After our morning visit to the Eiffel Tower, we transferred hotels to the Le Meridian Etoile. This was due to the fact that I didn’t have enough points in one single program to cover the three nights we would spend in Paris so I used points for a night at the Hilton and points for one night and cash for the other night at the Le Meridian.
We arrived and went to the Starwood Preferred Group check-in line as my wife was gifted SPG Gold status for the 2011 year (no I deal how that happened). While checking in, I inquired about what benefits would receive as SPG Gold. I was informed that there were no benefits (like free internet or breakfast) as a Gold member. Bummer! Our room wasn’t ready so we grabbed lunch at a local cafe (we were very hungry by this time) before heading back after the official check-in time. We got our room keys and headed up to our floor.
On the way to our room we walked around the lobby areas a little bit. It was a large area with a very modern and contemporary decor. There were plenty of seating areas around for groups to gather and relax. At the side and the back of the lobby were two restaurants. One had a special New Years Eve Jazz dinner that looked good but was way out of our budget for New Years Eve celebrating. We entered the elevator lobby and proceeded up to our room.
The hotel is very large and we had a little bit of a walk down the hallways before reaching our room. The room had a modern European style to it with lots of clean lines and light colored stained woods. It was smaller than the room we had at the Hilton. There was a Queen sized bed, desk with chair, a club chair, and a floating shelf which contained the flat screen TV.
The entryway/hallway contained the closets and a mini-bar. The bathroom was all self contained (toilet, sink, shower) but there was no shower curtain. Instead there was a glass panel that only went a third of the way down the length of the tub to block any water from the shower. This was a major flaw in design in my opinion and it made it hard to keep water from getting all over the bathroom. Not something I want to have to worry about when I am staying at an upscale hotel.
We did not get breakfast or free internet with out stay as we did at the Hilton, even though we had mid-tier status with both hotel chains at the time. (Supports my theory that Hilton has the best mid-tier elite benefits of any hotel chain.) At one point, we did shell out the money for an hours worth of internet for our iPhones. The wireless speeds were pretty decent so I was able to get a lot done in that hours worth of time I had purchased. Taking into account that these hotels are approximately the same cost, I feel like the Hilton is a much nicer hotel for the money, even discounting any benefits I received as a HHonors Gold Elite. I wish we had instead stayed at the Hilton for two nights and the Le Meridian for one (or the Hilton for all three nights).