The advantages and disadvantages of advance reservations

The advantages and disadvantages of advance reservations

Do you need them? That depends on your own personal inclinations and travel habits, and upon a balancing of advantages against disadvantages.

 The advantages of advance reservations are obvius. You arrive in a city and immediately check into a hotel without fuss or bother. In some cities, at certain periods of the year, that can save a lot of hotel searching.

The disadvantages are equally obvious. By making advance reservations (which often require deposits), you necessarily must accept a fixed and unalterable schedule for your travels. You cannot, mid-trip, decide to lengten or shorten your stay in a particular city without affecting the reservations you’ve made in other towns. And, of course, you must go through the process of writing ahead to many hotels, some of which may answer that they’re fully booked.

For those who do want the certain of a room at a particular hotel, there are several rules to follow. You must state an exact date of arrival and departure, and not simply an “on or about” estimate. Be prepared to pay an advance deposit on your reservation, to be forfeited if you don’t show up on the exact dates you’ve stated (a hotel may hold your room vacant on that date, and thus lose the chance for other business). You’ll usually find a suitable budget hotel without too much difficulty, dpending on the city and the time of the year.

The Louvre Area, Paris Budget Hotels

The Louvre Area, Paris Budget Hotels

Most of the older readers of this post, however, will probably prefer to live in an area closer to the shopping districts of the Right Bank, and less infused with students. While the Odeon and Ecole des Beaux Arts area will appeal to some, there is one section on the Right Bank which suits these wants with precision; it contains a number of hotels of the greatest dignity an decorum, and yet with thoroughly reasonable priees. Among these hotels is one (the Montpensier) which ranks among the top budget finds of Paris.

Take the metro to the stop: Palais Royal. You’re a few steps from the Louvre, from the gardens of the Palais Royal, and from the Comedie Française. You are also a long-ish walk (but still accessible on foot) from the Opera and American Express. Alongside the Palais Royal, you’ll see a narrow street called Rue Richelieu. At 12 Rue Richelieu, the Hotel Montpensier, is nothing less than superb. The rooms are immaculately clean; they have foam rubber mattresses; and they’re serviced by a particularly sharp and conscientious staff. If the Montpensier is booked up, then walk up the street to the less desirable Hotel du Piemont, breakfast included, and again caters to the mature. . . . Fifty yards further down the street (Rue Richelieu), the Hotel Washington Opera charges almost as much as the Montpensier, but isn’t much better than the Piemont.

Running parallel to the Rue Richelieu is the Rue Montpensier. If you will walk to the end of this street, and turn right, you’ll be at the quaint Rue Beaujolais, and down this street you’ll see the building in which the French author, Colette, lived until her death in 1954. From here, walk a few feet over to the Rue Vivienne, then twenty feet up to the Rue des Petits Champs, and then wa1k down that street for a few feet until you come to the Rue de la Banque. At 3 Rue de la Banque, the elevator-equipped Hotel de Normandie, is housed in a relatively modern building (for Paris), and has a classification higher than that of the Montpensier. An excellent choice, which is also only a minute away from the amazing Restaurant Colbert, about which you’ll learn in our restaurant section. 

I must forewarn all older readers that the hotels we’ve just described, in this area off the Palais Royale and the Comedie Française, are part of an historic neighborhood, where nothing new has been built for centuries. The streets are tiny and, on first impression, shabby. But I think you’ll grow to love them. Remember always that the gardens of the Palais Royale are never more than a two-minute walk from where you’ll be staying.

If, however, you’d prefer a hotel on a wider boulevard, still near to the Louvre and the Palais Royale, then head immediately for the extremely good Hotel Sainte-Marie, 83 Rue de Rivoli, where there’s a big, old-fashioned, homey and comfortable lobby, and equally comfortable double rooms, breakfast, service, taxes included. This is only a short block-and-a-half from the Louvre subway exit, midway between the elegant section of the Rue de Rivoli and the cheaper stretch of that famous shopping street.

Rated in order of preference, the hotels in this area would shape up: first the Montpensier, then the Sainte-Marie and the Normandie; and finally, the Piemont and the Washington Opera.