The city of love, home to the most visited museum on the planet, The Louvre (attracting more than 8 million visitors a year), isn’t only romantic when it comes to the arts. The language has made millions fall at its feet and with a cityscape famous, especially when lit up, my next stop Paris, is bound to be a home for hopeless romantics.
Being one of the most densely populated cities in the world means that Paris has been responsible for so much culturally and economically in many areas, including fashion, architecture (with some of the world’s most famous monuments) and arts. For the past two consecutive years, it has been ranked amongst the three most important and influential cities in the world.
My hotel here is a small boutique hotel by the name of Melia Royal Alma. Within just a 10 minute walk to Champs Elysees and the Bateaux Mouches Boat Tours, the location is magnifique.
Although this hotel sits a couple of roads off the main shopping sanctuary, this is not your average backstreet. My walk to Champs Elysees included a detour into Dolce and Gabbana and Chanel. Not quite backstreet at all, eh? 10 minutes in the other direction of the hotel, you approach the boat tours, allowing you to discover the beauty of Paris by water, on the banks of the River Seine, captivating The Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. This is the essence of the hotel – its location and the charm of the staff. Other than this there is little on offer, there are no restaurants, just a bar and the option of room service that finishes at 10:30pm. No gym or spa and in-room facilities are basic. Although there is internet connection, TV, mini bar and hairdryer, that is all. Rooms/bathrooms are small but comfortable. This hotel focuses more on the simple things, rather than being hot on gadgets.
My view of Rue Jean Goujon was lovely. Not as exciting or busy as more orthodox top views, but I loved it. It showed quaint Paris, with parked motorcycles belonging to locals and a cute little French restaurant with waiters smoking outside on their breaks.
Typical of boutique hotels, it certainly does create a sense of intimacy. The smaller spaces create an ambience which is sometimes lost in larger chains. Even though the Anglo-French sibling rivalry dates back centuries, I certainly felt none of it during my stay. Everyone is so lovely and willing to help. The hotel staff went out of their way to try to understand the French I mixed up with Spanish! When I struggle, they help me by teaching me new words with such pride of their beautiful language. One of the staff delivered my coffee to me this evening and I attempted French (badly) and she stopped to teach me a few words. Who has the time to do this stuff these days? When I wanted to take a picture at the bar, the barman, Slim, spent ages taking a few photos, just to get it right. I felt like a celebrity, it’s just a shame no one else was there to watch.
The doormen, receptionists and concierges always welcomed me with smiles. The head receptionist’s customer service skills were exceptional, ensuring everything was taken care of with my airport transfer, along with the other things I’d requested. He also fixed my broken suitcase. He really is my hero.
This may be a very small hotel with no restaurant and a curfew on munching room service but its ideal location and warm staff makes it one of a kind. I loved Paris and I can safely say that the ‘crème de la crème’ were the people, including the guys and girls here at Melia. One of the best cities I have seen has romanced me and whisked me off my feet, and that’s before even hearing the accent. I am off to Amsterdam guys, my last stop! See you then!