HI - Brussels - Generation Europe Hostel is in a great location if you are a person who likes to explore and learn the real face of Brussels.
It is true that the location of this hostel is not ideal for tourists wanting to get to the sites in the least amount of time and effort -- it is more than fifteen minutes' walk from the hostel to the Grand Place, along a very simply, straight, big street. When you arrive at the Grand Place, go north-west to Boterstraat and head straight for two hundred meters, you will see a McDonald's restaurant. Keep walking via Rue Antoine Dansaertstr, and walk across a small bridge. Take the fourth left at a mobile phone store and the hostel will be about a hundred meters away.
On the walk to the hostel, you will find the shops and people changing from designer chocolates to grocery stores, flower shops, and once you cross the bridge, you will be surrounded by Moroccan/Middle-Eastern culture. The streets may be dirty and the kids may look suspicious, but people are very helpful, as one of them almost took us to the door of the hostel when we were a bit lost.
Once you arrive at the hostel, they will give you a very concise and helpful map highlighting the routes and sights.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The rooms are very warm and clean; all are locked from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for a nice lady to clean, but the staff are helpful, so you are still able to access if you really need to get something out. The room is quiet, as is the rest of the hostel. People are all polite, gentle, and modest. The downside is you can hardly have any fun if you are a solo backpacker.
Their bathrooms are amazing -- they are huge, clean, and very accessible for wheelchairs. Showers are hot too.
It is a relief to see a colorful, clean, well functioning, and quiet reception area; bars; and kitchen (with dining tables). The kitchen is small and basic, with fridge and microwave. You may find salt and oil but we think you are expected to have your own. Cooking is not popular at this hostel, so the size of the kitchen is no problem. The staff we met were warm, welcoming, and good at making funny jokes in good English. You can ask for whatever you need, such as some salt, some spare containers, or a good Belgian comic book at the reception table. There is Wi-Fi for a small fee; we did not see any TV in the common rooms.
This is a wonderful hostel -- cheaper than others yet more comfortable to live in. They have very helpful staff and the atmosphere is low but positive and warm. It's very, very safe with room cards to access front doors and rooms. We recommend it as a safe, comfortable, and cheap hostel in Brussels.