The Le Méridien Etoile was the first hotel I booked for my stay in Paris as it was convenient to get to via public transport from Charles de Gaulle. From the airport, I bought a ticket on board the Air France bus which actually stops just across the hotel at Porte Maillot. Thus it was convenient for me even when I brought my luggage. Inside the hotel I proceed past the small lobby to the reception desk.
Started with a very bad experience during check-in with a female agent who either screwed up on using the system or the hotel probably needs to get its act right. What I did was to check for Junior Suite availability on the SPG app, and there seems to be multiple availability. Though the agent was adamant the system does not show it and places me in an Executive room quite a walk from the elevator lobby. Normally I do not ask for suite upgrades but the overall experience felt like I was not valued as a guest. Since I did earn the SPG Platinum status, I do expect some sort of corresponding rewards that was listed as benefits of holding the status, and this hotel does not seem to understand that.
Another thing to note: the hotel was doing some renovation works and that means back street access is restricted including direct access to the car park from the lobby. Might be a bit of a hassle for guests who are driving and parking at the hotel. Location wise, the hotel is opposite the Le Palais des Congrès de Paris and is walking distance to the Arc de Triomphe, though it is a distance to the main shopping areas and to the Louvre, which I consider the centre of Paris.
Room No: 7066 Category: Executive King Room
Being assigned my room, I was not given instructions on how to get to the room and there was not the usual smile from the staff. It was truly a ‘business’ hotel. My room turns out to be a long walk from the elevators and that irked me a bit as I did mention my preference for rooms closer to the elevator. Considering I was on a standard room, this is a hotel with a lot of rooms, so I believe they could have provided me with a similar room closer to the elevator.
Entering the room, there is a bathroom with a glass partitioned shower area and a semi-enclosed toilet section. In the middle was the vanity counter and the sink. They did a good job decorating the space and it was classy so I have to give them points for this nice bathroom. The bathroom features the standard Le Méridien bath amenities.
Moving on to the bedroom, it was a bit on the small side and was not the most comfortable to be in. There is the King bed, with asymmetrical bedside tables. Along the wall lies a small desk and a wall mounted television. There is a small stool underneath a ledge and a luggage stand on the right beside the wardrobe. However there is only one swivelling work chair by the desk. While it may be a King size bedroom, the room would be a squeeze for 2 person occupancy.
The Executive King room with a view of the skyscraper that houses the Hyatt Regency across the street but it was not a nice view for Paris. In fact my disappointment with the size of the room and how far it was made me vent my frustration on Twitter. If there was any reason for guests to maintain loyalty with SPG, it is how they perform very well with regards to customer dissatisfaction. I did leave the hotel to just roam the streets of Paris since the sun was out and by the time I returned to the hotel, there was a voice mail on the telephone. Apparently they have miraculously found a junior suite for me to move to.
It is not my favourite way to extract the best room possible from hotels especially it was for just one night and had the hotel really given a bit more thought into my preferences, they and myself could have saved the trouble.
Room No: 5091/5092 Category: Junior Suite
Anyway I was offered a new suite on the 5th floor and since I did notice the room was closer to the elevator, I made the switch. A bellboy did come up with the new keys to my suite and I decided to move the luggage myself as I had yet to unpack.
The junior suites here actually comprises of 2 rooms which are joined together. Thus it actually has 2 full bathrooms. I entered via the main bedroom and the bathroom here has bathtub instead of the walk-in shower. Another difference is in the amenities provided. Other Le Méridien suite properties features the ‘Cinq Mondes’ branded amenities which comes in slightly larger containers. These are slightly better than the generic hotel ones you get on the standard rooms.
For the bedroom, there is the same King size bed here but it lacks a work table in the bedroom. Instead there is a wall mounted flatscreen TV cabinet along with a circular table and swivel chair by the corner. In between there is a door that leads to another room which functions as a living room of sorts.
Similar to the Executive King room, there is a folder on the bed with a set of hotel information. Le Méridien is quite unique amongst the SPG hotel brands in that they actually usually offer something related to art and culture to its guests. This property includes 2 free passes in every room to one of the art museums in Paris. So it was something worth noting for guests staying here.
The adjoining chamber has an elliptical table in the middle with a sofa bed at the back. The space was designed with a bedroom in mind as the back wall has the same design as the bedroom.
Across from the table and sofa, there is a narrow ledge where the flatscreen TV is located at. It was a bit wasted since they could have added a work space here as well. As a result, even though this was a suite, there was no real proper desk to work at.
In the living room space, there is another full bathroom with a separate entrance door. I just latched the door from the inside as I would not use this door. Though I did use the bathroom here instead as it featured the walk-in shower, which I prefer to the bathtub and shower combination in the other bedroom. It is worth noting this bathroom comes with another set of Cinq Mondes amenities.
As I actually forgot to bring a European power adaptor, I could either purchase one for sale at the minibar for EUR10 or get one from the concierge where I had to pay a deposit of EUR10 which would be returned when one checks out and gives back the adaptor. Naturally I did the latter. One good feature I found in the suite was they have the Sanctuary docket by BluLounge which does have a good variety of plugs to charge your gear though it lacks the newer port for iPhones or any USB Type C plugs.
Another thing I prefer the suite over the room I was assigned to earlier was the view. There was a much nicer view of a typical Parisian street from both windows in the suite.
Since I did not take up the complimentary breakfast with the wealth of cafes in Paris, I did not try any of the restaurants in the hotel. However I checked out their fitness centre which is kind of small but it does have a nice variety of equipments for guests to use.
Room rate was EUR168 per night for the Deluxe room. With the upgrades based on Platinum status with SPG, I thought it was good value for the location in Paris. However I am a bit underwhelmed by the shoddy state of the hotel public spaces as it is undergoing renovation. In addition, customer service in the hotel is really non-existent and I have had better service from staff in a suburban Hyatt Place or Four Points. For what it is worth, check-out was a similar cold treatment and it felt like I am just but one other customer. Maybe I am just jaded after the wonderful treatment with Lufthansa First Class, but I sure did have much better service during my stay in other hotels during this trip. Next time I need a hotel in this area, I might just pick the Hyatt Regency across the street.