Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
I had been looking forward to staying at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme for a long time. This is one of the premier luxury hotels in Paris and one of the flagship Hyatt properties in the world. However, my experience at this hotel left me extremely conflicted about how I felt about the property. Here’s how it all went down.
We finished up a one night stay at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, which was a beautiful hotel in the heart of London. You can read my review of that stay here.
After snowy weather forced us to reschedule our train ride on the Eurostar, we were able to spend a little bit more time in London and then eventually make our way to Paris in the evening via the short train ride.
Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme Location
The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme is in a fantastic location in a beautiful part of Paris.
It’s just s few steps from the Place Vendôme, which is an open plaza with a column in the middle that was originally erected by Napoleon I to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz.
Place Vendôme is home to a lot of fancy shops and hotels, and the surrounding areas have a lot of different restaurants. We ate at Le Petit Vendôme, which is a small restaurant right next door to the hotel and were very pleased with the authentic French cuisine offered there. I highly recommend it.
The hotel is within close walking distance (10 to 15 minutes) to the Louvre Museum and about the same to the Musée d’Orsay, as well as other attractions.
If you’re looking for a hotel that’s close to tourist hot spots and right in the middle of beautiful Parisian architecture, this self-described palace hotel is a good choice.
I definitely preferred staying on this side of Paris versus our last stay which was near the Eiffel Tower.
When I first entered into the hotel I really did not know what to think about all of the artwork in the lobby.
It was as if the statues were trying to tell me to run away — maybe I should have listened.
I consider myself to be an artistic person and I definitely appreciate art but some of the sculptures just looked bizarre to me.
I did really like this piece below though.
But beyond the art, the biggest issue by far was how standoffish the staff seemed. The entire hotel had a very stuffy and pretentious vibe to it during our stay and I didn’t care for it.
I’ve stayed at some truly luxurious properties like other Park Hyatts in major cities like Bangkok and Milan and some other great properties like the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, Conrad Maldives, etc. All of these hotels were ultra-luxurious but they also had a warm and inviting vibe to them that was created by the staff.
When you enter a new city it can often be a little stressful and disorienting, especially right when you arrive.
So it always feels really good to receive a very warm and inviting welcome because it immediately puts you at ease and allows you to get comfortable.
But that was not the case at this hotel.
The staff did not seem interested at all in creating any sort of inviting or welcoming environment from the point of checking in. They were not necessarily rude but they definitely were indifferent to us arriving as hotel guests.
I checked in as a Hyatt Discoverist elite member which is the bottom tier of the Hyatt elite-tier structure.
This hotel is extremely popular during Fashion Week which is when we visited and so I knew that the hotel was going to be very full. It turns out they were sold out during our two-night stay and so we were not able to score an upgrade.
This was no shock to me since Discoverist status is not that valuable so this was not a major negative in my eyes.
The hotel room
After checking in we made our way to our room through the hallways, which I thought were pretty nice.
We made it to our room which was a basic queen room.
Since this is a category 7 hotel, the booking required 30,000 Hyatt points per night. While the room is quite basic, it can go for about $1,000 per night during busy times, so getting a $2,000 stay here for free did feel very special if only for that reason.
The room was more spacious than I thought it would be given that it was a basic room in a major urban area.
The bed was very soft and comfortable and so I had no complaints about any of that.
However, there were more of those weird statues found in the room and they just never quite grew on me – I’m not sure what it was about them that I just didn’t like.
The room was very dim with all of the lighting turned on.
To the right of the bed, there was a desk with lamps, room service menus, and things to write on.
On the other side of the room, there was a large mirror with yet another one of my favorite statues hanging. There was also a small table with a single chair by the window along with complimentary red wine. The wine was great but the chair was hardly comfy.
There’s also a small TV on the wall in front of the bed.
There’s a nespresso machine in each of the rooms.
The room also comes with a packed mini-fridge.
During the day time, some natural light came through the window and brightened up the dim room quite a bit.
We opened up the windows for a while but there wasn’t very much to see.
We did order a cheese plate for room service which was actually very good and was a perfect late-night snack.
The bathroom was huge and very open.
I personally prefer bathrooms with closed-off toilet areas, showers, etc. since they are more private and practical but it was kind of cool to have a bathroom as big as a garage.
There’s a closet area to store your luggage along with a scale and another set of windows.
Despite the bathroom being so large, there was only one sink area and not a lot of counter space.
While the shower was huge, the shower head was quite small compared to other hotels. The shower head doesn’t have a very wide spread which is not ideal for couples. Also, since the doorway is so wide, it’s harder to keep the temperature warm in the shower. This means that if hot water is not pouring directly on you, it can get pretty cold in the shower.
So while I loved the spaciousness, it’s not designed for comfort very well in my opinion.
The problem could be solved if both the waterfall shower head and the movable shower head could supply water at once but that’s not how the shower is designed.
The toilet was more advanced than any other toilet I think I’ve ever used including those I used in Tokyo, Japan. It had all sorts of settings but my favorite was the heated seat, which was heavenly.
But one thing that was very odd about the toilet is that there is a mirror directly in front of you below the sink. It’s just an odd feeling to have a mirror directly across from you and something that I have (thankfully) not seen in other hotels.
I did check to see what was behind this mirror and it turns out it’s just a lot of empty space.
The amenities that came in the bathroom were high quality.
We decided to try out a couple of splurges during our big round the world trip.
The first splurge was eating lunch at the underwater restaurant in the Maldives which was a very cool but extremely expensive outing.
Another splurge was to try out the breakfast at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme’s restaurant known as Sens.
We knew the prices were going to be ridiculous but we still wanted to give it a try. I thought that maybe these super fancy Hyatt properties would have something special to offer in the breakfast department.
Unfortunately, that was not case here.
We had a pretty average breakfast to be honest.
I will say that the service was better for breakfast but the quality of the food was just average to me. Nothing on the menu really stuck out including the omelet and I never felt like we really got our money’s worth considering how pricey this was.
If this were a complimentary breakfast I probably would have felt better about it but it’s kind of crazy how paying cash for things can alter the expectations for your taste buds.
They did have some good pastries though and I thought the look and feel of the restaurant was very elegant.
The buffet table is in this really cool looking mirrored enclave.
The restaurant area has a pretty cozy feel to it which was a nice departure from how the hotel experience had felt up to that point.
One annoying thing about the breakfast area: these chairs.
They sat so low that it was almost impossible for someone like me at about 6’1″ to feel comfortable or even natural. I’ve noticed this in some European places so I gave them a cultural pass.
Here’s a look at what the breakfast buffet looked like. (You can find the breakfast menu here.)
Overall, I was let down by the quality of the breakfast and definitely did not think it was worth paying out of pocket for. If I’m paying $60 per person, I’m expecting more options and much higher quality all around.
The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme Gym
The hotel has its gym and spa down in the basement like many older buildings have.
The gym is very compact but it has a good mixture of equipment. So while you might not have a lot of space, you should be able to get a good workout in.
I found this Just Do
nt quit Nike sign to be an odd use of strikethroughs, but I noticed that the Park Hyatt Milan also had it so I’m guessing there’s some weird partnership with Nike?
My issue with this hotel
Now for the big issue he had with this hotel
It started when we requested a taxi to take us from the hotel to CDG airport.
I called down to the concierge and told them that we were having issues getting out cash from our debit card and that I wanted to make sure that our taxi would take credit cards because if they did not that would put us in a bind.
I anticipated there would be a language barrier with the taxi driver so I figured that the concierge (who’d be fluent in French) would be able to confirm this with the taxi.
The concierge assured me that all taxicabs must take credit cards according to a new law passed in Paris.
Maybe it was the lawyer in me but that sounded like exactly the type of law that is probably not always enforced and so I told the concierge to ensure that our specific taxi cab did take credit cards because we did not have cash and did not currently have a way of getting cash.
The concierge desk assured me that they would be sure to make sure that our specific taxi did take credit cards.
Well you can guess what happened next….
The time came to get in the taxi and we were off to the airport.
About 20 to 25 minutes into the drive the driver, who did not speak much English at all, started to ask us about cash. At first I wasn’t sure what she was trying to get at and then I realized she was asking us if we had cash.
At that point I told her I do not have any cash but the hotel assured me that they would make sure that she took credit cards. Furthermore, I told her that it was against the law for her to not take credit cards.
At this point the driver started to freak out and she even pulled over and at first I thought she was trying to kick us out which is exactly what it looked like but in reality she was pointing for us to get out and go to a nearby ATM.
The problem was that it was freezing cold and pouring down raining outside and we were in very nice clothes as we were headed to the airport getting ready to fly first class on Qatar Airways.
Brad went out in the pouring rain to the ATM to try to pull out some cash but the ATM did not accept the card because like I said we had been having trouble with the damn machines giving us our cash in Paris so he came back in after a wasted effort.
The driver continued to basically freak out although I wasn’t sure exactly what she was saying or doing and we just kept telling her just go to the airport. I was convinced that somewhere in the airport I would be able to locate some sort of machine or maybe some sort of vendor that could exchange money with me so that I could get us out of this situation.
Eventually we were able to pull out some money at the airport and give the taxi driver however much the trip was for and we parted ways.
I was pretty unhappy about the situation because I had specifically requested the Park Hyatt to ensure that this taxi took credit cards because I anticipated this very problem happening.
I trusted them a lot because this is after all the Park Hyatt concierge and it’s at “one of the most prestigious Hyatt properties in the world” so I think it was fair for me to rely on them for this simple task.
So I decided to call the Park Hyatt and tell them about what happened.
The Park Hyatt’s reaction
The way I saw it was that if the concierge had just done what they told me they were going to do then none of this would have happened.
Instead, we got berated by a taxi driver and got soaking wet during the process.
When I called the hotel to tell them about the situation all they basically told me was “Well, we’re sorry that happened to you but there’s nothing we can do.” It was pretty evident that they really didn’t give a damn about what happened and that’s what really pissed me off.
I felt like they should at least have acknowledged that they had made a mistake that had really screwed up their guests but instead they took zero ownership over the situation and did not even act like they were going to investigate the situation or anything.
So I was pretty livid and I ended up emailing the hotel to tell them about how disappointed I was with the stay and the overall situation. They eventually got back to me and offered me 5,000 Hyatt points. I thought that amount of points was a reasonable amount of compensation (but on the low side) and the experience still left a bad taste in my mouth.
Keep in mind this came just a couple of days after the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London broke my camera lens and then did everything they possibly could to fix it within 24 hours. This was a complete contrast to that experience in terms of how it was handled.
In the end, I realize that it is ultimately my responsibility to make sure that a taxi driver will take a credit card when I enter a cab. Although that was very difficult in this situation because there was a very strong language barrier and I think I was justified in relying on the local concierge to do their job, I still put some of the blame on myself for not doing what I needed to do to have cash on me or at least not confirming they take cards somehow.
It had already been having a pretty underwhelming experience at the hotel and when all of this happened, it just sealed the deal for me. We stayed at about a dozen different luxury hotels on this big trip and this was by far the worst experience that we had. Considering the cash prices of these rooms I was pretty astonished at this level of service.
I’ve read some reviews of others who have had fantastic experiences with the service and staff at this hotel. So I know it’s possible to have a good experience and to have your expectations met. But that was definitely not the case in my situation and I know many others have complained about the service here.
I don’t think I’ll ever stay at this property again, especially considering how many better options there are in Paris. But we ended up having a great time at the Qatar lounge at CDG and a great first class flight on the A380 after all of this so I quickly regained perspective on my first world problems and was off to the Maldives!
UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the digital smart wallet, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.