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Sunday, 13 October 2013

17. Paris Accomodation

I've been spending a lot of time looking for a hotel in Paris and they are pretty pricey. For someone who's used to going around SEA where you're paying around $30 for a nice room in a guesthouse or hotel, it's a bit of a shock looking for accommodation in Europe. Asian prices they aint! As I wrote in a previous post, it's either $30 to $40 a night for a dorm bed in a hostel, or you're looking at nearly a thousand dollars or more for a week in a hotel. A few nice budget hotels I found are booked out. I've decided after all, not to go for a place in the Marais area.

I did find a place in the 6th arrondissement in the Saint Germaine area, the
Pension - Résidence du Palais on Rue d'Assas, opposite the Luxembourg Gardens. The photos below are from their website. I thought the courtyard garden sounded and looked pretty and asked when I booked for a balcony overlooking the courtyard. I reasoned it would be more private sitting there than facing the street. Plus, it would be nice looking at a garden courtyard. This decision was based on their pictures.

Above: Room at hotel
This is the photo shown for a single room - the strange thing with this photo is the information says single bed, yet clearly this is a double bed. According to the hotel information, the room size is 15 m² - the same as a double. Room Facilities, Balcony, View, Cable Channels, Flat-screen TV, Desk, Wardrobe/Closet, Shower, Hairdryer, Bathroom, Shared Toilet. All the toilets are in the hallway. That's nice - the telly is in the room but the toilet is outside!

Above: Dining room and breakfast
Doesn't this look lovely? Lovely furniture, fresh rolls/croissants and glasses of orange juice. Yet when reading the reviews, you only get a croissant/bread and coffee or tea, no juice. One has to wonder why the hotel shows breakfast as having orange juice if you don't get any. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm complaining, it's the principle of the thing. If it is shown as breakfast, then it should be part of breakfast. If for example, it was written breakfast includes bread or croissant and tea or coffee, then okay, fine. You know. Clever people who run this place, they don't actually say what breakfast consists of, they just show photos!

Above: Front of hotel and courtyard
The hotel is above/next to a cafe on the corner and the courtyard is somewhere behind. Based on these photos, I asked for a balcony overlooking the courtyard. However...I came across an independent photo of the courtyard and it looks nothing like this.

Guest photos
Above: Courtyard
This is the photo I found of the courtyard. As you can see, it bears little or no resemblance to the courtyard photos supplied by the hotel. Perhaps after all a balcony overlooking the street would be preferable. The view wouldn't be of a courtyard or greenery - you'd be seeing ugly hotel walls. You'd have to be actually standing on the balcony looking down. And still, it isn't a pretty sight is it?

Above: Stairs!
Another thing I learned today, according to one guest review, they had to climb two flights of stairs as the lift doesn't go all the way which wasn't advertised. I'm going to have to email them asking for a room on a floor which the lift does got to.

I used to make my reservation as don't have to pay until you arrive and they offer free cancellation. There were two prices, € 409.50 ($587) and € 455 ($652). The lower price is the non-refundable figure, so I chose the higher price. Better to pay a bit more in case you do cancel. I'm looking around on airbnb and have found a number of studios/apartments for similar prices. If I find something I really like then I'll go for one of them. The thing to remember about booking a place with airbnb, when you click on the "Book it" button, it doesn't mean you've got it - you have to wait for the owner to accept your booking. Another thing to know is they have three standardised cancellation policies. Strict, Moderate and Flexible. The host chooses which one.
Strict - For a 50% refund, cancellation must be made seven full days prior to listing's local check in time,
Moderate - For a full refund, cancellation must be made five full days prior to listing's local check in time and
Flexible - For a full refund, cancellation must be made a full 24 hours prior to listing's local check in time.
The Airbnb service fee is non-refundable. I will discuss this fully in a later post with information about Airbnb.

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