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doodlebugg Dec 12th, 2009 04:47 PM

Paris Hotels- 3 star versus 4 star
Hello wise fodorites-

Hubby and I are planning our first trip to Paris for our 10th wedding anniversary May 2010.
We've narrowed our location down to the 6e neighborhood- how big of a difference is there between 3 star and 4 star hotels? It's so hard to tell looking at their websites- they all look fabulous- but there is a HUGE difference in price.
Backtracking a bit- we are both tall people and a double bed is a deal breaker- we are only looking for rooms with queen size or larger. I know that narrows the playing field quite a bit- but I have been able to find a few 3 stars in our area that have queen size beds. But the difference in price between those rooms and 4 star rooms is stunning.
Example- Hotel Odeon St. Germain has a Junior Suite for 215 Euro a night. Hotel L'Abbaye's room with Queen size bed is 460 Euro a night. What gives?!? They both seem to offer the exact same thing!
How much of a upgrade is 4 star? Is it really worth all that money?

Beth- Boston, MA

StCirq Dec 12th, 2009 05:22 PM

They definitely do NOT offer the same thing. The star system in France bears no relationship to the star system in the USA, so there can be wild variations in prices for hotels according to category. It's all based on "amenities," so if a hotel has upscale everything but doesn't serve breakfast or doesn't have an elevator, it can become a 3-star instead of a 4-star, or even become a 2-star.

And there are no "queen-size" beds in France. The equivalent, yes, but often they are two "singles" pushed together.

Just pick a hotel that has all the amenities you want at a price you can afford.

travelhorizons Dec 12th, 2009 06:16 PM

The differences have to do with such things as room size, quality of room furnishings, and quality of the service provided. In general, 3-stars are pretty ordinary, you get more elegance with a 4-star, and hopefully top-of-the-line service and accommodations with 5-star like the George V or Le Meurice.

Hotel l'Abbaye is really a very nice, elegant small hotel. Depends upon how much you value creature comforts!

christabir Dec 12th, 2009 06:53 PM

My husband is 6'4" and we got a real bed at the Hotel Millesime in a deluxe room. The bed was a king, and it wasn't two beds pushed together. I've had that in other European/Africa hotels, but not there. The hotel is in a great location and it's a good 3 star and I think a good value. If they still have the package deal that includes a ride from the airport, breakfast, metro tix, drinks at the D'Aubusson and a boat ride, it's a really good deal.

Echnaton Dec 13th, 2009 02:39 AM

We have stayed at quite a few 3-star hotels in Paris and in other French towns, and some of them had been really nice and charming.

However, the general rule is that you will face some shortcomings in 3-star hotels, e.g. very small rooms, odd floor plans, dated bathrooms, cobwebs in the corners, creaking floors, mended linens. If you consider this part of the fun, go for a 3-star hotel.

If you expect perfection, 4-star level will be the better choice for you.

avalon Dec 13th, 2009 03:30 AM

I'll echo christobar, My Dh is also 6'4" and the Millesime beds fir him just fine. There are several good hotels along rue Jacob. All 3 stars and all with some very nice roome.I've stayed at Millesime, D'Angleterre, Marroniers and the Danube. All have good sized rooms and nice furnishings

doodlebugg Dec 13th, 2009 05:09 AM

Thanks for all your responses!
The reviews on the Millesime here and on tripadvisor do not indicate that there are cobwebs in the corners or mended linens- something I have a hard time tolerating. It's interesting though, they show their deluxe room has a queen size bed, not a king.
I will check out reviews on some of the above hotels mentioned along Rue Jacob. This seems like a very good locale for a first visit to Paris.

amwosu Dec 13th, 2009 05:10 AM

European government star ratings indicate objective quantity rather than subjective quality. A three star hotel may have far more charm, be cleaner, better located, etc but if it doesn't have certain amenities it cannot ever be a four star hotel. Here is a good explanation.

Luisah Dec 13th, 2009 06:20 AM

<<very small rooms, odd floor plans, dated bathrooms, cobwebs in the corners, creaking floors, mended linens. If you consider this part of the fun, go for a 3-star hotel.>>

The above description sounds more like a one or no star hotel in Paris.

I've stayed in several 3 star hotels and a couple of two star hotels in Paris and have never seen cobwebs in the corner or mended linens. Most of the rooms have been on the small side but all have been clean and comfortable and have modern bathrooms.

avalon Dec 13th, 2009 06:26 AM

European bed sizes differ from US bed sizes

StCirq Dec 13th, 2009 06:41 AM

<<very small rooms, odd floor plans, dated bathrooms, cobwebs in the corners, creaking floors, mended linens. If you consider this part of the fun, go for a 3-star hotel.>>

That has never been my experience at ANY 3-star hotel in Paris or anywhere else in Europe. Rubbish.

amwosu Dec 13th, 2009 07:05 AM

<...odd floor plans, dated bathrooms, cobwebs in the corners, creaking floors, mended linens...>

Are we talking about Travel site (orbitz, expedia, etc) star ratings or French government star ratings? American travel website star rating tend more toward quality ratings which include cleanliness and service. That type of rating system varies from website to website and has absolutely nothing to do with the standardized French government star rating system which only considers objective quantitative measures.

Floor plan, age of bathroom, and cleanliness are all subjective quality issues not addressed by European government star ratings. The French government rating uses something like 22 objective quantitative measurements such as room size, lighting, soundproofing, heating/air conditioning, and presence of an elevator. Cleanliness and age are not measured at all and to find out about those concerns you should turn to hotel reviews on tripadvisor and venere.

Echnaton Dec 13th, 2009 07:21 AM

This should answer all questions:

BTW, it includes quite a few criteria of subjective quality: you will read "propre et en bon état" several times.

doodlebugg: If the TA reviews do not mention any problems and if the traveller photos on TA are okay, it should be okay. In my experience, even the slightest patch of mold is complained about in TA reviews.

Christina Dec 13th, 2009 09:48 AM

I usually stay in 3 star hotels, and on average, I do feel a difference in 2 and 3 star hotels. I've only stayed in one 4 star in Paris. But the problem is that it varies by hotel. What you found has nothing to do with 3 versus 4 star hotels in Paris, on average, it has to do that the 4* hotel you are looking at is probably one of the most expensive 4* hotels in Paris.

They do have queen size beds in France, although many hotels do not. It's simply a 160 cm wide mattress, which you certainly can buy in French stores. King size beds are usually two 90 cm pushed together, though, although I think you can know buy a 180 cm mattess. You'd have to ask a hotel to make sure what they are offering, though.

I don't agree with some of the above comments on 3* hotels, the ones I stay at don't have cobwebs, etc., they just have different service levels. In fact, the 4* hotel I stayed at in Paris had kind of shabbier furniture and carpets than my usual 3* (none have been dirty, however, and many 4* hotels have very small rooms at the cheap end).

christabir Dec 13th, 2009 02:54 PM

Avalon - we like the same neighborhood! All good options but since we know what we are getting we stick with the same place. We have all had terrible experiences in one hotel or another in Europe or the US. We always stay in 3 star and for the most part have been very happy with them - as long as they are clean, we can usually get by.

Monyhony Dec 13th, 2009 04:01 PM

stayed at K+K Hotel Cayré Sept '09; metro out front door (Rue du Bac); breakfast excellent; staff A1; rooms and bath great; don't disappoint yourself by trading down.

cynthia_booker Dec 13th, 2009 08:28 PM

In even the most modest 2 star hotels where I have stayed in Paris, I have never seen any cobwebs or linens that were or needed mending, or anything less than very clean premises. Worn, yes. Small, certainly. Maybe I have been lucky, but no matter what other deficiencies may have existed, never any complaints about cleanliness.
Part of the fun - I don't think so.

kerouac Dec 13th, 2009 09:13 PM

Yes, I am very intrigued by the thought of mended linen in a 3-star hotel. However, I would expect it if staying in a 1-star hotel in a backwater town. And maybe the linen would not even be mended.

tod Dec 14th, 2009 05:09 AM

I think you are aiming for something as good as this:

Paul1950 Dec 14th, 2009 05:35 AM

In the French hotel rating system, stars are awarded for amenities, NOT for quality of service, cleanliness, types of linens used, location, charm, ambiance, decor, and such. So a hotel that does not have a conference room, restaurant, or separate concierge service might never qualify to be a 4-star property, even though it might be the best hotel in Paris otherwise. And if it's a small hotel (see below) it might never be more than a 2-star in the official French rating system even though it is perfect in every other way.

It seems likely that a 4-star will have better service and linens than a 1 or 2 star, but it's not included in the ratings or guaranteed in any way.

Here are examples of some of the major rating factors in France:

Room sizes
Number of rooms (Must have at least 7 rooms to be a 2- star; 10 rooms to be a 3-star)
Phone system
Room soundproofing
Heating and air-conditioning
Design of bathroom facilities
Electrical equipment

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