A simple search based star rating (category) and type of accommodation (hotel) on Tripadvisor, would produce 79 results in Paris, with a mix between branded, chain or non-chain, affiliated and independent hotels. This is similar to other major European destinations such as Barcelona or Rome.
What few of you may be aware is that, in France, for a hotel to be officially rated 5 star by authorities, the property does NOT have to meet the following criteria:
- on site dining (even if only for breakfast and lunch or dinner)
- on site kitchen
- minimum room surface – I came across 5 star hotels in the heart of Paris with rooms of 15 sqm
- daily breakfast including hot dishes
- in-room dining
- turn-down service
- daily change of sheets
- on-site 24 hour security designated staff / personnel including third party companies (only 112 / 911)
- 24 hour reception; at night, on duty, it is usually a non-qualified or experienced Front Office staff, who cannot even perform check-in or check-out of guests between midnight and 6 am
- minimal Covid-19 safety and hygiene measures – no sanitary kits in the rooms – with at least one mask and sanitising gel; housekeeping staff not wearing protective gloves; pillows are not washed regularly in high temperature; there is no strict maximum number of guests in an elevator at one time
What is more revolting is the fact that guests are not advised in advance when they make their reservations about these shortages including offering alternatives – for example dining at a close-by dining venue – a Cafe or a bistro at least.
To add to the confusion, such ”five star” officially ranked hotels in Paris are even members of Virtuoso, one of the largest luxury travel organisations in the U.S., not to mention that many properties are ”award winning” such as Travel + Leisure or Conde Nast Traveller.
Such ”5 star” hotels in Paris are most of them very well located in the centre of the city, downtown, they have an average accommodations inventory between 30 and 70 rooms and suites, and despite their outrageously limited offerings both in terms of product and service, they would charge mid July 2021 between EUR 250-350 /night (including breakfast and taxes) for a standard room (15-25 sqm), and EUR 750-900 / night (including breakfast and taxes for a suite (30-45 sqm). Traveller should be aware that due to slow demand, they may find exceptional deals at Palace ranked hotels in Paris (the real luxury hotels in Paris)
More than one year into the pandemic and with many countries even having lifted measures, five star hotels continue to find unjustified excuses in order to maximise profits. You would find some of the following quite often:
- limited dining menus – whether it is a main restaurant or in-room dining (selection is predominantly with cold item or frozen foods cooked in microwaves)
- reduced hours for dining, including in-room dining
- restaurants which only service ”Bar” items – cold finger food / tapas and drinks
- breakfast is only in-room dining and has to be ordered a day before – even if the hotel has an operating restaurant
- at outdoor dining facilities with grill they would use fast-food style frozen ingredients (including sea-food)
- frozen bread and pastry
- slow service due to staff shortage
- staff wear the same mask for days (cost cutting)
At four such hotels in Paris, where I personally stayed, I tried to find out how I may complain, like file a report with authorities – the answers included, for example (from an owner) ”We have all papers in order, you may file any report you want. We shall never lose our 5 stars”.
If you have Covid suspicions, just leave ! Hospitality employees / staff in France are not obliged by law to get vaccinated, at least not until August 20, 2021 when some penalties and fines by the French Government may be imposed.
Post-pandemic, as demand still remains limited, you may find very good deals with Palace ranked hotels – the real luxury hotels or with hotel chains. A major hotel chain hotel even if usually ranked upscale or premium (4 star) at most international properties, in France the same branded hotels may be 5 star ranked in Paris.
We have decided not to publish the list of hotels you should avoid, but instead the hotel you may opt for without fear of being cheated.
CPP recommended five star hotels in Paris: (these are NOT Palace ranked)
CPP recommends all Palace ranked hotels in Paris except Le Crillon Paris, which has restricted and limited the access of media since re-opening under Rosewood Hotels management in 2017. CPP has reviewed all Palace ranked hotels in Paris, 7 of them for a second or even third time between June 15th 2020 – July 20th 2021
Oliver Petcu in Paris
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