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I have just returned from a brilliant few days in Paris. We went with a coach company and so it was all 'planned for us'. Because it was all arranged, the hotel we were staying at was already chosen for us. We paid £235 which included three nights B & B as well as for the travel on the bus including a return on the ferry crossing, and so I am not sure how much we actually paid for the hotel. The hotel which we stayed at while we were in Paris was 'Le Mecure' which was located in the 'La Defense' region of Paris. Mecure is part of a big brand of hotels by Accor who are a big multinational corporation. There are over 750 hotels all over the World. We arrived at the hotel at around 9:30pm on Sunday evening; we were quite glad to finally arrive at the hotel as we had been on the road since 6:00am that morning and so it had been a very long day. As we were a large party, we all stayed on the bus whilst the bus driver went off to the reception to collect the room keys for us all. Because of this, we didn't really need to speak to the reception, as once we had got our keys we could go straight to our rooms which was good. However, as there was another couple with the same surname as us (I was ok because I was sharing with a friend with a different surname so we knew which keys were ours.) my parents were unsure which keys were theirs and which were another couples with the same surname. We went to reception to ask and were told that the ones that my parents had were theirs and that it had all been sorted. So when we went up to the room, my parents and I had a struggle trying to get their key to work and so after lots of trying they had to go back down and get it sorted. The keys were the usual 'insert card in slot and wait for the green light' ones, although the light kept going red. We then had to go to reception and explain that the key wasn't working and they said 'that's not your key' even though had assured us that it was. Finding the room was quite easy. We had requested a 'low floor' room as we are scared of heights and lifts! We had originally thought that our rooms would probably be on the first floor (we didn't want them that low, but thought that the second floor would be good). We were on the fifth floor. We figured this out because all the 100 -200 were on the first floor, then 200-300 was the second floor and so on. So as our room was 535 we were on the fifth floor. Finding our room was quite simple; we took the lift which took us straight up to the fifth floor. We followed the signs to find our room. ~ * The Room * ~ We stayed in room 535 and had requested it as a twin. The room was quite small yet at the same time quite spacious. I found that the door to our room was very heavy which made opening it quite a struggle. We had our 'two single beds' although they were very close together and our duvets (we had one each) were touching - so they may as well given us a double bed as the single beds were just pushed together but with a tiny gap of about 10cm to seperate them. The beds were quite low and quite hard; we had two pillows. I still managed to sleep ok though. The wardrobe was located right by the door, to the left; it wasn't that big a wardrobe. My friend didn't want to pull her clothes out of her suitcase and so left them there, although I pulled all of mine out and put them in the wardrobe and it was almost full ( I only put about 5 tops and two pairs of trousers). Clothes hangers were provided in the wardrobe - although there is never enough is there? So I had to put the rest of my clothes on the 'floor' of the wardrobe. In the other half of the wardrobe was a shelf where I put my shoes. Underneath here was a fridge; although there were no items in the fridge, which was a good thing for us because we had bought lots of drinks and needed somewhere to keep them cool. By the side of the wardrobe there was a small 'built in' sofa which was by the dressing table. The dressing table was long with plenty of room to put all of my make-up, perfumes, jewellry etc on. There were also three large draws (I only ended up using one). There was a television in the middle of the dressing table. When I put it on I could only find the French channels, although I did come across a music channel called 'Tube' where there were some music (both English and French) on which we listened to in the mornings. I particulalry enjoyed listening to the French music as it was interesting to see what their 'pop music' was like. Although, I couldn't find the channel in the evenings. I didn't think that there were any English channels although when we were on the bus on the way home I heard some people saying 'well we were watching this programme' and the other people were asking 'were there English channels' and they said that they were. One thing which I loved about the room was the massive window; which consisted of three large 'door-type' windows. What I loved the most about these windows were that they opened fully (not like usual windows in hotels which only let you open them a fraction). So this was really good. It was a massive 'health and safety risk' come to think of it as we were quite high up, although I really liked that we had such a good window. The bathroom was very small. The toilet was to the side of the door; the doorstop for the door was almost touching the front of the toilet. The sink was big and the mirror was very big which was good. We had a bath and shower in one. The shower was ok with lots of power, although there was only a small glass sheild (no curtain or anything) and so I found that the floor was soaked when I got out of the bath even though I was trying not to get it on the floor. There were a range of temperatures which was nice. I am more of a bath person that a shower, although I do like a shower as a 'quick-get-ready-and-go' and for a freshen up. On the last night, I decided to relax in the bath. The bath was quite small with not much room. I stayed in the bath for a while and whilst I was there I could smell a strong smell of urine; which I did not know where it was coming from, but it was horrible. We had a nice view from our hotel room; it was of like a 'courtyard' which was very quiet; only the odd person walking their dog, which was nice as we had seen so many people that it was nice to be able to 'see' a view properly without loads of people being in the way. We could see lots of buildings from our room and in the distance we could see the top of the Eiffel Tower; this was particulalry nice at night as it lit up (a kind of yellow colour) and so it really stood out. But what made it even more magical that every night on the hour it was light up lots of pinky/champagne colours and it was 'glitter' which was a nice experience especially as we had a clear view with the windows wide open. We could only see the top 1/4 of the tower from our room and so I can't imagine how amazing it would have looked had we been able to see all of it glitter. We were given tea, coffee, sugar, milk etc. We were only given one small milk each which wasn't enough for a cup of tea. These were replenished every day. However, on the second day, when we returned there were two bottles of water waiting for us. But they were only there on the second day. There was a hairdryer in the bathroom which I thought was quite dangerous as it was by the dink. There was a safe in the bedroom which was easy to use. I probably wouldn't have used it (as when I have stayed in hotels before, I had never used them), but when we went on the cruise last year they told us to use them and we did, and so I felt confident using the safe in this bedroom. All you had to do was come up with a four digit number and press a button; so very simple. ~ * Breakfast * ~ We were only on a Bed and Breakfast rate and so breakfast was our only experience of the 'restaurant' was at breakfast. On the night of arrival, the bus driver had given us two tokens each which we were to use for breakfast. One of the tokens was white and the other blue although they had the same information on the them; which was that breakfast was at 7.30am on the first floor. On the first day, we went down to the ground floor thinking that was the first floor as we had seen a restaurant there the night before. So when we got there we thought 'oh this looks quite nice' (kind of like the hotel restaurants you get in the UK - if that makes sense). We were then greeted by a waitress who told us that we were to go to the first floor. So up to the first floor we went and joined a massive queue. We were waiting for around ten minutes. When we got into the 'restaurant', I was really disappointed. It was more like a 'cupboard' than a restaurant. The tables were long and basic (like the kind you would seen in a party at your village hall). The lights were bright and it was just a horrible little room with no atmosphere at all. The buffet was a help-yourself-one which I was really looking forward to. I thought that there would be loads of cheeses and pastriest etc. When we got there, you had to 'grab' your own wooden tray which had a knife, fork, spoon and napkin on. You then had to wait in the queue to help yourself to the buffet. To your right was the buffet, and to the left was like a glass shield; and it was very narrow and so only allowed one person between the buffet and the glass sheild and so you had to wait for everyone in front of you to go before you could 'get out' even if you didn't want anything from the buffet. I was really disappointed with the breakfast. The buffet was really poor. There was a basket of croissants and a basket of bread, some yoghurts, plates which consisted of one slice of ham and a slice of funny-looking cheese (it wasn't even presented nicely, just like something you would 'throw together' at home'. There was some sausaged and scrambled egg and that was it. There was some 'juice' - only one 'type'. There was some machines for coffee, hot water and milk. I was looking forward to a cup of tea but I couldn't see any tea bags and so went without. I didn't like this way of breakfast at all. Whilst at the breakfast I felt in a real rush as the people behind were trying to hurry you up and so all I had each day for breakfast was a 'mini croissant' and a glass of orange juice which were nice, but I had expected to fill up on loads of yummy cheeses etc. I did have a small bowl of fruit which looked fresh on the first day, but on the second day it was just like tinned fruit cocktail. The juice was freshly squeezed though and so very nice. The tables were we ate breakfast were horrible; no nice table cloths, no cutlery or plates or sugar or milk on the tables; just what you put down yourself. The system of this also gave the impression that you could not go up to get something else from the buffet (like you would in a normal hotel). I found the staff to be really abrupt and looked at you a bit like you were 'a pain' and as though they didn't trust you rather than a customer. They weren't pleasant which I was suprised at, especially working in a hotel restaurant myself. I understand that as we were part of a bus company and had so got it very cheaply and so we were on a very 'basic' thing, although I still thought that the breakfast was poor value for money. Especially as the hotel is part of a massive company and had hundreds of people staying there; so it wasn't like they couldn't afford to give us a little bit extra. I think that if we had been staying as individuals rather than a part of a large group then we would have had a much nicer breakfast in the room which we had originally thought we were going to have breakfast. ~ * The Bar * ~ There was a small bar on the ground floor which we went to. The barman in here was very pleasant. The cost of one beer was 8 Euros which I thought was quite expensive. There was a nice atmosphere in this little bar; they had some comfy chairs with tables, and some fancy 'swing-around' red stools by the bar. The counter on the bar itself was made from glass which made the bar look trendy. ~ * Extra Information and hints and tips * ~ The hotel is around a ten minute walk from the acutal 'La Defense area'. The staff that we spoke with could speak English which was good. The restaurant was closed in the evenings whilst we were there due to the 'holidays' (?). It would have been nice to see what the restaurant was like as we did find trouble finding somewhere to eat and ended up having McDonalds the second night. So it's best check to whether the restaurant is open before going in case you are relying on eating there. Room service is available between 6:30am - 11.00pm seven days a week, although we didn't use this service and so I am unable to comment. There was a little 'shop' around the corner by reception. It sold sweets, Ice cream and drinks etc. It was more of a little kiosk rather than a shop. We had a quick look at it whilst passing. I remember seeing the prices and thinking 'wow that's expensive', but I can't remember now. Although, in most of the places we went to (such as cafes, shops, and vending machines), a bottle of Coca Cola was around 3-3.50 Euros which I thought was a lot especially as 1 Euro is almost the same as £1 now. We were on the fifth floor and one time we turned the wrong way to our room, although we ended up finding out that the hotel actually goes round in a circle. So our room was 535 so most of the time we turned the way were the rooms started at '501', although one day we turned left instead of right and went the way the rooms were '570' were starting although we went round in a circle and ended up by room '501' at the end of it. So bear in mind that it goes round in a circle and so you shouldn't get lost. Apparently this hotel is very popular with business people. Although all the people that we saw were tourists and were part of large coach groups like ours. There were so many buses parked outside the hotel in the 'bus park' that sometimes there wasn't a free space. Whilst I didn't really have to deal with reception (apart from trying to sort the keys out, but I just happened to be there rather than doing the talking), they did look very professional and efficient looking; probably the most professional and efficient receptionists I have ever seen. There is a free WI-FI service although we didn't use this. The room was sound-proof - we couldn't hear much noise, even when the windows were wide open. The restaurant staff weren't very nice. We didn't have waiter service but whilst at the buffet they made you feel really uncomfortable and as though we were 'in the way'. Working in the hospitality industry myself I was suprised to see that they aren't very pleasant with the guests - where I work we always have to pleasant to the guests, whereas they were acting as though we were a pain; which I don't think we were really because they only had to top up the buffet; they didn't have to take our order, bring us drinks, bring our food, clear our plates or clear our table. We had to clear our own table and put our plates and cups etc on the tray and stack it (like you do in college!). They didn't have to set up the table for lunch, polish glasses, make napkins etc like we have to do. They were also telling people off for going up for more tea etc. I saw another waitress telling another waitress to watch the buffet but in a way that made you feel uncomfortable, like they were afraid you were going to 'take' something that you won't supposed to from the buffet. So as you can see, I wasn't impressed with the restaurant staff, and I think what made it worse was the fact that I do the same job and so I perhaps noticed it most because of that. Although , I also think that I would have noticed even if I didn't work in a restaurant. The funny thing is, is that if you look on their website, the hotel praises itself on some of the awards it had acheived for ~ * Final Thoughts * ~ Whilst I enjoyed my holiday I probably wouldn't stay at this hotel again. Although, we were lucky that we were so busy and had such a great time in Paris itself that we didn't use the room that much; only for sleeping mainly which was good! Although I am sure that had we been staying as individuals rather than a large group we would have had a better experience at this hotel. Thanks for reading! August 2011 xd-o-n-z-x (also posted under xdonzx on ciao).