Monday, July 30, 2012

Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Paris

Location: République, Paris
Rating: * (1 out of 5)

Crowne Plaza is one of the several hotel brands under the Intercontinental Group. It ranks above Holiday Inn and below Intercontinental.  The Crowne Plaza at Place de la République used to be a Holiday Inn, until the hotel went through a major renovation and was rebranded several years ago. Same convenient location, different name. Same hotel, much higher prices. 

The Crowne Plaza, Paris

Crowne Plaza Paris-République is best known for its traditional Haussmann architecture and an enclosed garden designated by the French government as a “Napoleon III courtyard” (whatever that means).  Like many other unwary tourists, I was fooled by the beautiful pictures on the hotel website, only to discover upon arrival that the courtyard is off limits to most hotel guests and that the rooms are more dated than a pensione in southern Italy, minus the small town charm. To be fair, my room does have decent views of the Republic Square outside, which, through no fault of the hotel, has been boarded up for restoration works and covered in dust.

Service is non-existent at the four-star Crowne Plaza. Perhaps because labor is such a prized commodity in Paris, there is only one clerk manning the front desk at any given time. And because the French seem utterly incapable of – or simply uninterested in – multi-tasking, there is always a long line of guests snaked around the lobby. For instance, I waited 30 minutes just to return the hotel umbrella I borrowed, even though the clerk could have easily taken it off my hands while checking in another guest. Any attempt to short circuit the painful process is met with a stern “please wait!” You’ll find the same problem at the concierge desk. Need a city map? Wait in line for an hour while the concierge slowly explains the pros and cons of taking a Seine cruise to the inquisitive German couple standing in front of a dozen impatient residents ready to start a riot.

Pictures can be so deceiving

But that’s not all. The Crowne Plaza is outrageously overpriced: I paid a whopping €300 per night for my two-night stay. In exchange, I got a shoebox of a room, bad service and a sad little Ethernet cable on my desk – there was no wireless Internet access anywhere in the hotel except the lobby, even if you are willing to pay for it. There aren't many things in life I am absolutely certain about, but not going back to the Crowne Plaza is one of them.

A "blah" hotel lobby, and
the only place at the hotel with Wi-Fi access

1 comment:

  1. I read your reviews on the 3 hotels. If I may quote you, my favorite part by far is: "the French seem utterly incapable of – or simply uninterested in – multi-tasking."

    I had fun picturing you waiting quietly for 30 min to retun a borrowed umbrella. I would have gone nuts!