Parisienne hospitality at its worst
ERIC SCOTT 30 October 2014
SOME Paris hotel keepers seem to think that guests are there to sleep and pay the bill and rudeness and lack of service a way of life. We stayed at a couple of hotels inwards and outwards on our last European odyssey and would recommend everyone to steer clear of both.
We were flying into Orly Airport from Alicante in Spain and so I took a punt on one of those “four star, top class unnamed hotels” that gave a “special” price. I have done it before and had good results. This time though the hotel was Best Western Plus Paris Orly Airport and at $500 for three nights sans breakfast I expected better service.
The in-room coffee has to be the worst anywhere in the world. There was no milk, not even a working fridge to put some in and the sachet of powdered milk just congealed on the top. It looked bad, and tasted even worse. It was completely undrinkable.
The main reason for the choice was a free airport shuttle and not too difficult access to central Paris with a tramline to the metro just around the corner, although across several busy roads.
First the shuttle took ages to do the “five minute” drive from airport to hotel; we were last on the list. It took so long that we decided on taking a €30 taxi ride to Charles de Gaulle airport on the way out of Paris.
When we arrived, the welcome was not very accommodating to say the least. The bags were dumped outside and we were left to carry them into the lobby and then we given a room number and with no porters, had to lug our own luggage to the room. The room itself was large, and well furnished, but without dressing gown or slippers and just bare essentials in the bathroom – threadbare towels and no face flannels. Then we discovered instead of a king or queen bed we were stuck with a pair of doubles.
The advertising ran the slogan “we speak your language”. But obviously not English very well. It took ages to book the taxi and the young man who we asked for a wake-up call woke us an hour early!
There was no hot water! On the phone the receptionist patiently explained how the taps worked! Patiently back I told her we knew how hot water taps worked and that problem was in heating the water. Up she came, played with the taps and the said there must be a problem somewhere else! It took a while, but eventually my wife got her bath.
The only good thing was the restaurant where the atmosphere was pleasant, the food good and the service by a very cheerful and friendly waitress was excellent.
After our rude awakening we decided to skip the €17 breakfast and eat at the airport.
It was not a happy experience in an alleged four-star hotel.
But the overnight stay on the way home was a real nightmare.
The Séjours & Affaires Roissy Village was only a two-star place, But it had a free shuttle bus and it was only for one night, so a clean bed was all that was needed. It was described as an apartment hotel, and it was: several blocks of units spread around an overgrown garden.
It was pouring with rain when we arrived at the airport and the pickup spot entailed a long walk through the rain to find the shuttle. We saw one there, couldn’t remember the name of the hotel, and were met with a Gallic shrug. As it happened it was the wrong bus anyway.
We eventually found the right bus driven by a non-English speaking driver, who loaded the luggage and set off a roundabout route to the hotel. When we arrived he pulled the bags out and dumped them in the rain while he ran inside to do whatever he wanted to do, allowing the door to slam in our faces.
No one helped to bring the bags inside.
Then wet and feeling annoyed, we were told by the manager in unintelligible English (again “we speak your language” was a quote in the advertising) to take our bags outside and walk around the perimeter to find our room. He didn’t offer any help. So fifteen minutes later, soaked to the skin and lugging two 23 kilogram bags and hand luggage through the rain we found our room: at the top of a flight of stairs. Later we found that the block was directly opposite the reception area, but the paths between had no lighting, so we were sent the long way round.
The room smelled musty, there were no window blinds, and there were two single beds. There were no beverage making facilities, and a bathroom with a shower that would not stay in position without soaking the entire floor. It was dreadful. And the floor of the unit was extremely dirty.
There were no glasses, nor crockery of any sort, apart from a pair of cheap plastic cups in the bathroom.
Luckily we were exhausted and fell asleep quickly.
The following morning we were outside as fast as we could get to make sure we shuttle back to the airport and the comfort of the Singapore Airlines lounge.
That trip certainly made us wonder about Parisienne hospitality.