Bonjour! If you are following me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter then you know that my wife (@NatalieDiScala) and I were recently in the world’s most visited country … France! We were invited by Pullman Hotels to check out their new, fabulously redesigned Pullman Paris hotels.
If you aren’t familiar with Pullman, that might be because they don’t have any hotels in the United States … yet. Pullman is an upscale brand and part of the Accor Hotels Group, which is one of the world’s largest hotel chains in the world.
Unbeknownst to Natalie and me, we stayed at the very first Pullman back in January 2008 while we were in Bangkok, Thailand, just six months after the hotel opened. We instantly fell in love with it because it was beautifully designed and reasonably priced. Now, Pullman has 89 hotels in 24 countries – and three of those are in Paris, France!
So what makes Pullman hotels so special? They have four and five star properties and I like them because they feature contemporary design and offer guests a lot of natural daylight.
The Pullman brand is popular with business travelers and after conducting internal studies, they realized that 60% of road warriors’ time is spent, well, not working. So they designed the hotels around what they call “bleasure” – a mix of business and pleasure. (I’m not sure if I like the portmanteau either!)
Besides what’s listed above, the core of Pullman’s new philosophy is to train their staff to go the extra step and to not only be attentive to guests, but warm. They are tech friendly and offer free WiFi throughout the hotel (including the lobby and rooms). They have spacious rooms with innovative bedding concepts and bathrooms with walk-in showers. They also have fitness centers that are open 24 hours so you can get in shape instead of staring at the ceiling when you’re jetlagged. To top it off, they have restaurants that feature local ingredients and they are so good that even the locals dine there.
Paris now has three Pullman Hotels and we stayed at two of them. The first was the Pullman Paris Bercy, which does not give a great first impression. Bercy is a neighborhood in Paris’ 12th Arrondissement, which is more of a business section of town so there aren’t many attractive buildings, it’s not near the tourist attractions and the views from the rooms aren’t jaw dropping — especially during the day.
But the hotel quickly grew on us. Here are 9 reasons to stay at the Pullman Paris Bercy the next time you’re in the City of Light.
1. Bercy Village/Park
For starters there’s the beautiful Bercy Village and Park across the street from the hotel. And it’s filled with locals not tourists. We strolled through there daily and browsed the shops and even opted to have dinner at one of the local restaurants one night instead of in the touristy Latin Quarter.
2. Rooms are cheaper and bigger
Because the hotel is not in an old residential building like most of Paris’ hotels, the rooms are much bigger and cheaper. In fact, the average traveler will save 50 euros ($69 USD) a night compared to other four star hotels since it’s not in the tourist center. FYI: Room rates begin at 149 euros ($206).
3. Close to the Metro
You would think that being a long walk (about 30 minutes) away from Paris’ main tourist attractions would be a pain but it’s not. That’s because there’s a Metro station (Cour Saint-Émilion) just 200 meters away from the hotel in the Bercy Village and it’s on Line 14, which is arguably Paris’ best Metro line as it goes along the Right Bank and stops at stations near the most popular attractions like Notre Dame, The Louvre and The Opera House. Getting into the heart of Paris from the Pullman Paris Bercy and only took about 10 minutes on the Metro.
4. Free Wi-Fi
You have to love a hotel that offers free WiFi since that’s an instant savings of close to $20 a night in some hotels. Let’s face it – who wants to be disconnected while traveling? Even if you’re traveling for pleasure, not business, you’ll probably still want to easily get on Facebook and send emails back home.
Another thing I love about the hotel is that you don’t need to bring an adaptor since it has outlets for US/Europe/UK and USB plugs!
6. Wash cloths and Toiletries
Yes, a simple thing like a wash cloth can go a long way and if you have traveled around France a lot, you know that most hotels don’t supply wash cloths so it’s always nice when a hotel does. On top of that the bathrooms are stocked with Roger & Gallet toiletries that smell so good. Again, many hotels in France don’t have great toiletries (and often don’t even offer hair conditioner), so my wife was pretty pleased.
7. Flat Screen TVs with satellite
I know … who has time to watch TV while in Paris? But for those who like watch a bit of TV before bed should know that each room has a large flat screen with satellite so you can watch channels in all major languages.
The Pullman Paris Bercy features stunning Kodachrome images from Robert van der Hilst, which he shot in 66 countries. His work now forms part of the Pullman contemporary art collection.
The hotel’s main restaurant is called L’Esprit du 12ème. It’s named after the arrondissement the hotel is located in and is inspired by the history of the Bercy wine warehouses. Two hundred years ago, this is where all the wine entered Paris. Their chef, Julien Mercier, offers fine, cosmopolitan and flavorsome cuisine like risotto with carrots.
If you heed the philosophy of not judging a book by its cover then you will really enjoy the Pullman Paris. It’s a chance to save some money and go to a part of Paris very few tourists ever explore. Keep in mind that since it is a business hotel, you’ll be able to score better rates on weekends, which is always good news for leisure travelers.