“ Address: 131-133 Boulevard de Magenta / 75010 Paris / France „
I've stayed at the Hotel Avalon twice, once back in 2008 when it was pretty much exactly the same but was named Hôtel de Londres et d'Anvers, and the second time in July of this year. This review is mainly based upon a three night stay in July 2012.
The hotel is placed in a traditional Paris tenement building, very close to Gare du Nord, with the metal balconies on the sides that make the city so pretty. It provides 64 rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, and rooms are accessed via key cards. The hotel has a seating area (With very brightly coloured plastic chairs) as well as two toilets downstairs on the main level near reception and (slightly over-priced) vending machines are also provided close by. There are two (smallish) lifts and stairwells to access the different floors. Also behind the reception is a luggage room where cases can before before check-in or after check-out which is very useful if you want to explore Paris without lugging your cases around before an evening train or late flight. A further benefit of being so close to the station is that it makes the hotel a convenient place to travel back to before departing the city. I've used this room twice and have never had an issue. The reception is manned 24 hours a day. You're free to come and go as you please during the day but after around midnight(ish) the front door is locked and the person covering the reception has to let you in. We never experienced a problem with this as there was never a time when we found the reception unmanned.
The hotel also provides conference facilities for up to 45 people but as I knew very little about this I would suggest contacting the hotel of visiting their website if you need to know more rather than me trying to blag it.
A lot of hotels state that they are near things that you'd have to walk 50 miles and squint in order to see. When the Avalon states that it is in very close proximity to Gare du Nord (A main train station in Paris where the Eurostar kicks you out). The station is quite literally around the corner from the hotel and you can get between the two walking in a couple of minutes. As well as the Eurostar, Gare du Nord also provides links to the Paris Metro and RER trains as well as trains to other European destinations. The hotel is placed on Boulevard du Magenta, a fairly busy and active Paris street with restaurants, bars, a McDonalds and Subway close by and a few supermarkets. The closeness to Gare du Nord does have a downside through as places close by tend to be a bit touristy. We tended tyo walk down a few random streets to find places slightly off the beaten track and a bit more authentic Paris. Near Montmartre, you can walk to Sacré-Coeur within 15 minutes and the church of St Vincent du Paul (We found it by accident on the way back to the hotel on our first night), which is very pretty and interesting, is also close by and worth a look.
The cheapest option I found for the hotel was through Hostelbookers.com, with the cost of the room at £78.14 per night which works out as £39.07 per person per night. This was for a twin/double room, a triple room is around £30 per person and a single is approximately £60 (Obviously this is dependent upon time of year you wish to visit). The price is very reasonable for a hotel in the centre of Paris and as it was booked through Hosterbookers.com it included breakfast, many other websites have a higher cost per room and do not state that breakfast is included (therefore I assume it isn't). When booking through Hostyelbookers.com you only pay 10% of the room cost upfront and the rest upon hotel departure which I always find a better option. It is far easier to refuse to pay than demand your money back if you're not happy with the service, helps you retain a bit of consumer power.
Our room wasn't the biggest room in the world, size was pretty adequate and we could prabaly just about swing as cat (Although I don't think a cat would like being swung). The room contained a double bed, desk, bedside cabinets, wardrobe and one of those suitcase rack things What it lacks in size it makes up for in cleanliness, I checked as hard as I could to find dirt and failed. Yes there were a couple of small stains on the bathtub but neither the room nor bathroom was dirty. The corner rooms of the hotel have little balconies, with doors to access them, that look out over the busy Parisian streets. I've been lucky enough to have one of those rooms on different floors on the time occasions I have used the hotel. The balconies overlook the corner of Rue de Rocroy, which I've renamed wedding dress street, for the sheer number of wedding dress stops (Interesting but best not to stay there if you've just been jilted at the alter). You can also see into a number of apartments opposite (Maybe invest in some curtains people of Paris) and we could see what a couple opposite were watching on TV. Nettings and curtains are provided in the hotel rooms which stops the people opposite from returning the favour. The room was neither too hot nor too cold, suggesting they have the temperature right and therefore we slept with the doors to the balcony shut. On the previous stay a few years back Paris was a lot sunnier, causing room to be a bit warm at night requiring the doors to be open and traffic noises can be constant and annoying. When the doors are shut the room is pretty quiet.
Amenities in the room include:
Free wifi!! (Reception will give you the code for your stay when you check in. It logs itself out a lot but on the whole was quite a good strength and could use it anywhere in the hotel).
Little bottles (Of fairly standard) shampoo and shower gel and little soaps
Towels (Changed every day)
Bedding (Made every day but not changed in three days)
Spare bedding and pillows
A number of coat hangers (Think there was eight)
Combination safe (Large enough for handbags, passports and a couple of cameras)
Flat screen tv (We didn't use it much but saw news and music channels in English)
Hairdryer (The fixed to the wall kind like at a swimming pool but does the job)
One wall socket (Yes, that's it although there may be more in other rooms. We searched everywhere and couldn't find more than one which had a desk lamp plugged into it. We therefore had to do a lot of balancing in regards to phone and camera charging, not good for smart phones that don't make it 24 hours without a charge).
There are no coffee or tea making facilities available in the room which is a bit of a let down. A hot drinks machine is provided on the ground floor but you have to pay for this.
The standard continental affair with croissants, those chocolate pastry things and the little crispy toast things in packets. Jams, butter , yogurts and cerial are also available as well as juice, tea, coffee and hot chocolate. I have no complaints about the actual food itself, it was all pretty standard. The problems arose in the layout for breakfast seating. A large number of tables are placed in a very small area, unless you sit very tucked in to the table (And lose the ability to breath) you block the aisle and you're constantly being knocked whilst eating. Whilst conditions are cramped, there's also not very many seats provided for the number of people and thus if you get there during a busy eating time then you may have to wait around for available seats. Breakfast was served between 8 and 10.
All of the staff we had interaction with were very helpful and nice. The reception staff offered us maps when we checked in and knew what they were talking about whist being both polite and efficient. Check-out was also no hassle. The cleaning staff also does a very good job.
Yes, there are few negatives about the hotel, poor breakfast seating, lack of power points, but on the whole Avalon is a nice, cheap and clean hotel that is great value for money and in an excellent location in the heart of Paris. I would have no issues with recommending this hotel as a great place to stay.