Hotel or Apartment — Paris?
Should you stay in a hotel or apartment in Paris?
Paris has no shortage of accommodation for the tourist or short-term visitor, and there is no need to stay outside the central arrondissments of Paris to find an affordable place to stay.
I think there are advantages to both forms of accomodation. On my first trip to Paris back in 1975 as a wide-eyed 21-year-old student, I stayed in cheap hotels. I can’t remember where unfortunately — so many years have passed since then — but I wouldn’t have had the confidence to rent an apartment, even if I’d been aware that you could. Now, I love the apartment idea and after my happy experience with Parisathome in January 2012, I have just booked another apartment in a different area with Paris Address this time. It was the location and the view that did it for me.
Advantages of Hotels
Booking a hotel is straightforward. You can see the services they offer if you book online; if you walk in off the street you can ask to see a room before you commit.
You can book for one night or as many nights as the room is free.
You can find special deals via hotel booking sites.
If you don’t like the hotel you are not so financially committed and it’s easier to leave and find somewhere else.
There will be hotels in every location you might want to stay in.
By their nature you have staff readily available to help if there is a problem or just someone to know that you are there and greet you as you come and go (especially if you are a lone traveller).
You don’t have to worry about losing your key — you leave it at the front desk.
You don’t need to do any housework; someone will pick up after you and tidy your room for you.
There will be information at the hotel on sightseeing and events; staff may recommend restaurants, shops and tours for you. There may be room service and wakeup calls.
Staff will call you a taxi or help you with theatre bookings. Bigger hotels have a wider range of services.
If the hotel provides breakfast you won’t have to organise that for yourself; the bigger hotels will have a restaurant/restaurants.
Disadvantages of Hotels
Staff won’t necessarily speak your language and are not necessarily helpful or friendly.
If you are expecting a large room you may be disappointed; Paris hotel rooms are often much smaller than their equivalents in the US or Australia. And why not? They are often in very old buildings.
Your budget hotel room may be depressing.
You often live out of a suitcase as cupboard/drawer space is limited.
Advantages of Apartments
You have a much wider choice of styles of accomodation, in even more locations.
Apartments seem to offer more value for money. You can often get discounts for longer bookings.
You can be in control of your holiday experience, not constrained by breakfast times, room cleaning etc. No one takes note of your comings and goings. If you have guests it’s not a problem.
Your room/s will be bigger than a hotel room, with facilities unavailable in a hotel. You will have cooking facilities, a refrigerator, ironing board, perhaps a washing machine. Most apartments seem to offer free WiFi; free overseas calls are offered in some.
It’s easier to cater for a family (or group) with separate sleeping spaces, play spaces for children, proper sitting areas etc.
Catering is easier — and cheaper. You can buy provisions at the supermarket (Monoprix, Francoprix etc), the local boulangerie (bakery) or at the markets so you don’t have to eat out every day, every meal.
You don’t have to live out of a suitcase. You can take fewer clothes as you can launder them more easily.
Disadvantages of Apartments
There may be a minimum number of nights for a booking making an apartment impractical/impossible for a short stay.
You could be lonely if you are a lone traveller.
There is more work involved in the selection of an apartment, especially in reading the fine print. How do you pay? When? How much is the deposit? When do you have to pay the deposit? Are there service charges, security deposits, extra charges for cleaning or electricity, heating etc?
You might lose your key or have complex security codes to remember.
You have to be tidier, taking out rubbish, doing basic housework if you are staying for any length of time.
You might have an apartment in a building without an elevator, though this will be clearly indicated in the description of the apartment.