Saturday, September 17, 2011

Paris Trip Recap -- Hotel Jeanne d'Arc Review

My long lost college friend AD turned me on to the Hotel Jeanne d'Arc.  She said : "...the location cannot be beat.  It's a bit of a budget hotel."  Not necessarily the best recommendation, but when I read it, I immediately checked it out on TripAdvisor and well...the price was right.  For our dates, the price as 95 Euros each night. I didn't know the neighborhood, but I had 100% trust in what AD was telling me and she couldn't have been more right.  The Marais was a fantastic neighborhood (neighborhood write up coming soon).

After I left JB and RK, I took the #1 train to the St. Paul station. The hotel was about 3 blocks from the station.  I left the station, checked the posted neighborhood map, found where the hotel was and began walking.  I walked 2 blocks and realized I was walking the wrong way -- as always.  Once on the right track, I found the hotel very easily.

A few weeks prior to arrival, I had called to confirm our room -- as was suggested/required in the email.  I was very proud of myself because the entire phone call was in French.  I even asked for an early check in -- I wanted to check in at 13h00 in lieu of the 15h00 check in.  She granted me 13h30, not too shabby, eh?  Since I was a few hours early for check in, I stopped by the hotel to drop off my bags and get some lunch.

After a couple hours of wandering around the Marais (review coming soon) and eating a pretty great lunch, I returned to the hotel to check in. Surprisingly, my bags were still sitting in the lobby.  They opted not to put them in the locked luggage room.  Not the best thing I was hoping for, but this was something that was mentioned on several Trip Advisor reviews.  The luggage was left sitting right next to the receptionist -- but also near the front door.  Nothing was taken.

We were given the key to room 45 and I headed for the elevator.  MS and I made an agreement to meet at the hotel at 15h00 -- based on his flight arrival and the travel time to the hotel 15h00 made the most sense.  Unbeknownst to me his flight was delayed about an hour.

The elevator was pretty small - I could fit my 20" carry on suitcase and myself in the elevator.  I might have been able to fit either another person OR their suitcase -- not both.  The elevator was quite slow -- so slow in fact we would walk up the 5 flights of stairs every other trip we made throughout the stay.

The room itself was pretty acceptable.  It came with a queen bed an armoire, a desk with a TV and a desk fan.  The hotel did not have an air conditioner, which isn't necessarily a big deal, but it was in the low 30C each day.  The fan was instrumental in cooling the room...without it, I'm sure there would have been no sleep for a couple of these nights.

The window in our room looked out on a central core of the building.  We had no view, obviously, but the cooling effect was amazing. Luckily everyone else in the hotel kept their window shades drawn, so we didn't see any creepy neighbors -- and as far as I know, they didn't see us either.

The bathroom looked relatively new, small, but new.  We had a room with a shower but no bath, which I much prefer over the inverse alternative (bath, no shower).  Since it was so hot in Paris while we were there (and we were outside walking everywhere) we took a couple showers each day - we always had hot water and good water pressure, even by American standards.  The biggest issue with the shower was the shower curtain, it didn't do anything to keep the water in the shower.  The first shower we had left a huge amount of water in the floor -- as the week went on we got much better and for my final shower I left less than a quarter cup of water on the floor -- pretty amazing.  The shower had one of those hand held shower heads, which I absolutely hate.

We did not eat breakfast at the hotel any day on our trip. It would have been 8 Euro each day, and it looked perfectly fine, but there were so many cafes in the neighborhood that offered cheaper breakfasts, why would we even bother?



Some of the other reviews on Trip Advisor said the hotel was quite loud, I had no issues with this.  I do sleep with ear plugs because MS does snore and I'm a light sleeper.  He didn't mention anything about the hotel being loud either.

When I return to Paris, I will stay at this hotel again. It was quite a great space. The location was beyond amazing and the price was perfect.  While this isn't a Ritz Carlton another 5 star hotel, it was a lovely hotel and I wouldn't hesitate to book this again.  If you are going to be in Paris, I highly recommend this for people on a budget (who isn't, though?).

Do you have a place you've stayed in Paris (or anywhere) that you thought would suck, but you really liked it?  Where do you stay while in Paris?  Do you prefer to stay at American chains while abroad (like Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, etc)?

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