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Paris Hotel Tips: The Elusive Room with a View

When we first started coming to Paris (after a few pricey splurges) we always would return to a hotel at Porte D’Orleans because repeat visits are the key to special treatment (a no-brainer) and probably a universal maxim. But what do you do when you’re making a once in a lifetime trip to Paris – and your room at a dream hotel is, shall we say, less than a dream?

I used to think that the mediocre rooms in glamorous hotels were reserved for Americans who were so happy to be in Paris that they wouldn’t notice the Paris Metro quaking beneath their mattress – or the throbbing techno of the nightclub located a stone’s throw from their window.

So you can imagine how delighted I was to see that this is not the case – even Le Figaro reporters get caught in the room shuffle when they go ‘en vacances’. See Francois Simon’s story Croque Notes; “Le coup de boule du ‘no show” (15-16 july Le Figaro). He rants about the practice of a particular auberge in the Basque region (I’m not naming hotel names here! you’ll have to read the story). He complains when his credit card is debited immediately for the deposit on the room (normally when you send a check to small hotels or B&Bs , they keep the check until your arrival, then rip it up when you pay the full amount. He receives a long list of rules and regulations about arrival and departure times – and then asks well what about rules about how much peace and quiet a lodger should expect from his hotel lodging? He was lucky enough to have his room changed. So here are some suggestions for you when you discover that your room is less than spectacular.

Rule No 1: Always look at your room as soon as you arrive, even before you lug up your luggage (yes, our recent stay at a hotel de ‘charme’ had no porter but luckily an elevator).

Rule No 2: If the room doesn’t meet with your needs or desires, voice your disappointment sooner rather than later – in a nice way. The key is gaining the receptionist’s sympathy. Do not expect him or her to move mountains. Be patient. And follow the receptionist’s advice. Ours suggested to request a room change the following morning which we did. We were not only changed to a new room but an upgrade at no extra charge.

Rule of thumb: Rooms facing the courtyards are ‘normally’ more quiet and desirable in city hotels. A room with a view may be more noisy but worth it if you have a great cathedral or river view.

Your hotel room can be an important part of any trip because it sets the tone for your whole day. Wake up in a dismal room with no pictures on the wall and a view of a brick wall – and you wake up angry.

A good hotel staff will do its best to accommodate if you persist in a gentle way.