Mama Shelter is the Accor Group’s latest hotel franchise. And from what I can tell, their target demographic are the terminally hip and hopelessly trendy that normally stay at a CitizenM.

The décor of the hotel is gaudy and pretentious. Parts of it look as though they have been designed specifically to act as an ‘interesting’ backdrop for the selfie of yet another brainless influencer. There are so many different patterns and colours going on everywhere, it literally makes my brain hurt.

The lobby, love the mushrooms…

Dinner and breakfast are served in a large, cavernous space. Funky music plays over the loudspeakers, requiring you to yell at the staff for them to understand your order. Although I must say that the food at the restaurant is rather good and offers quite a wide selection of comfort food and healthy dishes.

The room is huge and has a fairly large bathroom. The shower is powerful and allowed me to take a shower without flooding the whole damn building. And the bed is very comfortable with a hard mattress.

But no matter how stylish the room may be, practical it is not. There is a desk to work on at the foot of the bed. But the only seat for it is this uncomfortable bench that is way too low for the desk and makes it inconvenient to work on.

All things considered, I think I would stay at the Mama Shelter again for a business trip to Luxembourg – partly because it still has the look and feel of a new hotel, whereas the Novotel and the Sofitel next door are starting to look old and dated. If you can look beyond the nauseating interior design, the room is comfortable, the food is very good and the staff are very friendly and helpful.

Luxembourg to Brussels by Car and the Belgian State Railways

On Friday afternoon I hitch a ride with the flying Dutchman from Luxembourg to Liège, which is about a ninety minute drive from Luxembourg in good traffic.

In Liège I head across the square to the main entrance of the railway station that was designed by Calatrava and clearly carries his signature style.

Travelling by train in Belgium takes a lot of patience – especially if you’re from a place like Switzerland, where the federal railways have a bit of a paranoia about punctuality. My first stop is at the ticket machine to try to purchase a ticket to Brussels. Only, the ticket machine won’t accept credit cards, I keep getting an error message. Cash seems to be working, but only if you’re paying only in coins… At some point I give up and join the queue with what looks like seemingly half of Belgium.

Eventually, with my ticket in hand I board what should have been the 15h01 train to Bruxelles Midi. Only, we’re running fourteen minutes late. Fourteen seems to be something of a magic number for the Belgian railways, because most trains appear to run late, and most of the time the delay is fourteen minutes.

In any case, the journey from Liège to Bruxelles Midi should take exactly one hour. Only, by the time we finally arrive we’re somehow managed to pick up a further delay and are running twenty minutes late – giving me a total journey time from door to door of 3h20. Still, if I’d taken the train all the way from Luxembourg, I would have first had to get from the Kirchberg plateau to the city centre, which is where the railways station is. And then from there, make the journey from Luxembourg to Brussels with the direct train, which is 3h15. Plus a very likely delay…

In Brussels I’m staying at the Pullman Hotel at Bruxelles Midi, which sits atop the station and has an entrance onto the main passenger concourse. The hotel looks as though it has only recently been refurbished and even still retains that nice smell of new furniture.

The room I’m in is very big and spacious and comes with an electric kettle and a Nespresso machine. The drinks in the fridge are complimentary, although I think that’s because of my Platinum status. The cosmetics in the bathroom are by Bigelow Apothecaries.

Breakfast is served on the first floor in Victor’s restaurant. The buffet is quite extensive and offers a very wide range of hot and cold dishes. On the downside though, when I come down at 09h30 for breakfast, the place looks like a bomb has just gone off. The staff seem to be doing a lot of running around, but without really getting anything done. Most tables are still full with the old dishes of the previous guests, and those tables that have been cleared away have not been set for the next guests. And the buffet is a barren wasteland…

Despite the breakfast, I like the Pullman Bruxelles Centre Midi. The design and finish of the room and of the public areas is elegant in a simple way and comfortable at the same time. The breakfast experience could be improved though…

MGallery Hotel Le Cour du Corbeau Strasbourg

Strasbourg is the capital of the Grand Est region of France and the official seat of the European parliament. It’s a very neat and pretty city that is easy to navigate on foot. The centrepiece of the city is, of course, the magnificent cathedral – a huge, imposing building with intricate masonry and a very tall bell tower.

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Personally though, I think my favourite it the main railway station. The original building is already very nice, with large windows with coloured glass looking onto the platforms. The entire building is now covered inside a huge glass structure that is quite unusual.

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In Strasbourg I am staying at the MGallery Hotel Cour du Corbeau, which belongs to the Accor Group of hotels and is ideally located just on the other side of the canal from the cathedral. The facility has been open since 2009 and is obviously very well maintained, because there are hardly any signs of wear and tear. The hotel consists of a number of old buildings and town houses that have been beautifully restored and parts of the original buildings have been integrated into the hotel’s structure.

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The rooms are nicely appointed and very clean. Next time I’m visiting Strasburg I’ll definitely be staying at this hotel again.

Here’s the link to the hotel.