.........and I admit my heart sank a little as we checked in. We'd travelled by car to La Rochelle for a couple of days look-around of the area and just wanted a basic, reasonable-cost hotel for two nights. Hotels in La Rochelle itself tend to the pricey as it's a popular tourist destination and a natural stop-off point for places like the Isle de Re.
Basic and reasonable cost was what we got. There's a large car park at the rear of the hotel. Access to rooms is by corridors which are open to the outside (i.e. no doors - I imagine in winter the wind whips through the place a treat) but the room doors are solid and, as advertised, pretty much soundproofed. We had no worries about security.
The rooms are small and very basic indeed - not even a kettle. Space for using a pc at a desk is limited. The TV, a good quality Samsung flatscreen, shows only French free-to-air channels. Then again, we are in France! The bed has a foam mattress and is fairly firm and comfortable. Sound from the dual carriageway a 100m away can be done away with simply by shutting the window - again, excellent soundproofing. There's no aircon, but we had no problem during our September visit. Our room was spotlessly clean and the maid service did a great job the next morning.
The small ensuite bathroom is excellent. A really good shower and again, spotlessly clean. If you were wanting to impress your wife / girlfriend / partner / whatever with a romantic weekend away you wouldn't (or shouldn't!) choose this hotel; if you're just wanting a functional place to break a journey, it's good. Breakfast is good value at €7.50 for a help yourself bread-roll and croissant buffet - good value compared with the rip-off prices in cafes along the harbourside in La Rochelle, anyway!
I didn't use the (smallish) swimming pool but it looked clean - and cold.
Some stuff worth knowing:
I happen to think that tagging the hotel surroundings as an industrial estate gives an incorrectly critical impression. There's a mix of retail outlets, franchise car dealers, offices, yes, a builders' merchant, and other hotels. Nothing scary here.
Rooms at the hotel are on three floors with no lifts. If you have a problem with stairs, try for a ground floor room.
Rooms which are odd-numbered are at the front of the hotel away from the dual carriageway and so may be quieter (but the soundproofing really is as billed).
Conversely, even-numbered rooms are at the back overlooking the car park. If you're travelling by motorbike and feel more comfortable being able to keep an eye on it, go for an even room number. In fact, if you're a biker and can get any one of room 12, 10, 8, 6 or 4 on the ground floor you can park your bike right under the window. We really didn't feel that there was any particular security issue, though.
WiFi implementation is good and the service runs a good data speed. Logon doesn't require your email adddress although it's asked for. With Windows and Android the server recognises the device after first logon, and asks if you want to reconnect. With iPad (of course, Apple being a law unto itself as usual) you need to create a new logon each time.
There are several restaurants nearby and just down the road (a few minutes walk) a really good Chinese restaurant which does an all-you-can-eat buffet each evening. Have a two-minute drive round on arrival to find the other restaurants and determine the walking distance.
A bit worryingly, by the time we checked out of this place I was starting to feel quite fond of it........ :-)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Renovated in 2016/2017, the balladins La Rochelle / Aytré hotel offers modern and comfortable rooms, all equipped with flat screen television with satellite channels and can accommodate up to 4 people depending on the type of room. Ideal for a moment of relaxation, also enjoy the swimming pool and its terrace. For added convenience, a 24-hour key machine is available free of charge. A varied sweet and savory all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet is served everyday in our restaurant. For the most connected, free and unlimited Wi-Fi access throughout the property is available, as well as digital tablets on request at reception! Free parking is also at your disposal and you will be able to park without worries during your stay with us. ... more less
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