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On our recent three-generations family trip to Paris, we kicked off the trip with a bang on an award stay at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome. However, we needed to move over to a Club Carlson property for two nights of the trip primarily in order to make my mom’s point balances stretch for the duration of their larger trip across Europe. There are a few Club Carlson properties to pick from in Paris, but we went with the Radisson Blu Champs Elysees primarily thanks to its location and decent enough looking photos and reviews. This post is dedicated to our experience at that property, but you can catch up some of the rest of our Paris family fun in these posts.
The Lobby and Check-In:
My daughter and I took a cab from the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome with all of our bags to the Radisson Blu Champs Elysees, and found it a bit hard to find at first as it kind of blends in with all the other buildings on the street (which is a good thing), but eventually we were able to spot the sign.
Upon pulling up, we were a bit surprised that there was no bellman to assist with bringing in bags, opening the door, etc. That sort of thing isn’t crucial, but would have been helpful as we were also schlepping my mom’s and aunt’s bags while they were out sightseeing. Coming from the Park Hyatt, we immediately realized this was going to be a bit of a downgrade in terms of service. That wasn’t really new information, but this was a real and tangible reminder to reset expectations.
We were there before noon, and a few hours before check-in time, so we weren’t too surprised when our room was not yet ready. The hotel did store our bags for us so we could head out to the park, which was helpful. Of note is that my mom was upgraded to a Business Class room thanks to her Gold status, and we were upgraded to what I assume was an Arc de Triomphe View Room, which is essentially…a room with a view. The best perk of the business class room is typically the free breakfast, but my mom was told she didn’t get the free breakfast since her business class room was an upgrade and she didn’t pay for it. In other words, Gold status likely kept both of us from getting the worst rooms in the house, but it didn’t result in anything super helpful like free breakfast.
The room was not big, but was an adequate size for the two of us on a short stay – especially in a city like Paris where rooms are notoriously small. There was a bed, a small office desk, and a sitting chair that both my aunt and I fell out of as it sort of tipped you forward unless you were seated all the way at the back.
There were wood floors and lots of natural light thanks to the glass balcony door. There was also a mustardy-brown colored comforter that I very much did not like. I think hotel bedding does much better when it is all white, but maybe that’s just me…
The bed itself was pretty flimsy, and if I sat down on one side the other side sort of came up. This didn’t really impact sleep too much since we were so freaking tired at bedtime, but it wasn’t very comfortable. It felt more like a futon I probably slept on in college than a bed in a nice hotel.
However, the view was something that was quite enjoyable. Below are the views from the (very small) balcony if I looked left, and then of the Arc de Triomphe if I looked right. Also visible from the balcony to the left was the top of the Eiffel Tower. Being able to see the twinkling lights at night from the room was pretty neat.
The bathroom consisted of one sink and a shower/tub combo.
At first glance the room and bathroom appeared not impressive, but not terrible. However, it felt like a real downgrade coming from the Park Hyatt, which suddenly seemed like a palace now that we had changed hotels. When you started to look closer you noticed things that didn’t appear to be very clean or well maintained. Things were a bit rusty, leaky, dirty, scuffed, etc.
The view was nice, the location was great, and the price on points was good, but the room was not my favorite. I think that they could and should put some effort into updating and maintaining the rooms better than the current situation.
We didn’t eat breakfast at the hotel since it was not included in the rate, but we did have dinner there one night as we were simply all too tired to venture elsewhere in the rain. In fact, my daughter passed out on the couch in the lounge/bar area downstairs so we ate there instead of walking to the other side of the hotel to the actual restaurant.
There were two menus – one for the bar and one for the restaurant, and they let us order off both of them. My daughter had a burger and fries that I also munched on and I had this delicious concoction below. Given our exhaustion level, and trying to take care of a dead tired four year old, I manged to end up with no notes of what we ate or other photos from the meal, but I do know that we enjoyed it more than expected and were grateful for the convenience. I believe for the four of us ordering modestly it was around 100 Euros for dinner, and remember you can save money on your bill at restaurants in Club Carlson hotels in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific based on your elite status (15% for Gold members). You need to ask for the discount and show your card when you request the bill.
Also due to having Gold status we were given a bottle of water and some macarons the first night of our stay. They weren’t quite as good as the food we had in the restaurant, but the water was much appreciated!
The location of this hotel is just fantastic. You are one side street away from the Champs Elysees, a short walk to several metro stations, and basically in the heart of Paris. Anything you want to do is either within walking distance, a reasonable cab ride away, or accessible via a metro station. There was even a cab waiting area close by on Champs Elysees, so catching a cab was quite simple.
There was a drug store with snacks and waters about three doors down and an Italian joint just next door, that wasn’t amazing, but was affordable and totally decent for an easy dinner.
You Can Do it Too:
I would not pay the €250.00 – €500.00 per night prices that this hotel often goes for with cash, however I do think the points price can be good even with the current condition of the rooms, as long as you know what to expect going in. The points rates have gone up since I booked my trip, but Club Carlson points are pretty easy to earn so that isn’t the end of the world. The Classic Room now goes for 70,000 points per night and the Premium Award of 105,000 points per night will get you a Business Class room.
I have noticed this property playing “peak a boo” with award availability in the past where a basic rooms is available for sale but not available for booking with points. This actually happened to us as well, so I emailed the property directly and they opened up the award availability. This should be possible as Club Carlson advertizes “no blackout dates”.
Of course, the real play here is to use points for one night and then get the second award night free thanks to having the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card. That means you can have two nights in Paris for 70,000 Club Carlson points. You could then move to a property such as the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Hotel, Paris Eiffel and repeat the process using points for the first night and get the last award night free thanks to having the co-branded credit card. If you and your partner both get the Club Carlson card you will have more than enough points for four free nights in Paris at Club Carlson properties.
As I have mentioned, the location was very good and the view from our room was great. The food downstairs was good and the service was totally adequate. However, the rooms need updating and a good cleaning. This is not a top notch hotel the way that the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome is, so don’t expect the same level of assistance or service.
If I’m being 100% honest, I very much wanted to leave and head back to the Park Hyatt the first night here as it just seemed silly to fly all the way to Paris and not be totally comfortable in your hotel room. Ultimately, I didn’t do that, and I’m glad I didn’t. It wasn’t that bad, it just wasn’t that great of a hotel either. Since I have a young kid I do spend time in the room during the day for naps and such, and ultimately I simply prefer nicer hotels when I can get them (on points). You could say I’m a little spoiled thanks to points, and that’s okay.
I would stay here again, and I do recommend it on points with the caveat of managing your expectations appropriately. If you are sitting on a mountain of Hyatt or Ultimate Reward points then don’t think twice and just go enjoy the Park Hyatt. However, if you need to leverage all the points programs to make your vacations work the way we do, then I would book this and don’t look back.
If you have stayed at the Radisson Blu Champs Elysees, I would love to hear your thoughts!
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