Saturday, June 1, 2013

Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme

Hotel Stay Detail
Hotel: Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme
Dates: May 29-June 1, 2013
Rate Paid: 22,000 Gold Passport Points/night 
Regular Room Rate: $976/night (incl. tax)
Total $ Benefit: $2,928 
Point Redemption: 4.4 cents/pt

After a long wait and excruciatingly detailed planning, we finally checked into the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme.

For regular LCD readers, you'll recall this is the third Park Hyatt we've been lucky enough to stay at. The first was the PH Mendoza (amazing Presidential suite) and the second was the PH Buenos Aires (phenomenal VIP service). And they say, "The third time's the charm."

But I have to say, the PHPV was very nice, but overall, it wasn't all that they made it out to be. Don't get me wrong, it would have been an amazing stay had I not been to the Park Hyatts in Argentina a few months before. But you never really felt comfortable in your own skin here.

Location - Amazing. Right on 5 Rue de la Paix and within walking distance to the Louvre, Royal Palace, Rue Saint-Honoré and Tuileries Garden. The street is also full of luxury goods retailers like Cartier, Montblanc, Charvet, and Louis Vitton to name just a few.

The area is very similar to Manhattan's Upper East Side (Madison Ave, not York Ave). Very posh and well-heeled individuals everywhere along with the entitled polished service industry that supports them.

Room - Very nicely appointed and classically modern (isn't that an oxymoron?). A lot of gold trim (but not in a Donald Trump sort of way) and dark wood paneling/furniture. We were "upgraded" to a King Deluxe room as Diamond status members from the regular Park Queen room we had booked using Hyatt points. We did notice a small difference after we saw a Park Queen room which didn't have our walk in closet or extended bathroom.

The room also came with 2 complimentary bottles of Evian water, a coffee maker with some very nice coffee that my mother raves about as well as an iPod docking station, DVD player and a US electrical plug adapter.

Housekeeping and evening turn down service did a great job. In fact, every day, they replaced our bar soaps from just 1 day's use with entirely new packages. The baby liberal environmentalist in me was shocked, but the young hotel traveler in me was quite impressed.

Food - As Hyatt Diamond members, we were entitled to complimentary breakfast either downstairs in the hotel restaurant as a buffet or via room service as a fixed a la carte. Of course, my ravenous parents opted for the unlimited buffet.

The complimentary breakfast choice was the "American Breakfast" which runs for a pretty eye popping €49  ($64 USD)... per person.

For that price, in addition to the buffet of pastries, cereals, yogurts, fruit, cold cuts and cheeses, you were also given fresh squeezed fruit juices (orange, mango, carrott, grapefruit), coffee/tea and an egg dish (omelette, scrambled, poached).

I immediately went online on our family iPad and confirmed that at Trader Joe's in NYC, you could buy an entire gallon of orange juice, a few pounds of organic fruit, and a full carton of eggs for under $10 USD total. Could have saved $114 per breakfast!

But since our American Breakfast was provided 100% free (thank you, Hyatt), we indulged ourselves (i.e., pretended like we paid in cash and had to get our money's worth).

The buffet choice were very good, especially the fresh salmon, which was actually sushi grade quality. But you can only eat so much pastries, fruit and cold cuts before you want your breakfast entree.

The hot egg dishes, however, left a lot to be desired. Their version of scrambled eggs was more like a soup. They even gave you a spoon instead of a fork. My father had read how amazing they were, so he tried it, but was not a fan. My mother's omelette was fine, but it didn't have much taste to it (the way the egg disc in the Egg McMuffin tastes). Neither of them finished their plate, which gave me some ammo the next time they want me to finish the food on my plate!

Baby Friendliness - Like most high end luxury hotels, the Park Hyatt did a great job catering to me. When we walked into our room, my pack and play was already set up with some pretty nice baby blankets.

Then in the bathroom, we found not only a baby bathtub, but also a tiny mini-potty. I'm not even 19 months old yet, but I appreciate the vote of confidence! And as you can see in the earlier photo, they also had high chairs for me in their restaurant.

So a solid A- in this area (no A+ because they didn't have any baby shampoo or baby lotion like at the Conrad Koh Samui or a baby bathrobe like they did at the Intercontinental Berchtesgaden).

Service - Here's where the Park Hyatt Paris fell short of its other Park Hyatt peers. As you may know, my parents are not the flashiest of people. They keep themselves relatively well groomed, but always appear somewhat casual. Despite this fashion choice (or lack thereof), every single member of the Argentina Park Hyatt staff (at both properties) treated them like VIP guests. Granted, perhaps it was because my father was a Hyatt Diamond, but I'm pretty sure it's just how they treated all their Park Hyatt hotel guests.

The PH Paris staff was a bit more inconsistent. While some exuded the amazingly high level of customer service that the Park Hyatt's are known for (front desk and restaurant wait staff in particular), several others (some doormen/concierge and especially one restaurant hostess) seemed to calibrate their level of engagement based on their visual assessment of your social status.

We realized early on that when they randomly asked for your room number, it was a passive way to determine if you "belonged" in the hotel or not. A few times, they seemed to want to stop us from entering the hotel or the restaurant - like we had mistakenly wandered into a private dinner party accidentally looking for a McDonalds. My mother also noticed that she drew a lot of suspicious stares from the female staff as if she threw out their last copy of 50 Shades of Gray. Let's just say the prevalence of this attitude wasn't everywhere, but it was very noticeable and became very annoying very quickly.

My parents would never say so, but I'm pretty sure it was because my stroller was pretty cheap looking. Perhaps if I had the latest Bugaboo, I would have garnered some more respect, but alas, my umbrella stroller's been with me through the rough times, so I'm not going to ditch it now to impress some naive French restaurant hostess.

Overall - In conclusion, we had a nice stay here, but it wasn't quite as "amazing" as the Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires or what I expect the Park Hyatts to be in Tokyo and Sydney. And I know Europe is expensive in general, especially with the USD:EUR conversion rate, but it's hard to imagine we'd ever even think about spending cash for the hotel instead of using our Hyatt points.


  1. I stayed at the Park Hyatt Vendome with my wife and kid (18 months) on two free nights and one award night back September 2012 in a regular queen room without any status and would say the level of service I received was excellent. In fact, my daughter knocked over the very nice table mirror in the bathroom, broke the mirror, and they said no problem.

  2. I'm sure they're amazing 99.9% of the time as they were during our stay, but a few bad apples threw off the perfection. But then again, maybe we're just spoiled from enjoying so many great hotels out there.

  3. Great write up. Just stumbled onto your blog. We are going in July/August without our youngest. She did have a great time at the PH Tokyo. It was an outstanding stay there...10x better than the Conrad Tokyo on that same trip.

  4. I have to say that the PH Vendome was indeed better than the Westin Paris Vendome or the new Hyatt (Hotel du Louvre) which we also visited while in Paris. If/when we go back to Paris, I'm quite certain we'll stay at the PH Vendome again. They all speak perfect English and the rooms are much nicer than the other hotels we saw.

    I'm sure most people will have a great time, but the cultural definition/standard of service can be different. The PH Buenos Aires was truly incredible and the difference was noticeable. I suspect the PH Vendome gets a lot of "stereotypical Americans" guests and have developed a little prejudice as a result.

  5. I want to book at stay there in November with points and noticed that the only room you can book is the park queen which says maximum two guests. We'll be bringing our 1 year old. Will this be a problem? Don't want to arrive and face problems.

  6. @ nanazy, there have been numerous reports of couples bringing their infant with them. The only real issue will be if you require a crib as space may not accommodate. We just shared the queen bed for the 3 of us.

    However, some (but not all) front desk people will say that fire safety laws require them to only have 2 people total, but I found that to be just a silly way to convince you to pay for an upgrade to a Deluxe room.

    If I were you, I wouldn't worry. This happens all the time. And if you get someone who's adamant, just ask to speak with someone else (manager).

  7. Thanks! Just need to wait for my free nights to arrive now...

  8. I was there in September with my family. I have to say, in all my years, I have never felt so blatantly discriminated against until I came here. I had such high hopes for my stay here, since I read such rave reviews about the great service. I guess if you don't look the part you don't deserve good service? Or maybe if you are asian? Regardless, it was so bad that even the management didn't argue with us...hell even the senior vp of all the hyatts in europe, middle east and africa apologized profusely. While the rest of the staff were professional, hyatt needs to perhaps train their front desk employees the concept of good service.

  9. That's a shame. We didn't have that bad of an experience, but I wouldn't even doubt you for a second.

    1. Oh and there were more diamond status members in my party than not, and we still got horrible service.

  10. The thing is, it's really unacceptable to even ask randomly what your room number is because they think you don't belong there. If you are a 5 star hotel, you better have that level of service and they don't. If the guest does not feel like they belong or they feel not welcomed in any way, the PHVP is doing something wrong.

    I hope that your next stay there, your parents feel much more welcomed by the staff. I also went with my parents and it was the worst part of their european tour. The only silver lining was that the HP did take our complaints very seriously. The bigoted staff members have been disciplined...or so we have been told.