You could book the best hotel in Paris and it still won’t be perfect if you don’t have the one key ingredient – a desk clerk or concierge who’s watching out for you. If you’re in Paris on business, the most important thing you can do when you arrive at your Paris hotel is establishing a good rapport with the hotel desk clerk. For this reason, you may want to consider staying at a smaller ’boutique’ hotel or a 3-star hotel with a smaller front desk staff.
Because I live in Paris, I can’t give you firsthand reports on the quality and comfort of a hotel room, (except through friends’ comments or criticisms) but I can definitely tell you that a front desk clerk can be crucial in getting messages back and forth from whomever you intend to meet in Paris. Also, a good desk clerk will be discreet!
Recently, I met with fellow blogger, Roger, from the famous Amsterdamlogue. The hotel reception at the Hotel Harvey (located within walking distance of the Champs Elysees) transmitted phone messages with no problem. Rather than let guest room telephone ring and ring, the staff knew when a guest was in or out of the hotel, then would patiently take down a phone message.
A good hotel desk clerk or concierge will help you in untold ways to better enjoy your stay in Paris, starting with your room. You should immediately take a quick look at your room before unpacking your bags and make sure that the room meets your expectations (particularly regarding noise levels if your windows face the street). Bring any complaints or issues immediately to the desk clerk’s attention rather than waiting until you’ve settled in.
Try to become acquainted with your desk clerk when he/she isn’t busy with other customers. If you plan on meeting friends more often in the evening, you’ll want to make sure to establish a good rapport with the night desk clerk. I’ve found that even if a hotel may not be top drawer quailty, a good staff can make a huge difference in your experience.
What should you expect to pay on average for a 3-star hotel in Paris? This can depend on location, day of the week, and whether a big convention is going on during your stay. However the current prices I’ve noted (at the time of this writing Oct 08) range from 110 Euros to 145 Euros (148 U.S. Dollars to 198 U.S. Dollars)
The prices listed on the board at the front desk may not be the best price available. if you’re a walk-in, there’s always the risk that you’ll be paying the highest possible price, however, hotel rates in Paris generally drop on the weekends. Be sure to ask about these rates. If there are conventions or shows in town such as the auto show in October, you may have trouble getting good rates which is why you should definitely book a room in advance during the Fall months in particular.
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Normally you can’t recover deposits if you decide to switch hotels, but if you find a hotel staff to be despicable or the accommodations to be well below average, it’s sometimes better to give up your deposit and choose a hotel more to your liking. Once you’re in Paris, there are plenty of opportunities to book a hotel on location – and once again, the important thing is to size up the front desk reception to decide if this is a hotel where you’ll be happy and you’ll be able to meet with business associates if that’s your need.
A 3-Star hotel usually has an adequately furnished reception area to meet with clients (and possibly with access to Wifi – you may need to ask for an access code for the Wifi).
Although the smaller 3-star hotels do not normally have a bar, they do have breakfast areas strictly for hotel guests. Occasionally, a small bar is available, primarily for guests, or with a larger following such as the Lenox, on Rue Delambre in Montparnasse.
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced hotel in a safe neighborhood, I would continue to recommend the Montparnasse district. You have easy access to practically every part of Paris and you’ll pay much less than you would for the same quality of hotel on the Right Bank (but I’m biased, this being my neighborhood).
If you have your heart set on being within walking distance of the Champs Elysees, choosing a hotel like the Hotel Harvey will provide you with a three-star quality level on a more personal basis than some of the larger chain hotels. It would be hard to beat this reasonably-priced choice in a normally expensive neighborhood. I found the lobby and reception similar to those 3-star hotels that I would recommend in the Montparnasse district such as the Hotel Arcadie on 71, Avenue du Maine.
When it comes to finding your perfect hotel in Paris, you’ll remember the person behind the desk. I guarantee it.
Hotel Arcadie, 3-star
71 Avenue du Maine
75014 – Metro: Gaite
Tel 01 43 20 91 11
Fax 01 42 79 87 15
Hotel Villa Modigliani 3- star
13 Rue Delambre – 75014 Paris
Tél 01 70 619 001
Metro: Vavin or Edgar Quinet
Arc de Triomphe/Porte Maillot district
7 bis Rue Debarcadere
Tel 01 55 37 20 00
Metro: Porte Maillot
Tip: If you are arriving at this hotel by Metro, be sure to have a detailed map of the neighborhood. The Porte Maillet district is circular (just like the Arc de Triomphe, you will want to be sure to take the Metro exit that will bring you as close as possible to Rue Debarcadere. (Inside the Metro, you will find detailed maps of the neighborhood and which exits bring you closest to the street you need to find).