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Inside Le Meurice in Paris

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  Site Where: 228 Rue du Rivoli [map], Paris, United States, 75001
September 14, 2010 at 1:34 PM | by | Comments (0)

Now that we've dished on the hotel swag at Le Meurice in Paris, it's time we dish on the more important things--like the room and the vegetarian club sandwich that we ate two nights in a row. We just hope you brought your wallets!

Check-In: We arrived about two hours before check-in time of 3pm. The room was not ready so we killed some time in the lobby ordering a cappucino and hot tea for a grand total of 24 Euros. In need of more affordable lunch, we hit up a cafe on the block and grabbed some sandwiches to take across the street to the Jardin Des Tuileries.

It was a gorgeous day and the park was filled with French people and their own takeaway foods and picnic baskets. We sat on a bench and tried not to focus on how tired we were.

Finally at 3:15pm, our room was ready and we were escorted to the 5th floor.

Room Reaction: Having stayed in a quite a few grand old dames in our day with overdone and fussy room decor, we were relieved to see that the room we were in was a newly remodeled room. French designer Charles Jouffre infused chic French history with modern elegance and glamour using soft colors and silk fabrics yet nothing was too completely over the top. It was perfection.

The bed linens were like butter on our skin and it literally took us an hour each day to get out of bed. At the end of the day, we'd spend an hour in the deep-soaking tub, just because. Up until Le Meurice, The Surrey Hotel in NYC had been our favorite "modern elegant" hotel room. Sorry, Surrey!

Our view was the only small bummer as we were secretly hoping for a view of the Tuileries. Instead we got an inner "courtyard" view but we could spy on the Belle Etoile penthouse suite. (We saw a couple of lights on but no Beyonce.)

Amenity Madness: The items in the minibar and the hotel swag we talked about yesterday were all for-purchase items but the hotel has several for you to use in the room, gratis. Like the bathrobes and slippers, the Penhaligon toiletries in the bath (which included a comb and a gold-colored ponytail holder), the newspaper delivered to your room each morning and the turn-down service.

Internet Connect: We resisted paying the 20€ fee for the first day but after the McDonald's down the street thwarted our free WiFi plans with a crummy network, we gave in. Twenty euros is a lot but the speed was extremely fast, probably as fast as our office WiFi. Additionally, before we logged on we had concerns about the speed of the network. Soon an IT man in a suit came to our room to assure us the connection was super-fast. Which it was.

And we got to surf from the sumptous Le Meurice bed which is far better than a hard stool at McDonalds. Besides, 20€ for 24 hours was still cheaper than the hotel's business center's 20€ for 30-minutes fee.

Our nightly view from Bar 228.

Dining: We were too scared to incur any room service costs but the hotel's Bar 228 and lobby restaurant, Restaurant Le Dali (named after the artist, who was a frequent guest), are much more exciting anyways. Every night there's a jazz pianist accompanied by either a jazz drummer or cellist and yes, they do take requests.

All three nights we spent at Bar 228 were buzzing but not overly crowded. The people-watching is spectacular as it's a mix of hotel guests and suave Parisians. As we mentioned, we dined on the vegetarian club sandwich two nights in a row for 24€ and washed it down with a Chablis (which we didn't check the price so as not to ruin our buzz.) But it was so good we came here again after we had already checked out of the hotel.

Service: Naturally, when you're paying 665€ a night, you should be receiving top-notch service, which is exactly what we found at Le Meurice. Everyone there is pleasant and there is no request too small or too big (we didn't try that end of things but we're sure some royal prince has.)

The concierges are the backbone of the hotel's service and we hit them up twice a day, at least. Only once did one concierge goof by forgetting to tell us that Versailles was closed on Mondays but the others were outstanding.

Location, Location, Location: Rue de Rivoli is a bit touristy as it's the entrance for the Louvre and after you leave the confines of Le Meurice you will see shop after shop of Paris souvenir items. But skip that and head behind the hotel to Rue St. Honore for designer shops and better cafes and restaurants. The concierges will show you how to get there. Yet Le Meurice is in general, rather central and there's a Metro stop just a short walk away. Let's hope the Frenchies don't strike during your visit like they did with ours.

Bottom Line: Le Meurice is expensive and it's really only for those with deep-pockets. We feel like a cheap fool by bringing that up all the time but we just want you to be prepared. The costs don't stop at your room rate and while some of them are worth it, at other times, they seem a bit silly--especially the WiFi.

If you do splurge for a room here, just do some research before hand on finding some cheaper options for basics like coffee, bottled water and sandwiches (all of which are right around the corner.) That said, these rooms are to die for and for a hotel to make us want to spend more time inside the room or at Bar 228 than exploring Paris, that's quite an accomplishment.

Le Meurice gave us a media rate of 405€ for our classic room but rates typically start at 665€ a night.

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