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Ibis Strasbourg Palais Des Congres (France)

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6 Avenue Pierre Mendes- / France / Schiltigheim Cedex 67311 / France.

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      27.02.2008 16:30
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      A reasonable no-frills option if in Strasbourg

      12 times a year, I spend Monday to Thursday in the Alsacian city of Strasbourg, as my main place of work relocates in accordance with Treaty provisions agreed by all the governments of the European Union. Leaving aside the huge waste of resources this entails and the enormous carbon footprint of the whole exercise, it is a chore and a source of great strain for those of us who have to endure it. The hours are long, and since the people one is with in the evening are your work colleagues, you never feel off duty. Additionally, since for 12 weeks of the year the city has a massive influx of people, the availability of hotel rooms is severely tested, and I have tried various options over the years. Most recently, I have been staying at the Ibis Strasbourg Expo Congres in Schiltigheim, which is the subject of this review.

      ==== IBIS, PART OF THE ACCOR GROUP ====

      Ibis is one of the brands in the Accor Group of hotels, with establishments all round the world. The flagship brand is Sofitel, then in decreasing order of opulence there are Pullman, Mercure, Novotel, Suitehotel, Adagio, Ibis, All Seasons, Etap and Formule 1. Thus, Ibis is a two star hotel, and caters more for the budget end than the business traveler with a large expense account. The Accor Group offers a number of loyalty schemes, the one I have is called the Accor Favourite Guest Card, which costs Euro130 and entitles you to 10% off your bill (20% for Sofitel, 15% Novotel), with the exception of phone calls, and gives you points which can be redeemed for vouchers that can be used for weekend stays in Accor Hotels. The card also gives a certain degree of priority when it comes to reservations, and without a card during those 12 weeks it is impossible to get a room in the Ibis.

      Reservations can be made online through www.accorhotels.com or directly with the hotel.

      ===== LOCATION ====

      This Ibis hotel lies about 3 miles from the cathedral in the centre of Strasbourg. It is on a very busy road with a tram line running up the middle - tram stop Futura Glacière. Next to the hotel is an Italian restaurant and bar, and a supermarket opposite the rear entrance, in a more residential area. There is on-street parking in the residential roads, and the hotel does have spaces in a local car park, although I've not used that.

      ===== CHECK-IN, CHECK OUT, STAFF EFFICIENCY ====

      Check-in was very efficient. Since the weeks I am there are the busiest for the hotel, the card keys are all prepared and marked up ready to be handed over with the minimum of fuss. Check out is almost as straightforward, although depending on the number of people wanting to check out in the morning, some delay might be expected. I usually settle my bill the night before I leave, and have never had any problems. The staff are friendly and efficient, which was not always my experience in other Ibis hotels in Strasbourg. I generally speak French to them, although all the staff have indications on their name badges of which languages they speak, and all seem to speak English.

      ===== ROOM =====

      For a two-star room, this Ibis provides a good sized bedroom, with double bed, TV with about 15 TV channels (only BBC world in England), a writing desk built in. The bathroom has a shower over the bath, as well as sink and loo. The rooms are spacious for a budget hotel, clean and light. During my last two stays, I have had a room on the tram side, but I have not noticed any noise, although I am not easily disturbed on that score as a rule. There is no mini-bar, and you have to ask reception to unlock the phone, even if you are only intending to ask for an alarm call.

      ===== RESTAURANTS AND OTHER FACILITIES ====

      There are no gym or meeting room facilities. However, WiFi is available throughout the hotel, provided by Orange hotspot, for which you can buy vouchers at reception or by credit card when you log on. The big advantage with this Ibis compared the one I stayed in before is that it has a pleasant bar area, and a restaurant. The restaurant has salad bar and a full menu, with special formulas offering main course and dessert for around Euro12. The pasta dishes are around Euro10, and a reasonable size. Drinks are reasonable, especially after the 10% Ibis discount is included.

      ===== OVERALL ====

      No-one stays at an Ibis if they want luxury. However, Ibis offers a clean and comfortable stay, which is all I am really looking for on my all-too-regular stays, and which is harder to find than you might think. The rate is Euro64 a night, Monday to Thursday and Euro52 for Friday-Sunday, prices before the Ibis Card discount. Breakfast is Euro8, but I've never eaten there, having plenty of breakfast meetings. If you are on a budget, you can do worse than stay here. However, it is a tram ride out of the centre of town, and it is not the height of opulence. In short, it is a reasonable no-frills option.

      This review has also appeared on ciao

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