I love the rail system in Europe. I was in Cannes, France for a business meeting and decided that visiting Paris would be a perfect extension since it had been more than 20 years since I spent any extended time in the City of Light. I boarded my train and four hours later I was in the heart of Paris. It was so easy and the views through the countryside were peaceful and picturesque.
I stayed in two different small hotels in Paris, both located on the left bank (and both are included in our agency’s preferred hotel program). The 5 star very Parisian Esprit San Germain boutique hotel offers 28 charming rooms. The Pont Royal with 65 cozy rooms has the feel of a larger hotel and is home to Joel Robichon’s hot restaurant. I loved both hotels for different reasons. Esprit San Germain’s delicious breakfast was served in their cozy library. It encouraged interaction with the hotel personnel and guests. In the afternoon, the self-help and complimentary bar was open in the library and a great place to linger over a drink either upon returning from a long day out exploring or before setting out for a leisurely dinner. And, I have to admit, one evening we never left the library. I decided to stay and enjoy the company of friends and acquaintances who also were staying at the Esprit San Germain.
Pont Royal offered larger rooms in a more bustling location. I felt it had better access to restaurants and shopping. It was more of a hotel feel with larger and better appointed rooms, but lacked the intimacy of the San Germain. The staff was very helpful and friendly and maybe a bit more formal. Both hotels included a breakfast in my room rate.
When I travel my hotel room is important as well as its location. This gives me the ability to walk out of my hotel and have access to restaurants, museums, and shopping close by. I also look for comfort, not necessarily lavish. I want to relax in my room at the end of my day and spend time regenerating, whether it is reading a book or writing in my journal.
I find my hotel choice is very important to me because it helps define the city and my experience. In Paris, I loved my hotel rooms and I loved my visit. All was right with the world.
Andrea Shpall is President of Allure Travel by Polk CTM, a member of Tzell Travel Group. She welcomes your comments at Andrea_shpall@alluretravel.com.
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