No Chains in Europe
I write a lot about hotel status and specifically how much I love my Hyatt Diamond benefits. For the record I also have some form of elite status with most of the major chains including top tier Diamond status with Hilton. In other words, I tend to get some perks when I stay in chain hotels and in some cases the perks are tremendous.
Tomorrow my family and I are leaving to Europe for a week on my deal of a lifetime British Airways business class score. (I feel bad for the people who will suffer in coach while my one year old gets her own seat in business class.) During our trip we are going to be spending a few days in Barcelona and then another few in Paris including a trip to Disneyland Paris for baby Ellie’s one year birthday.
When I am traveling with the family, I like to share the perks of elite status with them. We do enjoy breakfast, although it isn’t essential for us as we have been known to simply have something light. Lounge access is a nice perk, but again not an essential one especially considering we will be out and about in the city. Large rooms are good, but most chain hotels in Europe don’t have them. In other words, why not go local?
Our Hotel Choices in Barcelona
In Barcelona, I looked at some of the chain hotels. There is a reasonably priced Four Points by Sheraton, but it doesn’t have any rooms that allow four people and it is somewhat far from the center. Hilton has a number of properties, but none of them have room for four people either and the one that has a room for three people (if I wanted to try and hide the baby) is over $250 per night or 65,000 HHonors points.
One option to use in a city like Barcelona is airbnb. I was leaving our lodging options open to give us flexibility with dates, so I didn’t book through airbnb (they tend to have a high cancellation rate for close-in bookings), but I would have no problem doing it. I ultimately found a very well reviewed 3 star hotel just around the corner from the Picasso Museum for about $50 per night. They don’t have rooms for four people, so I booked two rooms. Still much less than other choices and we will have plenty of space.
Our Hotel Choices in Paris
We will be splitting our time in Paris between the city and Disneyland. Out by Disneyland there is a Radisson Blu, but they want almost 80,000 points for a family room. No thanks! The Marriott in the area is equally as overpriced. Instead, I found a very well reviewed apartment style hotel located near a mall about five minutes from Disney. It has a free shuttle and a living room with bedroom. Perfect and at 10,000 ThankYou points per night ($125) it makes a ton of sense.
To give a little background, Vendoming is a term first coined by The Deal Mommy which explores people only wanting to stay in fancy hotels and not actually getting cultural experiences. While I fully support her idea, my use of the term here is literally talking about not staying in the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome. 🙂
In Paris I would love to Vendome. Unfortunately I can’t do that with four people unless I get a top level suite at the property or get two rooms. Even a Diamond Suite Upgrade wouldn’t do the trick unfortunately. For three people it is a bit easier, but four is a big NO. I even contacted Hyatt and the hotel. No go without the biggest suite. The other Hyatt properties in Paris central are similar. There is no way to get a big enough room for a reasonable price. I found it was similar with other chains as well.
There is one hotel that would work, the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile. This hotel was built in the 1970’s and is the tallest building in Paris I believe. While I could get a regular room and use a Diamond Suite Upgrade here, I am told they are finally renovating the hotel, which judging from the reviews, is something it needs. From 10am to 6pm every day the noise is supposedly unbearable. I like free breakfast and some evening appetizers as much as the next guy, but that is not worth it.
To be honest, I haven’t booked a hotel in Paris yet. It isn’t really the high season so I have some choices and I have narrowed it down. As I mentioned before, we were leaving some dates open to decide on our plans so I am just finalizing hotel bookings. I’m not worried. Most likely we will end up in a local place paid for with ThankYou points and that works well for me.
I Like Chains & Luxury
Yes I write about loyalty programs, chain hotels and luxury and love all of those things. The truth is that I simply find the value of chain hotels in Europe to be very poor. My family and I have traveled all over the continent over the past few years including a three month stint in 2013 and I have just never been impressed with the chain offerings. Sure there are some amazing hotels around, but they cost a fortune in points and/or cash. I am all about value and in Western Europe value most often is in finding a local hotel.
With all of that said, I love to splurge and will be back to my beloved Hyatt for a few other trips this year including some of their top end properties in China. What do you think? Am I missing out by not Vendoming in Paris? Do you think the lack of free breakfast, room upgrades and lounge access will get to me? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.