Fall in Love With Brussels and Its Savings

Posted July 26, 2010 by Kate Hamman

BrusselsWith a knack for indulging in the sweet side of life, Brussels makes for a romantic getaway any time of year—and it doesn't have to cost a fortune to woo your honey. Come satisfy your sweetheart's chocolate craving at a designer candy shop before heading out to a traditional dinner of mussels and frites at a local eatery. Then at the end of the night, you can return to an affordable and cozy hotel that will take you both on a journey around the world.

Wittamer: When chocolate and style collide, you get Wittamer's delicious, designer sweets. The sleek-cubed confections make the perfect treat for that special someone. With two shops downtown, you can either sample the homemade chocolates and pralines, or enjoy a decadent pastry with your sweetheart while sipping tea in their cafe.

Chez Léon: Serving an array of homemade mussel dishes for more than 100 years, Chez Léon is the place to go in Brussels for your mollusk fix. The restaurant, however, serves more than just seafood, and you can find a variety of traditional Belgian dishes, including Belgian waffles.

Brussels Welcome Hotel: With a name like Welcome Hotel, it's not surprising that this small inn makes you feel at ease. Owners Sophie and Michel go to great lengths to familiarize you with the city, offering insider tips and suggestions. However, you can also travel around the world if you prefer to stay indoors. Each of the 16 rooms is decorated to emulate a different country, with representative items adorning the walls. The hotel is ideally located in the middle of St. Catherine square, with a subway stop literally across the street. Rooms start at €100 (about $129 U.S.; check for current exchange rates), and include breakfast.

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(Photo: PhotoDisc)

OpenSkies to Mix Business (Class) With Pleasure

Posted June 18, 2008 by Zak Patten

OpenskiesbizWhat's in a name? In the case of OpenSkies—the new mostly-business-class subsidiary of British Airways—a whole lot. When first announced, the airline's name was inspired by the new deregulating treaty that allows airlines to operate on any routes they choose between the U.S. and E.U. Today, OpenSkies might also be taken as a comment on the lack of competition in the air, particularly since the demise of all-business-class carriers Eos, Maxjet, and Silverjet.

Sure, OpenSkies only has one airplane, a 757 that holds 82 passengers, but the Little Airline That Could has big plans for that one plane. We're talking three classes of service, with the top of the line being Biz, which boasts "truly lie-flat seats." Don't want to sleep that well? No worries. OpenSkies has Prem+, which must denote its premium-economy class, because I doubt it’s a typo (unless OpenSkies is planning on professionally curling its passengers' hair en route). Last but not least (well, actually it is the least, but OpenSkies swears it's not too bad at all), is the economy cabin. There are only 30 seats (genuine leather ones) there, so you should get plenty of attention, assuming there's also a designated flight attendant (kidding!). And everyone, regardless of class, will have access to the 50-plus hours of audio and video programming on their personal entertainment systems, so that's a step up from my favorite in-flight game: staring at the back of the seat in front of me.

So where exactly will OpenSkies fly? Let's just say it doesn't have a massive worldwide route network. In fact, there are just two cities involved, but they're pretty decent ones: Paris and New York. The plan is to scale up by adding new destinations as business results allow for it. Currently on the list of potentials are Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, and Milan.

In these days of cutbacks and fee increases, any airline looking hopefully toward the future should cheer us all up. No matter what it's called.


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