WAS THAT THE WRONG ADDRESS? (one night at Melia Paris Champs Elysées)

When I travel, I always learn from my errors and I try, as much as possible, to don’t repeat the same mistake more than … twice. For example, I started, when booking a hotel, that is safer to choose a well-known chain instead of an independent service provider just because a hotel brand has always standards and service flows in place, respected no matter where the hotel is located on the map of my travels. And this way of thinking always work.

At least until my last “French adventure”.

Last weekend I decided to organise a surprise trip to Paris to celebrate my better half birthday. Everything was planned in detail and when I reach the point to choose the accommodation the location was capital. That’s how I found Melia Paris Champs Elysées – excellent location, easy access to the Parisian metro network and, more than everything else Melia brand a guarantee of high standards in customer experience.

Without thinking too much I booked the top end accommodation option: Grand Suite (370 euros/night), being sure, after checking their website and knowing how deeply Melia is committed to their guest’s experience, that my one night in Melia Paris Champs Elysées will be a memorable one.

Sadly the similarities between the promoted image on Melia website (https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/france/paris/melia-paris-champs-elysees/index.htm) and the reality of 102, Avenue Victor Hugo ended with the great location and the beautiful architecture of the hotel.

Indeed, Melia Paris Champs Elysées is located in the heart of the most elegant district in the city, on a quiet, discreet and safe street with a very convenient metro, bus and RER access just a few minutes from the hotel. But the sin of “overpromise and underdeliver” was the trademark of my experience there.

I was trying to contact the hotel couple of times before, via e-mail or phone, to organise for my partner a little surprise on our arrival – a bottle a champagne, maybe a b-day cake, of course at an extra cost, but all my efforts failed. I contacted @MeliaRewards but their helped resumed to a dry “contact the hotel they will be able to help you”. At the end I decided to have a bottle in my luggage, just being happy that I was able to get in to my room a little bit earlier than expected. Of course I called the reception/guest services asking for some champagne glasses and a icebox but after a good 40 minutes waiting I ended having our first “birthday in Paris” drink from some water glasses which needed a good wash before use!

Let’s see how the “on-line promise” match the reality check at Melia Paris Champs Elysées (https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/france/paris/melia-paris-champs-elysees/grand-suite.htm)

The Grand Suite 210 was located at the second floor looking towards the quite Victor Hugo avenue from a nice big balcony. Nice and big, but not very impressive when you find between pretty flowers a glass full of cigarettes buts left by the previous customer.

Spacious, quiet and bright, the room had a bedroom and a separate lounge with a sofa-bed. Perfectly sized, the Grand Suite had the potential to be a lovely “nest” for a night in Paris. Unfortunately, like other public spaces in the hotel, “l’aspirateur” (=vacuum cleaner) didn’t visit to often the room and never been under the bed or in some corners. I know that Paris is the perfect place to have a perfect croissant but, I would like that in a normal shape not served as breadcrumbs in the most expensive room of Melia Paris Champs Elysées.

Melia always surprised me with the way of mixing trendy furniture with original interiors. In my Grand Suite the promised “stylishly decorated in black and white with wooden furniture” room was a kitschy cocktail of old furniture and a mix of sofa&armchairs stolen from a dentist waiting room.

After searching for bathrobes, I discovered that only existing one in the room passed his retirement age, being from the same generation with the towels. After tow requests at the reception we received and second one and the missing slippers. Of course, I can survive in a hotel room without a bathrobe and slippers but, please, don’t make them part of you advertised 4-star service! Remember “overpromise and underdeliver”?

The bathroom was cosy and quite nice, and I was looking forward to finding my favourite “LOEWE bathroom amenities” mentioned on the website (together with Clarins another trademark of top end rooms at Melia hotels around the world). But at Melia Paris Champs Elysées they were replaced with some ¾ empty dispenser with shower gel and shampoo which dropped in the bathtub when I was trying to use them.

The other “missing promises” on the website were ignorable, despite the fact that were part of the 370 euros paid: a broken iron and ironing board, an nonexistent iPod base and pillow menu and a basic and not very clean (somebody forget their cheese and crackers inside) minibar (reminding of an airport hotel).

Shall I mention the “welcome gift”? … of course. For a one night stay the mentioned recognition of the room level and Melia Rewards status arrived after asking at the reception twice and before going out for dinner and seemed to be whatever was left in somebody drawer + a welcome letter. Once again, I don’t need such a gift but, guys, please don’t promise something if you are not able to do it properly. It’s Melia not Travel Lodge!

The “cherry on top” was the turn-down service, always excellent at Melia hotels. This time after returning to the room around 9.00PM and trying to go out again I discover that the turn down was not excellent but inexistent! First, I called the reception and a bossy voice told me next time to remove the “do not disturb sign” from the door. Which sign? Wasn’t one in the room. When I went downstairs and spoke with the receptionist, he looked surprised and show me that, whoever was in charge ticked the box of “service done” in my room. “Let’s find a solution!” I said trying to stop the “blame the others” cascade coming from the reception side of the front desk. And the solution made me feel, once again, in a 50£/night hotel next to the airport: a pile of overused towels dropped at my door. Classy … NOT! Funny (but not ha-ha-ha funny) was that the next morning when I mentioned the issue to the reception, with a genuine smile the manager informed me that they don’t provide a “turn down” service in the hotel and the website is not updated. Great! I love a good explanation.

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In the morning I decided to try the breakfast for which, if is not included in the price of your accommodation, you will have the pay 25 euros/person. My advice? – choose one the charming cafes in Victor Hugo square where you will find a better value for money. In the hotel the breakfast was very basic, both food and service wise and, to be honest when I’m having my coffee, I don’t like to face half empty trays (at least not in a 4-star hotel)

The garden, looking fantastic on the website, was just the perfect example of the discrepancy between “promised” and “delivered” ( and yes, you can call me , obsessed!)

Website:

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vs

Reality:

Bottom line: if I will stay in an independent hotel in a good location in Paris, I will have no expectations. Will be overpriced just because is Paris and they don’t relay on return business – they will always have “first time” customers at their door. But when you are part of a renewed chain with a reputation of excellence the situation is a little bit different. If Melia Paris Champs Elysées will be my first experience with the Spanish chain for sure next time I will look somewhere else. Fortunately, I know that was an one-off failure and Melia will still stay on the list of my favourites but, I do hope that @MeliaRewards or somebody else will look in the way how the Parisian establishment is managed.

It was weird how, after my return home and after watching again the videos on their website, I had the feeling that I gave the taxi driver the wrong address and I spent one night in Paris in a pale copy-cat of the real Melia Paris Champs Elysées

~ by leonard69 on July 22, 2019.

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