“ Address: 46 Rue Lucien Sompaix / 75010 / Paris „
I'd like to think that I have become British-ised. I have lived in the UK for 25 years and I lived in Germany for just over a year before that. You'd think, therefore, I'd be used to slightly pokey hotel rooms with small beds and 'interesting' showers. Nevertheless, I still appear to be surprised each time I stay in a small European hotel. My experience in the three star Hotel Belta in the 10th arrondissement in Paris (near St Martin's Canal) was typical for a European independent hotel. Reasonably clean, somewhat comfortable but spectacularly uninspiring.
~~~~~ Disclaimer ~~~~~
Before this comes across as a complaint, note that I did not pay anything for this. We used Avios (air miles) for the flight and the hotel, thus paying the princely sum of £60 (for both of us, not each) for flights from Heathrow to Paris and three nights in the Hotel Belta. I would be much less happy had we paid full rack rate for this hotel - at the time of writing around Euro130 for a double room.
~~~~~ End disclaimer ~~~~~
The hotel is in the 10th arrondissement of Paris within walking distance of Gare de l'est (the East train station - one Metro stop from Gare du Nord). It is in a mixed use road with residences and bars, cafés and shops nearby. The road is neither especially noisy nor especially quiet - it's about what you'd expect in the centre(ish) of a major city. However, I am glad we were on the sixth floor (of six). This cuts down the noise significantly, especially as there is no air-conditioning. Had we needed the windows open at night (we didn't - it was May with a mixed bag of weather) we certainly would have noticed the hustle and bustle from the road and bars. It is also near St Martin's Canal. The canal is unusual; it's slightly above road level and has levered instead of draw bridges - the bridge moves to one side when a boat goes past.
The entrance looks a bit dated and the reception area is fairly small, though clean (although you couldn't say the same for the fish tank - it really could do with a good scrubbing). The front of house staff (the one man who seemed to be the sole receptionist - he may be the proprietor) was very friendly. He spoke reasonable English, though rarely, as my companion speaks fluent French (which he clearly appreciated). He was helpful and welcoming and check-in was quick and efficient. I wish, however, I could say the same for the lift...
As we were on the sixth floor, we needed the lift, especially with three days' worth of luggage for two people. We called the lift. And waited. And waited. And waited a bit more. Eventually it came and lordy, was it dinky. According to the plaque within, it would fit four people, but it would be a rather tight and cosy squeeze. The lift is slow so patience is required. Fortunately, we had that.
The rooms open with a key card. The room was...pokey. Inside was a double bed - oh wait, I lie. It was actually two single beds duct taped together by the legs (I'm not making that up). There was a small desk (on which, much to my shock, sat an ashtray), an open hanging space with four or five hangars and a small flat screen TV above that. Next to the bottom of the bed is a full length mirror, and next to that the amazingly tiny bathroom with a sink, toilet and shower cubical. There were no tea or coffee making facilities - indeed, no extras, except free yet quirky wi-fi, of any sort (not even a Gideon's Bible).
The television picked up CNN, a lot of French channels (quelle surprise) and a smattering of German channels. Never mind - we weren't there to watch TV. The bathroom was, as noted small, and the facilities just about adequate. There were two of the tiny little soaps (what possible use to man or beast or those?!) and two minuscule sachets of shower gel. There was no shampoo or conditioner; fortunately, I'd brought my own. The towels were small, white and thin (except one on our last day - for some reason we seem to have acquired a larger, fluffier towel. Most welcome.). The shower was...interesting. It would more accurately be described as a large, high tap. The water just fell out; there was no spray nozzle. It did get me adequately wet but wasn't terribly exhilarating. Fortunately, it was hot and didn't seem to suffer from unexpected temperature changes.
Despite the Heath-Robinson nature of the bed(s), it was reasonably comfortable, though more than one flat, synthetic pillow each would have been a bonus. We were warm enough with a sheet, a blanket each (clearly they don't possess double blankets) and continental duvet/bedspread doing the job (indeed, we didn't use the duvet at all). As the weather was not especially stifling we slept with the windows closed, however they do open fully giving a nice view of the local area.
Some tariffs include breakfast; ours didn't (not shocking given what we paid) so we did not try the continental buffet breakfast on offer in the basement. Reviews I've read on TripAdvisor weren't very complimentary, so we avoided it and ate croissants elsewhere. However, had we chosen to eat there, it would have set us back, I believe, Euro9.00.
Check-out was quick and the receptionist/proprietor booked us a (what turned out to be a slightly scary) airport shuttle and was, as mentioned, really very pleasant and helpful. I didn't see nor speak to any other members of staff at the hotel - besides cleaners I have no idea if there are any (there must be).
For what we paid, the hotel was ... adequate. It gave us a roof over our heads, hot water and a bed (of sorts). However, were I paying full price I'd have been very disappointed indeed. Whilst I know Paris is an expensive city, I would guess that with a bit of careful shopping and pre-booking, one could find a homier, roomier and/or more comfortable hotel at a similar price. However, if you do find yourself there, as long as you know what to expect, you'll have a reasonable stay.