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.
Ask for a sea view
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
May 28, 2013
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We thank you to have taken the time to share your experience about our property. First of all, we’d like to point out that our ultimate goal is your entire satisfaction. It seems that we failed and we are sorry about this.
Regarding the comfort in our property: the rooms have been renovated in 2010. We are sorry that it is not your taste but it is what we like our property to look like. That is maybe the main difference with an Ibis which is standard for all of them. Maybe, you prefer chain hotels but that is absolutely not what we are.
Regarding the heat, there are 2 heaters in each room, plus 1 heater in each bathroom. Would you like a photo of it? The temperature can be set until 30°c and you wrote us that you didn’t manage to make it work but it is in English ON-OFF with a ‘sun’ sign for the day and a ‘moon’ sign for the night and at any time you didn’t require our help. For the extra blanket, 2 are in the cupboard and again you didn’t require any help. For tea or coffee facilities, you can call the room service from 7.30am to 11pm to order drinks-you didn’t use it.
Regarding the restaurant: The main problem we had is that you wanted to have the dishes ‘à la carte’ in the children’s menu, with the price of the children’s menu of course… Regarding your order of the 2nd night; I can speak personally as I gave you information. You arrived at 7pm at the bar, ordered drinks for you and your friend and enquired about a good Italian restaurant because your children wanted to eat Pasta. I gave you an address in Bayeux (located at 10km so around 10mns drive) as in Arromanches, there is no Italian restaurant. You answered that you were too tired and preferred to have a drink at the bar… It was your choice. We cannot be held responsible of your preference: drink or pasta for your child. And so, you asked me if we could prepare pasta; my answer was: yes, fettuccini with vegetables… Regarding the fish for your daughter, I, personally, stayed 20mns with you for your order and took the time to explain you all the dishes and the way there were cooked. It is true that I was surprised with your remark when I came with the dishes as I spent so much time to explain you to make sure that you were satisfied. You knew that it would be served with cream and you didn’t tell me that your daughter didn’t want cream, “strange, no?”.
Regarding the English level of one of our waiter (just one in all the staff speaks a poor English but he is French and works in France. He just asked you if you wanted a dessert and you answered “no”. When did you require his help? We have also a question for you: did you try to speak French or any other language? Because I was at the desk during your stay and even “good morning”, it seemed you did not understand…
Regarding the WiFi, in each countries there are laws. And in France, at any time, we are supposed to have the identity of the persons connected via our network…May be other hotels in France don’t respect the laws but here we do. It takes exactly not more than 1 minute to fill the form, enter the log-in and password for people who use often Iphone o other device. And for our guests who don’t use often these systems, we always help them.
Regarding your bill, you paid 116€ night and room for bed and breakfast and the rest for your drinks and food. We cannot be held responsible for the 400€ you spent for your consumptions a s the children menu is at 11€.
Again, our ultimate goal is your satisfaction and we are really sorry and especially, myself, to have failed. We really hope to have the pleasure to welcome you again.
Madame Durand Lenaïc.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.