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Copthorne Coquelles Calais (France)
Member Name: andymcf
Copthorne Coquelles Calais (France)
Date: 31/08/03, updated on 05/09/03 (305 review reads)
Advantages: Good value, Good location, A safe distance from Calais
Disadvantages: None really. You might prefer to go further from Calais..., ...or you might not. In which case, this hotel is ideal.
Some poetry, for all it's worth, by Sir John Betjeman:
Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!
It's relevant to this review, and yet it isn't. Calais is not Slough, yet both towns suffer from a similar malaise. Neither is one that you?d really want to rush to visit, yet each boasts a "Millennium Copthorne" hotel. The first of these I ever visited was in Slough. The second was - you've guessed it - in Calais or, more accurately, a quiet suburb called Coquelles. And Coquelles isn't at all bad, as it happens, being close to the French entrance to the Channel Tunnel and the magnificent shopping centre that is "La Cite de l'Europe".
We've just returned from a night away in France. A luxury for those, like us, fortunate enough to live near enough to Dover, a rather shabby town that is, nevertheless, the gateway to Europe for the vast majority of Britons. We stayed at Coquelles, near Calais. Calais has much to offer if you're looking for cheap beer, cheap wine, cheap cigarettes and - in essence - cheap anything but I'm continually surprised to find it located at the top of France. It, surely, is its bottom. It's functional, but most people don't stay there. We did!
There is, anyway, a wide choice of hotels in Calais and its environs, mostly run by the Accor group - Ibis, Etap, Formule 1, etc. All great if you want a cheap place to lay your head and are happy to have a double bed, with a child's bunk overhead, no reception, no service, no - well - no nothing. We opted for the Copthorne. I'm glad that we did.
Easily reached from junction 12 of the A16, the Copthorne is a quietly located 3-storey, modern hotel surrounded by light woodland and superbly located for visiti
ng the Cite de L'Europe, the Channel Tunnel and, even, Calais itself.
We had booked on line. This process, I have to say, was not without its own idiosyncratic difficulties and, to be perfectly honest, it required a measure of patience. The web team were, however, very helpful indeed and I was impressed with the efforts they made to rectify things. I'll keep an eye on things and am sure that they will, too. Maybe it's just me - and my PC's cache - but the booking screen kept on resembling a bar code and I lost confidence in it and patience with it. Anyway, I finally managed to book two double rooms. One with a cot, for ourselves and the infamous baby Josh, and one for our very good friends, Norman and Jennifer.
The hotel was easy to find and was a convenient drive from Calais. There was adequate free parking and we were soon inside the very welcoming lobby area, complete with comfortable seating and pool table. It's a modern hotel, with three official "stars". Personally, I think they've been cheated out of the fourth. The lobby area is bright, welcoming and reception is located on your right as you enter. Amanda and I are pretty proficient at French, but the receptionists are more proficient at English. The contest was lost. In English, we were greeted in a friendly fashion, given keys to our rooms and were soon on our way.
Heading to the lifts, we passed the hotel's bar and restaurant. These looked great, but the menu just didn't quite "float our boat". It was eventually in the Calais that we found somewhere to pander to our craving for some snails. This is no criticism of the hotel - the food just wasn't what we were after. Neither Norman nor Jennifer, incidentally, are still snail virgins. And they're very happy that way!
We arrived, anyway, on the second floor of this essentially Y-shaped hotel and found our rooms. Room 224 for Norm and Jen, who are non-smokers,
was a smoking room. Our room, 225, was directly opposite and, as ever, non-smoking. And I'm a smoker. However, baby Josh is not a smoker and it's probably best that the allocation was made that way. His cot, at least, was already in situ and beautifully made up. And the window opened wide. I could lean out of it and puff away to my heart's content. Or, more accurately, its downfall.
Modern hotel, but no keycards here! On arrival, you're given a heavy round thing with two keys attached to it. One opens the door, and the other opens the minibar. Big thumbs-up! A lockable minibar! At EUR22 for a half bottle of wine, it's a good thing that you could keep it locked. We bought a litre of Scotch at "Cite de L'Europe" for a fraction of the price and this kept us entertained all night; certainly well past Norman's normal bedtime. The sad thing was that, when it was finished, I was still alarmingly sober and the bar had shut. I'd normally feel it part of my duty to report on the bar. Believe me, I tried. I left the "group" and went downstairs in the lift. The bar was dead. Shut. Finito. These things happen. I gave it my best shot. Whilst it was open, it looked good, however.
The rooms, anyway, were very welcoming and, as I've said, were accessed via a traditional key. Yes - a cleverly crafted piece of metal that you insert into a lock! The spacious bathroom on the left was well-maintained and had a lovely, wide bath with overhead shower, decent toiletries, a veritable banquet of towels (but no bathrobes) and a bidet. Which I really, really wanted to try, but didn't!
The room itself was very comfortably furnished and well looked after. A light blue patterned carpet contrasted well with the combination of deep blue and cream wall decoration that was well complimented by modern beech-effect furnishings. The bed was large and subsequently proved to be very comfortable and there was also a la
rge seating area featuring an (I never know why it's called that, but...) occasional table, two armchairs and a really comfortable sofa that turned out to be, in fact, a sofa bed. Our friends' smoking room was identical in every respect except that it featured an ashtray and complimentary corporate matchbox. Theirs didn't smell of smoke. Nor did ours. Ours had a sort of Turkish Wrestler's Armpit aroma about it on our arrival, but this disappeared soon after the window was opened. And, fortunately, it opened wide. Wide enough, indeed, to lean out of and enjoy a cigarette without disturbing baby Josh or violating the non-smoking policy of the room.
We ate out in town, returned to the hotel and enjoyed a drink - well, a bottle - in our friends' room. Still alarmingly sober, we returned to our own room and enjoyed a great night's sleep. So comfortable was the bed that we very nearly overslept. There's a TV in the room with several channels. Mostly French (and why not?), but with about 5 English channels to choose from. You can have a wake-up call. We never opt for this, since Baby Josh is our human alarm clock. As it happens, he was the last to stir.
Norman is a real early bird. Bless his cotton socks. Had he not got up at 7:30am, we'd almost certainly have missed our ferry and still be in France. I hate him!
Oh - checkout was as smooth as Josh's bottom and as efficient as - well - a very efficient thing. If you're staying in the vicinity of Calais, this hotel comes with my very high recommendation and - at EUR75 per room per night - you won't be breaking the bank.
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