I booked this hotel via Eurostar on a special offer, based on the amazing location, then read the reviews on TripAdvisor and started to worry... however, I was very pleasantly surprised by the lovely hotel we found ourselves in. Yes, it's shabby and has obviously seen better days, but it was scrupulously clean, the staff were always helpful and courteous, the beds were very comfortable and the room sizes, compared with other Parisian hotels I have stayed in, was generous. There were a few quibbles, which I will come to later, but first the good points.
Location - amazing. You are literally a stone's throw from the Louvre, 5 minutes walk from the Tuilieries and Place Vendome, 10 mins from the Musee D'Orsay and Les Halles. Just a little further afield are the Pompidou Centre & Notre Dame. The area felt very safe at any time of day and was full of bars, cafes and restaurants.
Our Room - we were on the 6th floor in a room that straddled the corner of the Rue Saint-Honore and Rue de L'Echelle - I only saw 2 other rooms in the hotel so possibly there are better rooms that the one we had but I doubt it. On the top floor we had 3 little balconies, 2 in the room and one in the bathroom, all with traditional French doors that flooded the room, decorated with pale blue Toile de Jouy, with light. From the bathroom we could see over the rooftops to the big wheel in the Tuileries and the top of the Eiffel Tower, the others looked out over the Louvre and towards the Hotel De Ville. It was great to be able to stand on the balcony and look down on Paris.
The furniture in our room was typically French and quite old (although fully functional), which gave the room a lovely ambiance. There was a large wardrobe with lots of hangers and 2 lots of shelving (where the safe was), a desk and chair and a dressing table with another chair. We also had a useful closet built into the eaves. The room had 2 single beds together on wheels (which didn't lock, but as I was on holiday with my 8 year old this wasn't an enormous issue as we weren't doing anything to move them around!) and the mattresses were perfect - firm and supportive without being uncomfortably hard - wonderful after a day spent walking around Paris! The bedding was changed daily and was immaculate.
The room also had a cabinet-style fridge (empty) which worked well, on which stood a small flat-screen television that had quite a few channels but the only English-speaking ones were News and Business ones. However, we didn't come to Paris to watch television, so this was not an issue for us. No tea/coffee facilities so bring a travel kettle if this is important to you. There was no inbuilt air-conditioning in the room, but a portable machine that worked very efficiently (although very noisily). My sister was in a room on the 4th which had a standing fan instead that was both efficient and silent - probably the only feature of her room that I envied (although her room was smaller than ours and didn't have balconies it was larger than the average Parisian hotel room and nicely decorated, but again showing its age)!
The bathroom was also large due to the shape of our room and contained a bath with overhead shower, bidet, toilet and washbasin with a handy little dresser. There was also a hairdryer and the mirror was well-lit. Some toiletries were supplied but we didn't use them. Towels were changed daily. The shower had great water pressure which was a relief given that we were on the top floor.
Service - the safe in our room was locked and we couldn't use it - the concierge could not have been more helpful and immediately sorted it, waiting outside to make sure that it worked properly before going. He was very helpful again when asking for restaurant recommendations. All the counter staff were smiling, cheerful and efficient. My sister had a slightly different experience when asking if she could change rooms, but that was 1 person out of 5 people. The chambermaids were very hard working and kept the rooms and public areas beautifully clean.
The not so good:
Although scrupulously clean, the paintwork and decor had seen better days - in particular the paintwork on the French windows, which was badly chipped and rotting in places. The plaster on the ceiling of the bathroom was peeling. We didn't mind this too much and felt it added to the atmosphere, however the stair carpet leading into the main hallway was ripped in 2 places and a trip hazard.
Breakfast wasn't included and was 12€ for what appeared to be a very limited choice of cereal and breads when we looked in the breakfast room. We went to the cafe across the street and had lovely breakfasts for c.8€
The shower screen in the bathroom was totally inadequate and meant the floor was completely flooded every time we used the shower.
The advertised WiFi had a very weak signal and could only really be accessed in the reception area with any strength. However we found that this was true of the WiFi across the road in the cafe and in the nearby Starbucks so it's possible that the whole area just isn't very well served. Nevertheless it was frustrating.
The air conditioning unit worked well but was incredibly noisy. We found that if we turned it on before we went out to dinner then we came back to a cool room and could turn it off and get some sleep.
The hotel had a bar and an additional restaurant but they were both closed and appeared to have been for some time. We didn't use room service so can't comment on that.
On the whole we really enjoyed our stay here. I would not have stayed here at the prices advertised in the lobby (300€+ a night!!) but on the deal we got with Eurostar we had 4 nights for the price of 3 at a far better rate and I felt we got a bargain. We didn't come to Paris to sit in the hotel and watch telly, and the bits that needed refurbishment were not the sort of thing that, alone, would upset us. A perfect location, we would definitely return if we could get a similar deal again.
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- Also Known As:
- Normandy Hotel Paris