You want details of La Reserve? I have them
I stopped reviewing hotels for some time but now back on TripAdvisor thanks to La Reserve. Since my last review we probably stayed at some 22 of the nicest hotels/accommodations around the world so the perspective we bring is in comparison to other 5+Star luxury hotels. We stayed at La Reserve Paris for the first time this quick Paris trip. It was recommended by my husband’s colleague who said it is literally the best hotel in Paris. With standard rooms starting at $1200, how bad could it be. Well, let me start with the good. Here are some of the good facts and the reason why we gave this hotel any stars at all:
1. The hotel is undeniably beautiful, especially the public areas including the lobby and library. Beautiful Christmas decorations throughout.
2. The lady who works as the concierge is fabulous. She was super helpful, friendly and extremely knowledgeable. She helped me find a limited piece of jewelry I was looking for in Paris which was spectacular.
3. The pullout sofa bed has an extraordinarily comfortable mattress for a sofa bed. Even at some of the best hotels around the world the main beds may be very comfortable but the pull out extra beds can be awful. La Reserve had one of the better pull out sofa beds.
4. Great baby amenities in the room. They gave Tartine de Chocolat stuffed animals for the kids and even bibs and sleepsack for the baby. The baby bathtub and crib were set up and ready to go and on the second night left a fun bubble bath for our son.
5. It was recently my birthday and they brought a complimentary cake and nice memento as a gift. Very thoughtful and nice although every high end hotel does a version of this. La Reserve’s version was very tasteful and enjoyable.
6. On the first night we were given a bottle of red wine and pastries as a welcome gift. Again all luxury hotels have a version of this but La Reserve’s choice in wine and treats were quite delectable.
7. Nice automatic flushing toilets plus bidets.
That’s where the good ends.
1. THE ROOMS- my husband made the mistake of booking a standard room through Amex weeks before. However the day before check in (our travel day) we were emailed by the hotel that the room would not be big enough for us and can’t fit a roll out cot/bed for our 5 year old. They asked us to pay an EXTRA 650 euros/night for the junior suite which is the minimum requirement to accommodate us or go get a new hotel. The part of the email referencing getting a new hotel was a bit off putting but decided to let it go. When we arrived at the hotel we agreed to pay extra for a bigger room, and was looking forward to enjoying the hotel. We did ask for a complimentary room upgrade (to regular suite) as there was availability and it is part of our Amex perks. Management came back and said instead of moving us up to a bigger suite, they will charge us less: 350 euros a night more vs the 650 and upgrade us from a standard room into a junior suite. Mind you we would have preferred the upgrade from junior suite to regular suite, but was fine with whatever the hotel offered. Well the junior suite turned out to be extremely small for a suite. It was one room w a bed, desk and small sofa+coffee table and in Paris I guess this can be called a suite but in other parts of the world it’s just a standard room. It was also a wheelchair accessible room which the hotel didn’t inform us ahead of time to see if ok—as a result the shower had no door, the toilet was in a separate room from the rest of the bathroom and there was a ton of dead space which decreased the actual usable square footage of the room. Please remember if you are booking for other than a party of 2 a suite is mandatory, meaning you are looking at at least 1650 euros a night off peak for the base junior suite room. The Butler that comes with the room was available only 50% of the time we called for him/her.
2. THE SERVICE/QUALITY- mediocre. Aside from the great concierge, spoken of above, the rest was very average. First off, the hotel in general will nickel and dime you for everything. For instance the kids dish from the room service menu is 50 euros. It comes w beef, a dessert and a drink. We thought by beef they meant steak. But the kids meal beef is a ground beef hamburger patty on a plate and nothing else. We asked for a side of broccoli at the time of ordering. When they brought the food to the room they informed us they were out of broccoli. We then asked to bring some other vegetable and/or fruit with this meal instead. They ended up bringing different grilled veggies and fruits on the side, as well as another bill—48 euros extra. It’s one thing to pay a lot for good food (not to mention at hotels such as the Four Seasons resorts kids 6 and under eat completely free) but at La Reserve the kids food was neither good nor cheap. Btw if you are on the Amex fine hotels and resorts.. only a continental breakfast is included... and this means a bread basket, jam and butter. If you order anything else ie. eggs expect to see a significant upcharge on your bill. There is no such thing as throwing in extras at this hotel. As a matter of fact for a high end hotel, the nickel and diming was never ending—you ask for a thermometer, extra charge...thermometer doesn’t work and you let them know at check out? Doesn’t matter, they still charge. You get the picture.
3. QUESTIONS OF ETHICS?-We went straight from airport to hotel. At the airport pulled out 500 euros from the atm, went into cab, verified the amount in cab, got to hotel paid cab driver and walked into lobby. Hotel staff took all of our luggage and carry ons including husband’s coat which contained his wallet as we waited for our room to get sorted out. Got to room and wallet was put on table. The hotel said it was dropped and they picked it up for us and brought to the room. We double check cash in wallet: 20 euros missing. Tell the hotel management just to inform them..hotel notes this and never addressed again. We really didn’t want to accuse but at the same time went from cab (where money was verified) directly into hotel, we couldn’t think of other options for the lost money.
4. POOR GUEST RELATIONS MANAGER- so despite any other complaint (and so far we only have listed a few of the bigger ones in this review) the WORST happened on our last night at the hotel. Our family including 5 year old and 8 month old, strollers and all, come back to the hotel after dinner when the guest relations MANAGER stops us at the doorway, getting into the lobby. We are all standing there as he asserts that our 5 year old irreparably damaged their carpet by streaking the carpet with marker. They now need to charge us for two extra nights (which is at least $1650 euros plus tax and service a night) while they replace the carpet. Manager couldn’t think of a better time or place to address this. Meanwhile, our 5 year old who did NOT mark the carpets with marker (and in fact the markings were from crayon shavings which may have fallen while my son was drawing on PAPER, and made worse when housekeeping vacuumed over it), was so upset about the accusations made by the guest relations manager, he insisted on trying to clean the carpet himself. Our 5 year old was horrified that being Christmas Eve, and Santa watching this incident would prevent him from getting presents from Santa. My husband, son and I, who have never cleaned a carpet in our lives, manages to get the markings out with just water and a towel. Management claims their professional housekeeping tried hard to clean this and could not so it is irreparable, yet our family who is far from being professional cleaners was able to get most of the stains out in 10-15 mins with just water. Either Housekeeping didn’t try hard to clean or they are severely incompetent. Went to speak with guest relations again and ask him to check the carpet which he claimed was irreparably damaged. He refuses. He said we can address in the morning but due to an early flight we informed him we need to check out by 7:30am. He said no one would be able to help us til 8:30am so we would not be able to talk to anyone at all before we checked out. No apology from him btw. We left the next morning. No one addressed anything further with us. Even to this moment.
Why was this the worst thing that happened for us? Well first of all, it was terrible to see our 5 year old to be so upset during Christmas time over something that could be fixed and secondly it was the last day of my birthday/Christmas trip to Paris and we all left with the worst feeling ever. It is disappointing that this is the level of service coming from the guest relations manager of the hotel. Because we as guests left extremely unhappy.
As frequent travelers and guests of some of the best hotels in the world, we gauge how good a hotel is not by how perfect our stay is overall, but how well things are rectified when things are less than perfect.
In almost all high end hotels we have been in, they do an extraordinary job in rectifying or making amends to a situation when things don’t go quite right. La Reserve in Paris fails in this regard. For the price,
I would definitely not recommend this hotel in comparison to other luxury hotels in Paris—for starters the Four Seasons..