Paris is a beautiful city. Few can deny that, but ask almost any British tourist who has visited Paris what they thought of the hotel they stayed at last time they were there and you’ll get a mixed response at best.
On our most recent trip by Eurostar we kept in mind the above and decided to ‘play safe’ with one of the larger and more reputable hotel ‘Brands’ – Accor. The Accor Group consists of well known chains such as Ibis, Novotel and Mercure, but the Hotel Baltimore on Av.Kleber, near the Trocadero, is part of their ‘Mgallery’ group of more exclusive hotels.
As with most parts of Paris, getting to the Baltimore was a breeze, a simple Metro journey from Gare du Nord to Victor Hugo and a short one-block stroll down the slope to Boissiere, where the Baltimore sits proudly on the corner.
First impressions do count, and our first impression was of a hotel with loads of character. The atmosphere was relaxed – tranquil even, and the staff were attentive, friendly, even chatty! A pleasant change from some of our previous experiences of the city. Our room oozed quality and was well designed and beautifully furnished. It made a pleasant change to have two chairs in the room, so rare these days in a double room – why? The bathroom was clean and well stocked with good quality toiletries.
Breakfast is included in the rate and is a quiet and informal affair. There was a buffet of fresh meats, fruits, yogurts, breads and what we referred to as the ‘pudding’ fridge, where some more elaborate sweet dishes were on offer. We wondered at one point if they were perhaps for the lunch desserts and that we shouldn’t have been eating them. But then we looked around and everyone else was, so it didn’t matter. One thing that did confuse us slightly was the fact that even though hot breakfasts were available, there was nothing there at the restaurant to indicate that this was the case. There seemed to be no menus or any other indications of exactly what was on offer. It was a case of asking for what you wanted and hoping it was available. The omlettes were lovely though and come highly recommended.
One of its strongest points must be its location. A two minute walk from the foyer has you staring the Eiffel tower in the face with the city as a backdrop. The boats on the Seine dart backward and forward in front of us while we ate one of those delicious chocolate crepes from the many street vendors.
The Baltimore has a real, yet understated class about it. It isn’t what you’d expect a ‘chain’ hotel to be. It had individuality and a very personal feel to it, with a warmth and welcome so rarely seen in a city hotel. Quite a home-from-home. Would we go back there? You bet. Any mention of the recent Paris visit elicits renditions of the opening titles from Hairspray – something we commented on the first time we saw the awning over the hotel’s front door. The whole ‘getting to’ and ‘travelling around’ Paris has been made much easier with the Eurostar service that now gets you from city centre to city centre in two and a half hours, so the Baltimore in Paris can be put into the same category as a luxury break in another part of our own country. It’s really quick and easy, but it offers that different culture that everyone enjoys once in a while.
Convenience really was the key though, with most of Paris’ ‘places to go’ within a short hop of the hotel. Even an evening stroll down the Champs Elyssés was within five minutes of the front door. Boissiere Metro station, just across the road connects you with the whole of the city within minutes.
All in all it has left us with the view that a good quality, welcoming, individual hotel, with high standards, convenient location and the reassurance of being part of a well known hotel group is actually available in Paris. Don’t let any previous impressions or experiences of Paris convince you otherwise. The Baltimore doesn’t disappoint!