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Walwyck Hotel Nightmare in Bruges

We reserved a room on the Walwyck Hotel website and got a confirmation for that address but when we arrived there on May 5, 2016, a sign on the door stated that there had been a fire and they could not accommodate us. Our reservation was for that address, Leeuwstraat 8, but we could see that there was no roof on the hotel so we assumed that their computer had been destroyed and they were unable to notify us.

May 5, the Procession of the Holy Blood, in Bruges, had brought 40,000 visitors so we knew it would be hard to find a hotel with space. We crossed the large square filled with bleachers twice, our bags bumping up and down on the cobblestones, trying to find a travel information office but one was closed for the ceremony and the other was on the road where the procession was taking place. Finally, we went into a hotel and inquired about spaces. They told us that the hotel fire had taken place 15 months previously, some 13 months before we made our reservation.

They called the number and found that our reservation had been for the Walwyck Suites, at a different address than shown on our reservation. It was a downscale place with several problems in its infrastructure, a pallid breakfast and unsympathetic host.

On Trip Advisor, I found a report from a couple who were sleeping in the Walwyck Hotel the night it burned. Apparently there was no smoke alarm or fire alarm and when they awakened it was impossible to exit so they broke open a window and climbed out on the roof, suffering glass cuts and smoke inhalation. The hotel never gave them any recompense for their night of horror nor paid their hospital expenses.

On, I found a report of someone who made a reservation at the Walwyck but arrived there to no avail and never got an answer to their phone call.

The Rick Steves book about Bruges was published in 2013 but I bought it not long before our 2016 trip so I was mislead by the listing of the Walwyck. They tell me that they have already sent a new book about Bruges to the publisher and claim that it has been updated. Be wary. .

Posted by
985 posts

I am very sorry for your experience but I do question why anyone would reserve a hotel based upon a three year old review without personally checking out current reviews until after the fact? As you stated, you used the RS book published three years ago. A lot can change in three years and with just a few simple keystrokes you could have saved some time and effort had you done your research beforehand. It certainly sounds as if you were mislead with a hotel switch but even the first review on TA would have made one question whether the hotel was open and the need for a personal phone call to see if repairs had been made. I think you are going to have to chalk this one up to experience. Did you not notice the switch in names of reserved hotel when you booked?

Posted by
98 posts

Wow. I am sorry for your experience. While I echo the previous poster about using up-to-date information and checking Trip Advisor for reviews, it did happen and that must have been incredibly frustrating. I can't even imagine how I would react in a crowded city with my luggage in hand and no hotel! I'm glad it finally worked out and you had a place to stay, even if it was less than stellar. I hope the rest of your trip went smoothly!


Posted by
4535 posts

Yikes! This type of thing can really get a visit off to a bad start.

Out of curiosity, I checked the website and TripAdvisor. Their website says NOTHING about a fire and the main hotel being closed. One should expect that kind of notice on their website. And if Mary was given the main hotel address on her confirmation, you cannot blame her for showing up there.

On TripAdvisor, there is only the one review about the fire. I would certainly have inquired had I seen that and was interested in the hotel, but nothing else on TripAdvisor indicates they are closed down.

At least you found a kind hotel clerk that helped you sort it all out and find the Suites.

Posted by
16893 posts

FYI, Rick's book entitled Belgium, First Edition, was published in April, 2015, with most research done the previous fall. That may or may not be the book that Mary has. We also find it very strange that the hotel's web site prominently promotes the Leeuwstraat 8 street address if it's not in operation. I asked yesterday for book researchers to look further into the issue.

Posted by
2393 posts

The fire was in Feb 10, 2015, but this place is still taking bookings - please post your story on every review site you can find. This is so dishonest - a bait & switch.

This just reinforces my practice of checking reviews on 3 sites prior to booking.