Thursday, 11 June 2015

Awesome View at Westin Paris! But service is truly unsatisfactory.


Book an Eiffel Tower View Room here! And lower your expectations for everything else.


Stayed April 2015
First published May 2015
Updated with Tripadvisor reply June 2015




The Louvre is one of the main attractions of Paris and I was looking for a hotel near it for easy access.

In the end, Westin Paris - Vendome right along the Tuileries Gardens was the choice and was incidentally featured in Scarlett Johansson's Lucy.

The entrance to the hotel is rather grand and I was thinking if the hotel actually deserves a 5-star rating.

The hotel even has its own Wikipedia page which states "It was designed by Charles Garnier's son-in-law Henri Blondel and was intended to be the most luxurious hotel in Paris at the time."





The central atrium was a vision of a Secret Garden.




The front desk was perhaps the first letdown. The counter is split into 2 sides of a square and confusing to the first time guest.


The Spa access to the right of the Front Desk

Second Front Desk to the right side


Thankfully (at this point of time), we got to check in at the desks instead of the counters.

However, this was the site of our major issue.

I had a prepaid rate which had already been deducted from my card and wanted to use another card for incidentals during the stay.

I was informed this cannot be done and the hotel would reverse the transaction from the first card and charge everything to the second card. This would mean that I would pay foreign transaction fees twice! (All Singapore cards have foreign transaction fees as far as I know.)

After several attempts to convince the Front Desk Agent not to do that, she was unable to help and called the manager. The manager gave us the same statement, citing security issues and after several more attempts and showing obvious displeasure, somehow it was okay and no reverse-and-recharge occurred. (I watched my statement very closely for this one)

This delayed our trip to the Louvre which was within 5 minutes walk from the hotel.

Fate was kind to us subsequently and we managed to get into the Louvre in under a minute after wasting time at the hotel.

On returning to the hotel, we went for our complimentary drink at the bar.







The hot chocolate was really just molten chocolate with a cup of warm milk to dilute it.

Very very very sinful. But nice. Especially at the end of the day.

The lifts were located behind the concierge and I began to appreciate the size of the hotel.





Being a historical building, the hotel is not very tall and we were given a room on the fifth floor.



The guest room corridors didn't look impressive at all, and in great contrast to the ground level.

Searching for our room took some time and the hotel is definitely huge.

Entering the room, I was rather disappointed at the usual Parisian size...



But the room was suppose to have a Eiffel Tower view and I opened the door to the balcony and was greeted by a small extension cramped with 2 chairs.



So ok... Eiffel Tower view? And then I saw this in the distance.



WOAH, the hourly sparkling of the Eiffel Tower is so mesmerizing...

After that, I returned to the room and checked out the bathroom.




Not so great, but at least it's a decent hotel!

Other than the size of the bathroom, the water pressure was poor too. I was thinking to myself not to expect too much from such an old building and being on the top floor.

There was an in-room gift waiting for me but it's not suitable. Guess no one gets the memo that I do not drink alcohol...



Waking up for the buffet breakfast surely was a delight and cost-saving too!

However, I wanted to check out the early morning view first, which was the picture at the top as well as the view of the Gardens in front and the Louvre a short distance away.


We then headed down for our breakfast.
The restaurant was pretty big but adequately staffed.


Warming lamp casting a red light








Food was relatively good and the range was above average (particularly by Parisian standards) as shown in the pictures. We definitely had a very filling meal!

Completing the review of the hotel, the gym and spa are actually located in the basement and accessed via a small lift. No one was using the gym during that time and the whole level seemed pretty deserted.

The gym is small relative to the number of rooms and yet no one was using it!




Spa reception


Finally, after leaving the hotel, we walked past Place Vendome, which gives this Westin part of its name, and her high-end boutiques. Unfortunately, the famous column was under restoration at that time.



Overall, I was impressed by the view from my room and more than satisfied with the breakfast spread. The location near the Louvre as well as Champs-Elysees is great!

The staff tend to be cold probably due to the large number of guests which means personalized service is pretty impossible. In addition, throughout the stay, I seem to get stares as I was dressed very casually (as a leisure tourist) in contrast to the business-wear most of the other guests were in. Sometimes we even felt deliberately ignored as we walked past the staff.

Of course, the incident at checking in was unacceptable as I have never had such a problem with prepaid rates. A 4-star rating is appropriate indeed.

As Elsa would sing,
"Let it go...let it go...."


Happy travels,
fred

----------------------------

Having posted my review on Tripadvisor as well, the hotel replied to my post.

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments with us.

That's true when you book your stay with a full prepayment, the entire stay is debited the day of the arrival and the guest has to show the credit card debited upon check-in. If not, the hotel will always request to have another credit card, debit it, and reimburse totally the credit card not shown at the time of check-in. This is to protect guest and hotel from any fraude and I'm sure you may understand that.

We are very delighted you enjoyed your stay with us and the room overlooking the garden with the balcony.

Should we be of any help for a future stay, do not hesitate to contact the Manager on duty team.

Thank you and be well,

Guillaume


I get the feeling that the reply is insincere and rude.

The stay was debited before I left Singapore so that part is not true, if not, I would have let them charge everything to the new card.

Okay, no more stays at Westin Paris since the view is mainly a one-off experience. Even the post-stay service is bad. What can I say?


Let's sing Elsa's song again.....

Edit: Someone asked me why do I feel the reply is bad. My answer is either the hotel is not following its protocol of charging only on the day of arrival and somehow thinks I cannot understand the seriousness of fraud or the hotel did not bother to find out what happened and gave a generic reply.