The Hotel de la Marine is well situated in the pretty coastal town of Arromanches-les-Bains. It’s set right on the front and offers a wonderful view of the English Channel and the Mulberry Harbour.
The interior downstairs in the bar, restaurant and reception is good. However, the bedrooms, while on the face of it look OK, are a little tired (at least in our two rooms - 122 and 239). Further, there is no central heating in the bedrooms, only a convector heater that needs a little deciphering to use; the heater was needed because the rooms were cold albeit served by a spare single blanket (for two single beds). None of us slept well because we were cold. There’s no tea/coffee facility and nor was there a safe in the room. As a previous reviewer wrote, the accommodation is very ‘IBIS’.
Free parking at the hotel is limited to (I recall) four tight spaces up a side road. Otherwise it’s a pay car park a few metres from the hotel that is free overnight so long as you depart before 9am.
We felt that the restaurant was very overpriced for very average food. And if you’re a child wanting something half decent to eat, forget it. The child’s menu is €11 and offered primarily steak hache and chips (think burger, but no bun) or compressed mechanically reclaimed meat chicken nuggets and chips. I think there was another option, but it escapes me. Fundamentally, for children the food was trash.
The menu for adults perceptibly revolves around seafood, but it’s not great value or cooked well. By way of example, on our second night, one of the party ordered a cod risotto with parmesan. My daughter, not wanting the nuggets also ordered a child’s version of the same. When those two meals arrived they were almost identical apart from the plates used, the adult portion being smaller than that of the child’s, the horrible creamy sauce on the child’s portion which didn’t feature on the adult’s, and the general lack of flavour. It certainly wasn’t worth €18. Indeed, when we mentioned the sauce on the child’s portion we were met with a response that left a nasty taste in the mouth – “It would have been better if you’d mentioned it before” which was followed by the huffy disappearance of the server (the owner). The hotel’s solution? The cod on my daughter’s plate was washed and re-served (tasting of water). True, it may have been better to have mentioned that we wanted ‘no sauce’ on the cod, but it was an unexpected addition not detailed on the menu and didn’t even feature on the adult’s meal when presented.
As an addendum here, it’s worth pointing out that we asked (the owner) at reception prior to dining for somewhere that served pasta (which we knew our children would eat). ‘We can do that’ said reception directing us to their restaurant. Not quite true as there was only one option - vegetarian fettucini.
If you like French bread and croissant for breakfast, you’ll be happy – it’s very good. Otherwise, it’s three choices of cereal, ham, cold boiled eggs, Brie (I think) and what appears to be yoghurt. It appears to be frowned upon to want both tea and coffee. Children though are offered hot chocolate and that was welcomed. The overall experience wasn’t helped by the fact that some of the staff, but not all, seemed slightly frosty. One in particular had little in the way of English skills. Ostensibly not an issue, but considering that the vicinity and hotel have a high proportion of English speaking visitors it did seem a little odd; it made ordering even the local cider almost impossible and anything else (like a children’s menu) not worth trying for.
Wifi is available at the hotel but is a total pain in the backside. It requires (1) a code from the hotel, (2) a logon process that (a) demands a home address and (b) a user name and password and then (3) you’ll need to watch a 20 second advert on your (say) laptop or iPhone to access the web – there’s no bypassing it. If it doesn’t load, you’ll not have access. Frankly it would have been easier to raise the Titanic than to logon to wifi. It’s not a huge issue for Europeans as data tariffs make costs manageable, but for those from the rest of the world wanting web access, they should think twice before relying on internet at the hotel.
In essence, for three days – two nights – we ate, drank and slept at the hotel, barring lunches, and left with a bill of €800 (for two adults and two children). We spent considerably more than (what appeared to be) the locals dining yet we were accorded so much of a poorer service.
So would we visit Arromanches again? Yes. At this hotel, probably not. Of course, make your own mind up, I’m clearly very biased.
Gripes aside, Arromanches is a great base from which to explore. Go and see the battery at Longues sur Mer, Omaha Beach and the American cemetery there, Pointe du Hoc where the US Rangers scaled the cliffs and if you get a chance, Pegasus Bridge near Caen. The sense of history is palpable – you can just reach out and grab it. There’s a deep sense of understanding and gratitude to what many men did in order that you and I can freely speak English. Bayeux is also within easy reach – the tapestry was a little disappointing, but that’s personal preference.
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- Also Known As:
- De La Marine Hotel
- Hotel De La Marine Arromanches-Les-Bains, France - Normandy