Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

What are the 1 and 2 star hotels in Paris really like?

What are the 1 and 2 star hotels in Paris really like?

Old Nov 20th, 2003, 08:33 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 31
What are the 1 and 2 star hotels in Paris really like?

Recently there has been lots of ads for cheap winter trips to Paris. Air and hotel for $399.00 (plus tax). They put you up in one and two star hotels. What are these places really like? Do they have: super small rooms? Lumpy beds, paper thin walls? Rooms that look over a busy intersection?, no TV?

Does anyone have an experience with the hotels in Paris, or other European cities, that are at the cheapest end of the price range?
travelerquestion is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 311
Hi traveler,

All of the above. In paris, rooms are small, smaller than london on average. Unless you are paying for a 4 or 5 star hotel, most of the time even your 3 star are small.

One and two star rooms usually mean no elevator, no air, no room service, no amenities, and small rooms. they man not have a en suite(bathroom) in the room. It usually does not refer to condition of hotel. I have stayed in a 3 star hotel that was a dirt bag. so it depends on the hotel. A friend of mine took a picture of her 2 star hotel an it was 2 thin twin beds pushed together and up against the wall. Two people could not walk around the bed to the door at the same time. the door opened inward and almost hit the bed. They had a small...small bathroom with just a shower and loo. It was small.

Here's the thing, though, if you have to travel on a budget and can't afford a 4 star hotel, you have two options, not going until you can afford the quality that you want, or going and making do and thinking of it as just a bed to put your head down at night.

I would not stay in a 1 or 2 star after I have been in a 4 star in Paris. It is the world of difference. But that is me and I can afford to choose.

hope this helps.

erinb is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 09:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,631
First, the objective info:
The tourism ministry gives one to four stars to most hotels, but stars are based on things like percentage of rooms with full baths, the space dimensions of the lobby and the presence of elevators and TVs. None of this may matter as much as your specific room--plus all the intangibles that aren't factored in, from the location, to the noise level, to the option of having breakfast in a garden. Those star ratings are based on government standards, do not confuse them with ?stars? given out by guide books.

At other hotels, ask about streetside vs. courtyard. Courtyard rooms are likely to be quieter, while streetside rooms may require keeping the windows closed against noise--no fun in hot weather. That said, rooms on the street are likely to have more light, especially on the desirable top floor. And some have interesting views, be they of stove-pipe chimneys or grand monuments. Paper-thin walls, bad mattresses, small rooms, no a/c or tv,busy noisy locations, can occur in all categories except perhaps palaces like the Ritz,et al.

1* hotels generally do not have an elevator. Their furnishings are simple, and they may not have a bathroom or a shower in all rooms. Mostly, they do not. They often do have a sink in the room. You have to use the toilet down the hall if you do not have a bathroom attached to your room.

2** hotels do have an elevator. Aside from this fact they are generally nicer in all respects than a 1* hotel. Most have a bath or a shower at least with each double room, but not all. Most often, they are not air-conditioned.

There are gems and disappointments within every star category. Sometimes a hotel meets all the criteria for a higher star category but chooses not to apply for the higher ranking for financial reasons.

THat said, every traveler has different expectations, especially vis a vis the price being charged. I don't stay in one-star places anymore--too many of them have the negatives cited above (lumpy beds, etc.)The one-stars are often very aware that they are catering to a very budget-conscious, often student, crowd. Some no doubt give more than is minimally necessary, but I'm not willing any more to take the chance unless I read rave recommendations on message boards, and I am especially strapped for cash.

Rather than look at just star ratings, read comments on hotels here, at tripadvisor.com, and other message boards. It's easy to see a consensus for the gems.
elaine is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,871
I have never stayed in a 1* hotel but have a general idea. I can't imagine a tour package using them, but 1-2* cheap hotels in Paris will very likely have most of the things you state. That's why they are cheap. Nicer 2* hotels will not be in those cheap air packages, you can bet on it. They may be in some packages, but not those rock-bottom ones. 1* hotels don't have hardly anything, but a 2* Parisian hotel will almost always have a TV and an elevator. You can bet a tour package room in a 1-2* hotel at that rate will indeed be super small and probably be in an undesirable location (which may or may not be looking over a busy intersection), and the walls probably will be thin.

You will get what you pay for, most likely.
Christina is online now  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 10:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,642
Agreeing with all those above, but the 1 and 2 star hotels in the most touristed areas *tend* to be the least attractive. In mostly residential neighborhoods, a little farther from the main sights, you can find some quite nice, even charming places with surprisingly spacious rooms. We rented an apartment in the Auteuil section of the 16th arrond. a few years ago and above one of the cafes my husband frequented was a little one star hotel that was perfectly pleasant. No elevator, but the rooms they were clean and and comfortable (we checked the rooms out of curiousity). They had an old-fashioned, but not shabby, feel. Some, but not all, had private baths.
BTilke is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,557
Hi elaine and Btilke have it right.

There are many good 2* hotels at reasonable prices in Paris.

Why not let us know what choices you have? Perhaps we can help you choose.
ira is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 318
travelerquestion: I stayed in a one star last year in Paris that was clean and the owner friendly. It was a shock at first to enter the room because of it's small size.

The advantages( perfect location and inexpensive) far exceeded the dark hallway and the need to climb 4 flights of stairs.

Decide what's important to you and enjoy Paris.

mendota98 is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 850
You've gotten a lot of excellent advice. We stayed in a 3-star apartment in Paris and were pleasantly surprised to find that it was more of a four-star quality--great location, common rooms and concierge. The 4-star we had in Amsterdam was a hovel. Narrow down your choices and then ask here. We're looking at a 3-star in Venice that Fodorite's seem to love so we're not springing for the $$$ to upgrade to a four-star that might not be worth it.
Jayne11159 is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,849
You specifically asked about the 1 and 2 star hotels included in the cheap package deals (I assume you are talking about go-today or similar). Most of the replys have been about 1 and 2 star in general. Personally I always stay in 2 star hotels in Paris (occassionally a three star if it's cheap enough, and one of my favorites is a 1 star - the St Andre des Arts in the 6th). I just do not think it's worth spending money just to get a bigger room, or some of those amenities I never use (room service, etc). Two stars usually have ensuite bathrooms, TVs and lifts, are clean and comfortable and often extremely charming.

The problem I see is with the hotels that the packages (especially go-today, I haven't really researched any others) choose. Mostly it's the locations of those hotels I don't like - as mentioned above they tend to be out of the center and in less than charming neighborhoods. That's why I don't use the packages for Paris. By the time you upgrade to a hotel you'd want to stay in you've spent enough extra that you may as well book it on your own. But it's not the fact that they are 1 or 2 star that is the problem, it's the specific hotel choices.
isabel is online now  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 3,506
It seems that stars are given sort of randomly, from what I have been reading on the forum. How would I know how many stars a particular hotel has been given? Will a site like tripadvisor tell me how many stars? I don't plan to change hotels, I'm adventurous and will make do with what I end up with as long as it's clean, but maybe for the next time when I am a little better informed. (This forum has been terrific, I must say!)
allisonm is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 04:55 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
Mendota98 (Mike), what was the name of that hotel?
WillTravel is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,330
Here's a link that explains very nicely Europe's government star ratings. I like his example of the 1 star hotel in Italy that could never be more than a one star only because its reception is in a bar.

indytravel is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,154
The biggest problem I most often see with the really rock bottom hotels offered in the packages is location. I would recommend NOT taking the lowest-cost choice from that standpoint alone because it can have such a big impact on your experience. You don't want to be sitting out on the Peripherique somewhere instead of experiencing the character of Paris that you came to enjoy. Personally, I can tolerate a fairly spartan 2* hotel if it's simply clean and in an interesting neighborhood. I generally look for 3*.
Flyboy is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,004
We don't do the tours because we prefer to travel independently. However, we always stay in 2-star hotels in Paris (and the rest of France) and have found them to be friendly, clean, well located, with elevators and our own private bathroom with shower.

We book with http://digital.france.com/hotels and their web site lets you see photos of the hotel, photos of the rooms and a map so you know where it's located.

We just got back from a week in Paris staying in a very inexpensive 2-star and we were a couple blocks from the Cluny Museum and easy walking distance to Notre Dame. There were three Metro stations nearby and all the inexpensive Latin Quarter restaurants.

Yes, the room was tiny and so was the elevator, but we looked out of our window onto the Sorbonne and the lovely square was a half block away, as was Blvd. St. Michel. We don't use room service, but the staff was wonderful. One gal spent a good half hour looking for an adapter for my computer when mine wouldn't work.

Oh yes, the mattress was solid, smooth and comfortable. I have no idea if it was air conditioned as it was November, but the room was heated. We had a tv but were too tired to watch it. It's more fun to sit until the wee hours in a cafe and people watch! We were on a side street and it was very quiet. Noise from other rooms was minimal. You can always wear ear plugs . . . 8^)

We don't go to Paris to stay in our room so if it's clean, we're happy. You won't spend much time there so it's not really very important except in that you will want a restful sleep so you can hike another 10 miles the next day looking at all the beautiful things in Paris.
SalB is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 09:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 318
Willtravel: Hotel St. Honore
85 rue Saint Honore
33 01 42 36 20 38

1st arrondissement
mendota98 is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2003, 10:52 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
Thanks Mike.
The main thing that would concern me about a 1* is that I have heard of some cheap hotels that have ladder-like staircases, like this one supposedly:


I think the Hotel Esmerelda is reputed to have those sorts of staircases also.

Does anyone know how difficult these types of stairs are for a somewhat klutzy but reasonably fit person carrying luggage?
WillTravel is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2003, 02:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 786
Interesting question? Someone mentions Hotel St Honore, I was booked there and when I arrived they insisted they didn't have the booking. I then went walking to find an alternative and must have approached about 15 hotels north of there and then west, finally ending up at the Hotel L'Athenee which is a few steps directly across from the Olympia theatre's stage door. As I was also going to a concert there, it couldn't have been more perfect and although basic, very clean. Comfortable bed, the room was quite large, as was the bathroom.There is an elevator. Also TV in the room. The best part was the very helpful owner and his staff who made the stay so pleasant. I have studied many hotels in Paris for future stays but have decided that for my next trip I am more than happy to stay at the L'Athenee again. I am always out all day and only require a place to sleep. It is in an area near Madeleine metro stop and very convenient to many attractions. I enjoyed it there a lot.
KathyNZ is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2003, 08:02 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,630
I have a travel agent friend who always stayed at the Esmeralda (she loves the location and the owner...)
She said there are elevators. Thought, she always books rooms in the top floors that have the long french-door windows and views views views! The top two floors don't have elevators. She manages the steps up quite well; the toilets and shower are en-suite but (this is weird) the sink is in her room!

I've stayed at the Saint Andre mentioned above. a 1* .. the stairs turned, but were wide enough. I'm a klutz.. I understood your question!

And like everyone says, YOU"RE IN PARIS...what difference does the room make?
SuzieC is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2003, 10:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,642
If you can find the movie Company Business at the local video store (starring Gene Hackman and Mikhail Baryshnikov), a few key scenes take place in the Esmeralda Hotel. You can get an idea what the place is like.
BTilke is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Travel Tips & Trip Ideas
Jan 1st, 2018 11:24 PM
May 6th, 2013 03:04 PM
Dec 14th, 2009 12:12 PM
Aug 22nd, 2006 02:21 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information