We had a total of five nights in Paris. We could have done an Airbnb or apartment rental, but instead we split the stay into two different hotels – mindful of my boyfriend’s no-fun rule that he will not change hotels if it means less than two nights at a given property.
Paris is a pricey hotel city, so it’s a great place to make use of points and what not. But for the most part, you have to keep everything in perspective, as even some of the fanciest, most expensive hotels lack the amenities you’d see in comparable properties in New York, Tokyo, London, or even a place like Warsaw.
For our five nights, we ended up splitting the stay into 3 and 2. I have had a certificate from Club Carlson for almost a year and a half, good for one night at any property. I almost used it a few times, but always found great other deals, so this ended up being the time to use it. We figured we’d use that for one night at one of the three Radissons in town, and then do two more nights using Club Carlson points- noting that, as a Club Carlson Visa cardholder, I would only be charged points for one of those nights. For the last two nights, I had convinced my credit-wary boyfriend to get the Hyatt Visa, with its generous bonus of two free nights at any property with a $1,000 spend, which we used at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome.
Picking a Radisson wasn’t so easy. The best Radisson in Paris, the Radisson Blu Ambassador, left the chain last year, and became a Marriott. That left three properties in the center city, and one, the Radisson Blu Boulogne, on the outer fringe. Of the three in the city, we quickly eliminated the Radisson Blu Champs Elysees, as my boyfriend said it wasn’t a particularly nice or convenient neighborhood, and the folks on Flyertalk seemed to agree it wasn’t a particularly special hotel. That left the Radisson Blu le Dokhan’s Trocadero, and the Radisson Blu le Metropolitan, which are owned and managed by the same company, and are about two blocks away from each other in the 16th arrondissement, which I have come to refer to as the Upper East Side of Paris. The reviews said there wasn’t much difference between the hotels in terms of room size or amenities, though le Metropolitan has a small indoor pool. Le Metropolitan has a more modern design, and le Dokhan’s has a more classic French theme. My boyfriend prefers the classic French, so we went with that. Of note, as of May 1, all three of these properties jumped up to a new top tier redemption rate of 70,000 Club Carlson points – up from 50,000 when we booked and stayed. It’s also been speculated that these properties will become part of Club Carlson’s new luxury “Quorvus Collection” brand, but so far, they have not been part of the initial three properties announced.
Le Dokhan’s was very easy to get to by public transport, even with luggage, and is a few blocks from the Boissiere metro, and a short walk to the Trocadero metro. Approaching from the outside, the hotel really looks lovely – well maintained, landscaped, and lit, on the corner of two smaller streets. On the inside, the lobby area is charming as well, though not really conducive to seating, and really just feels like a small Parisian hotel. One reason I had given into the older-style Le Dokhan’s was that Flyertalkers had reported that Club Carlson Gold Elite members frequently were upgraded to “Business Class” rooms, or were given complimentary breakfast. Consistent with my experiences with Radissons in Europe, alas, neither were offered, and I even asked about breakfast.
Everyone talks about the elevator at this hotel, as the walls are an old Louis Vuitton trunk cut apart. It’s an elevator. More important to me was that two people with luggage could not fit in it.
A lot of reviews described Le Dokhan’s as “cute”, which is similar to the terms “charming” and “quaint” in real estate. Our room was not only tiny, but, based on the floor plan of the hotel, the oddest shape in the hotel — with a tiny bedroom and a huge triangular bathroom, and a balcony with a view of nothing. Alas, this is what happens when you turn an old residence into a “boutique” hotel. The bedroom was basically a queen-sized bed with a small desk, six inches from the foot of the bed, with a 21” TV on it, and two side chairs. We were able to squeeze our luggage in the corners, which was good as there were no dressers, just a small closet. The balcony was nice for a picture, but that’s all. Conceivably, this was a “deluxe” room over a “classic” room, though according to the website, it’s a difference of 20 sq. meters v. 23 sq. meters, which could just be the bathroom. The bathroom had a dressing table, which was unncessary, and a tub with shower – a poor use of space in my opinion.
In addition to standard Radisson Anne Simone soap, there was shampoo/conditioner/lotion from a company I’d never seen before, “Thisworks.” Though we never got shower gel, but each day we got more and more conditioner – including a larger size, which was entertaining. I don’t think my hair was particularly dry. Amenities were generally lacking, and the room was starting to show signs of wear. Throughout the room, the paint was peeling and there were cracks in the ceiling. The lampshade was stained with an unknown substance. One thing that really irked me was that there was no facility for coffee or a water heater in the room, so we had to use the sink and bought Nescafe packets at the Monoprix nearby. There weren’t any free bottles of water or anything, and turndown service was a mint. The television did not work, but the free internet was fine. Obviously, no gym.
On our first morning, we left the room around 9:30 am, saw the maid in the hallway, and took off the do not disturb sign. We came back at noon, and the service cart was still in the hallway, and the room had not been cleaned. We left again at 2, and the cart was still there. It became evident on our three days that the carts just remained in the halls all day, which is particularly difficult when the hallways are about 6 feet wide.
We did not receive a Gold welcome amenity, though on our last night, there was a note welcoming us “back” to the hotel, addressed to “Mr. and Mrs.” Youwentwhere, which was more entertainingly heteronormative than offensive to me (especially since they had copied each of our passports two days earlier). I make no representations as to my boyfriend’s offense level. It was accompanied by two caneles- bite sized pastries. Yippee.
We didn’t eat at the hotel, which serves continental for 20 Euros, and a “full” breakfast for 30 Euros. There’s no need to because of what I found to be the hotel’s greatest strength: it’s location. Within blocks there are dozens of delicious boulangeries and full service cafes, where you can get a decent breakfast for less than half that price. There were also multiple supermarkets nearby, as well. For dining, we recommend La Coincidence, which was a great little mid-priced, friendly “American” restaurant nearby. The hotel was not only close to public transport, but it was also quite walkable to numerous sights, including the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and the Champs Elysees. The 16th is a quiet, residential neighborhood, but one with plenty of the essentials. I ended up spending some time at the laundromat across the street, which, though convenient, was pricey!
Folks online raved about the service at this hotel, but I didn’t find anything of note – certainly nothing that would justify placing this as one of the top 7 Radissons worldwide or rates of 300 EUR a night in the winter. There was always a number of staff in the lobby not doing much, and no one ever asked me how my stay was.
In all, I was a bit disappointed in the hotel – especially since it was the hotel we spent the most time at in our trip in France. Granted, my stay definitely stood out compared to the hotel we spent the rest of the time in Paris – the Park Hyatt, where I was constantly felt like I was a welcome guest. I still think it was a pretty good value on points, though I’m not sure it is now that the redemption rate has increased. In terms of cash value, there are so many hotels in Paris that I can’t say I’d recommend it for $300 a night. But you don’t go to Paris to stay in your hotel. You want a convenient base, that’s clean and comfortable for sleeping. If that’s all you’re expecting, the Radisson Le Dokhan’s might be just fine.