I know I’m bit late with a Paris post since Valentine’s Day was 2 weeks ago, but I guess better late than sorry. Earlier last week we talked about some of the best pictures of Paris we’ve ever taken, but we didn’t discuss any of the vantage points. Well now is as good time as any to tell you about one of my favorite places to take pictures of the iconic Eiffel Tower: my room at the Westin Paris-Vendôme.
3 Rue De Castiglione, Paris, 75001, France
SPG Category 6: 20000-25000 points/night
A few years ago, my family took a trip to Paris during smoggy March. As many of you may already know, this is pretty much as low season as it gets for Paris so it is the time for some tremendous value and a lot of smog.
Out of Pocket Costs:
We chose the Westin Paris because of its proximity to all of the major attractions and because of my dad’s SPG Platinum status, which gives us room upgrades, and free breakfast. I booked the hotel using cash @ 200 Euros/night for 3 nights. Given that the Westin costs 25,000 points (valued at approximately $550 per night), this seemed to be the more reasonable rate of the two.
Arrival & Check In :
The taxi ride from the Gare du Nord takes around 12 minutes, and costs 14 Euros during non-peak hours. As soon as the taxi pulled up to the curb, the bell boys helped us out of the car and carried our bags into the hotel.
The Westin Paris has a very classy lobby with many pieces which appear to belong in a museum. Sensibly so given the building’s historical significance as the home for VIPs and Russian aristocracy during their visits to the French capital. On this particular day, there was a major conference happening at the hotel so there was no room to snap more pictures.
Check-in was a swift affair. Within a matter of minutes our passports were copied, platinum benefits were explained (breakfast and suite upgrade), and room keys were handed out. One of the disappointing aspects of the hotel is that the SPG Suite Night Awards or complimentary suite upgrades only go as far as the tiny Eiffel Tower View Room or a Junior Suite without a view. On this occasion, both rooms were upgraded to Eiffel Tower View Rooms.
Eiffel Tower View Room:
Though the room was renovated and smelt fresh, it was by far the smallest room I have ever stayed in while in Europe. There was barely any place to move around if you got out of bed and it was just downright claustrophobic. Sound insulation was absolutely terrible, which we found out the hard way as I will later explain.
Despite the small nature of the room, the balcony was decently sized and featured some of the best views of Paris. On one side there was the Louvre, and on the other there was the Eiffel Tower of course. And right in front of the hotel was the fantastic Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Gardens).
So how did I end up in the Royal Suite after being assigned one of these rooms? Well that’s quite a story:
On the second night of our stay, I was sitting at the desk, making some phone calls for work when we started to hear some screaming from the room next door. Initially I thought it was some distress call for help, and so I called the front desk. No one picked up. I just put on my headphones and continued working, but it just kept getting louder as time progressed. After a few more minutes, I knew for sure there was some kind of romantic stuff going on next door. I should’ve known better this was Paris.
By this point my sister was awake wondering what the noise was all about. I won’t go into the specific details of what we heard, but we pretty much wanted to cut our ears off that night.
Absolutely annoyed by my inability to work or go to sleep, I tweeted to SPG complaining about the problem.
Note from Management:
The next morning, we left for Versailles early so we didn’t bother to mention the inconvenience with the front desk. However by the time we returned the manager had left a note and a bunch of voicemails in both the rooms:
After a brief conversation with the manager (involving a lot of apologies), we were “politely requested” to move to the Royal Suite for the final night of our stay. Why would we say “no” to that?
The Royal Suite:
The first thing everyone will want to hear about this suite is that Ellie Goulding stayed here (after we left). I don’t think many people realized this when she posted it on Instagram 🙂
Anyway, the room was just fantastic with a living room which was straight out of a 20th century aristocratic residence. The entire room seems to center itself around the portrait of a what appeared to be a French or Russian aristocrat. Here is a video of the room I took using Google Glass:
As you can see attached to each side of the living room are the bedrooms, each with their separate bathrooms. The rooms were actually specially joined for our stay, allowing us to all stay in one room.
The views from the room were just as good as the ones we had from the higher level Eiffel Tower View Room. I could be wrong about this, but the suite seemed to have more direct views of the Eiffel Tower from the seating area.
Breakfast is served at the hotel restaurant, Le First, every morning from 7-10am. Platinum members receive breakfast as the welcome amenity in lieu of 500 points, but the breakfast is only covered for the first room. Because of our shenanigans that one night, breakfast was also included for my sister and I. Complimentary breakfast includes anything from the full buffet, which was actually quite big of a spread. The croissants and pastries were top notch and so were the breads. The only odd thing was the existence of a rice cooker with plain rice. I guess there are a lot of Asians coming through this hotel.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the location when it comes to Paris hotels, and the Westin is pretty much the most centrally located hotel in the city. The Louvre, Champs Elysees, Tuileries Garden, and Musee D’Orsay are all within spitting distance of the hotel. In addition, if you get a room facing the Eiffel Tower, you may have some of the best views of Paris. With that being said, the service and size of rooms leave a little to be desired. I don’t recall the last time I’ve stayed in such a tiny room even in the middle of a major European city. And though management was great in responding to our problem, the rest of the staff seemed as if they didn’t have their mind set on the idea of hospitality. Given my status as a SPG Platinum and location of the hotel, I would certainly return to this hotel, but others may want to check out some other options. This is especially true if paying with cash.
Have you ever stayed at the Westin Paris Vendome? What did you think?