This hotel should not be confused with the Vivaldi Opera Hotel, which is near Opera Garnier. This hotel sits in Puteaux, a pleasant neighborhood just south of the big La Defense business park.
Even though this hotel was several miles northwest of the Eiffel Tower (requiring two crossing of the looping Seine River) we and another couple gambled on it due to its high Tripadvisor ratings. We concluded it should have an even higher rating. It’s a gem in many respects. The number one thing was the front desk staff; they are truly awesome. We found most French people quite pleasant (unlike the American stereotype). But the hotel must screen for desk employees who are over-the-top helpful and cheerful. We stayed for five days; we dealt with several staff, about many questions and needs. They went so far beyond the minimum, in such a sincere and happy way. They really took care of us.
The hotel is big enough to have an interesting mix of clientele, but it’s small enough to feel intimate. The reception desk is just a few, convenient steps inside the front door. The small lobby doubles as the breakfast dining room. And there is a very pleasant, small courtyard just a few steps past the front desk. We usually had a drink out there, before heading off to dinner. And we ate breakfast there, as well. (The chairs could have a little more comfortable padding) The entire first floor area is very compact, efficient and welcoming. And if you’re a non-smoker, the hotel seems very vigilant in that respect.
The guest rooms are gaily decorated but not terribly large. Our room was very clean and quiet. There was a small refrigerator, with reasonably-priced items. One astounding perk was that the hotel offers free long distance! We wondered if there was a catch. But we made several calls to the U.S., and it was all free. Overall, you just didn’t feel the hotel was trying to charge you for every little thing. Other than perhaps laundry service (which seemed pricey everywhere), the Vivaldi does a very nice job of keeping your bill down, while tossing in a few treats, like free peanuts when you order drinks. They’re not trying to be a ritzy, 5-star place; they’re shooting to really please a middle class audience. The reason they can keep their prices down is probably because of very high occupancy rates.
The only hassle was that another family had a loud conversation at the front desk, claiming they were being charged much more than their reservation price. In our case, we made a total of three reservations based on quite reasonable Internet prices. Our final bills exactly reflected those prices. But it never hurts to bring along your printed price confirmation.
Our biggest Vivaldi concern was transportation, but that proved only a minor issue. The hotel sits on a side street; taxis can pull right up to the door. Most transportation involves the metro (subway). A six block walk north, thru an apartment district, takes you to the Esplanade (eastern) end of La Defense. There you catch metro Line 1. Five stops (ten minutes) later, you’ll reach the Arc de Triumph (De Gaulle Etoile). This is the northwestern end of Champs Elysees; here you can board the red (and likely yellow), open-top tour buses. Or you can go six more stops, to the Louvre, plus two more stops to Chatelet, the metro hub. Or you can transfer at Etoile to Line 6 and quickly reach the Eiffel Tower.
The faster and plusher RER Line A also runs thru the La Defense, but you have to walk way up to the Grande Arche (western) end of the office park – not worth it. However, a small branch line of the national SNCF train system has a (poorly marked) Puteaux station six blocks uphill, to the west of the hotel. This is a great connection to within twelve blocks of the Versailles Palace, altho possibly requiring a simple transfer. (The Puteaux ticket office was closed Saturday morning, so we took a cab. But we caught a train back, along a scenic route, for a modest price. Versailles train connections are very confusing; allow planning time.) You can also catch one of the few Paris tram lines at Puteaux station.
There are many local (non-touristy) stores south and west of the hotel, including nice grocery stores. It’s a thriving, middle class neighborhood – altho pleasantly low key. There are several great dining options nearby. These restaurants serve local residents. They’re more authentic and low-priced than the tourist restaurants downtown. The places we tried gave us huge quantities of tasty food, with super service.