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Prince de Galles Hotel – Paris
Last time in Paris, we stayed at a tiny little boutique hotel in the 4th Arrondissement called Hotel Jeanne d’Arc. It was great. Small, crazy inexpensive and right in a cute little non-touristy neighborhood, Le Marais. This year, I wanted to try something a bit more luxurious. Again, since I’m cheap, I didn’t want to pay for luxury. We decided to cash in 30,000 StarPoints for a single night at this Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel – the Prince de Galles Hotel.
This property reopened after a complete renovation in early 2013. The standard rooms were going for 590€/night. I cannot imagine any circumstances where I would pay that for a hotel room. I thought 30,000 points was a good trade off though.
Hotels in Paris, to me, are like hotels in New York and Las Vegas – I won’t be spending any time in the rooms, so I just need a safe, clean place with a nice hot shower. That being said, from time to time, I do like to lead a bit more of the luxe life.
As a Starwood Platinum member I get 10 Suite Night Upgrades a year. Since my luck throughout the year has been pretty poor on the upgrades themselves, I still had several unused. Surprisingly, my upgrade cleared and we were moved up to the Macassar Suite (3 levels above the room I booked). Five days before arrival I received the email confirming our upgrade had cleared – so I emailed the hotel informing them of our expected arrival time to which they responded that they couldn’t guarantee our room would be available, but would guarantee the availability of a shower upon our arrival, which is really all I need at that point.
Check-in was quick and efficient. The front desk team seemed to be very happy to be there – unlike so many people at US hotels who are doing YOU a favor just to check you in. We were escorted to our room and given the grand tour. The suite was beautiful. It was 73 square meters (786 square feet) and was located on the third floor. The front room had two seating areas flanking a decorative fireplace. The TV was behind a mirror above the fire place. I was surprised that the room had so many electrical outlets – even though it had just recently been redone, I was expecting to be on a hunt for outlets, not so.
Two double sliding doors lead to the large bedroom, which had a nice sized desk and another seating area. While this room also had plenty of outlets, most were controlled by a single light switch, which meant if you wanted to charge your devises the lights had to be on too. A bit frustrating, but we figured it out.
Speaking of the lights switches – look at how fun these are! If I didn’t think they’d drive me nuts (by running into them and ripping my skin open) at home, I’d install them throughout the entire house in Chicago.
The bathroom, was large and beautiful with a nice sized walk in shower, separate tub and a glass enclosed WC. I don’t know why hotel designers think putting a glass door on the WC is a good idea – if you are traveling alone who needs a door? If traveling with someone, I don’t care who, you need more privacy than that. Am I right? We saw this same issue at the Park Hyatt in Zurich. Maybe I’m just old fashioned that way – I don’t want to see anyone on the toilet.
The shower had amazing water pressure and temperature control – love a blazing hot shower after a long day and flight. I even took a bath the night we were there – filled the tub with water and bath salts and read my book.
Not all was perfect at the hotel though. Other than the glass doored WC and the switch controlled outlets (which only caused a problem because of my travel companion’s snoring issue – we often use a white noise app to help drown out the sound and we wanted to use the Bose iDock to amplify the sound, but couldn’t if we wanted to sleep with the lights off) the sink and tub drains were very slow. So slow in fact, I couldn’t even get the tub to drain at all – my heartfelt sorries to the housekeeping staff who had to drain the tub (who wants to stick their hand in cold bath water to drain the tub?? I had a hard time shaving as well since the sink wouldn’t properly drain. My gut is that this isn’t a pipe issue, but a sink / tub stopper issue.
After dinner in Paris, we stopped by the hotel bar and sat outside (under a tented courtyard area) and had a glass of champagne. It was very warm in Paris when we were there – about 13C during the day. It was lovely sitting outside around 23h00 enjoying some bubbles – the only complaint is this area is also the designated smoking area, so it had a stale cigarette smell. Lovely anyway.
We opted to take breakfast in the hotel (as part of my Platinum Welcome Gift). It was a standard continental breakfast with a basket of pastries, some juice and jams. It was perfectly fine as a complimentary gift. Although if I had paid 35€/person for this, I would have been livid. I don’t know how hotels can get away with charging these prices for something like that (actually, I do know, they do it because people pay for it). We could have gotten the same thing at a boulongerie or 5€ each.
About an hour after we checked-in, an additional Welcome Gift was provided. It was a lovely boxed chocolate with the imprint of the hotel on it. You should consider yourself lucky — I almost didn’t get this picture taken before I ate this whole thing in a matter of minutes.
I really enjoyed this hotel. It was by far the most expensive hotel I have ever stayed (going rate, not my rate). It was absolutely beautiful and the service was really top notch. I believe it was probably the second best hotel I have ever stayed in my life – the best being earlier this year in Seville Spain – the Alfonso XIII – another Starwood Luxury Collection Property (review coming soon, I promise). I would definitely stay at this property again and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a bit of old world luxury with all the modern amenities. It is located just a minute walk from the Champs-Élysées (usually a negative in my mind – I don’t want to stay in tourist central), but it’s far enough off the Champs-Élysées (on George V) that you don’t feel like you are being trampled by tourists.
Have you stayed at this property before? How was your elite status recognized? Did your upgrade clear? How are the standard rooms? What issues did you run into? Would you return?