Am I too hard on the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme, or just the right amount of hard?

I stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme (PHPV, or “HPV” for short) for six nights back in 2016, and it was okay. I gave it a decent review at the time, but over time my feelings have somewhat soured on it. Part of it is the location — the last time I was in Paris, I stopped by the Vendôme area to grab some macarons, and I was reminded how much I don’t like it. In retrospect, I think it was a bad decision to stick us in that part of the city for a week, and I’m taking out some of my regret on the Park Hyatt. Most of the reviews online talk about how great the location is, so maybe I’m in the minority here. I’ve talked about all this before, so I’ll move on.

In my review of the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam (the sweet, sweet Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam), I compared it very favorably to the Park Hyatt Paris, since these two are still my only benchmarks for this sort of top-tier luxury hotel, and I don’t think they’re anywhere near in the same league. A commenter opined that I was being too hard on the Park Hyatt, and I was reminded of this comment a few days ago reading this effusively positive review over at One Mile at a Time.

Now, first let me say that using a top-tier elite upgrade to get a suite and then getting further upgraded into a bigger suite sounds pretty great, but it’s so not representative of how most people will experience this hotel. I’ve said in the past how annoyed I get reading reviews of a hotel I want to stay at, only to see that the review is of the presidential suite because of a domino-like cascade of elite upgrades. I was even conflicted when I wrote my Waldorf Astoria review, since at least some of the nice treatment I received at the hotel was due to having Diamond status with Hilton… although anyone can get Diamond status for $450 per year now, so it’s not quite the same thing as a status that’s actually hard to achieve, like Hyatt Globalist.

If I had had Hyatt Diamond status at the time of my Park Hyatt stay, I would have been treated to their very excellent breakfast buffet on a daily basis, and I likely would have been upgraded into a better room than what I received as a Hyatt Platinum. (For reference, my Hyatt Platinum status was ignored completely, except to save me 50% on the breakfast buffet.) Those two things would definitely have made an appreciable difference in my overall stay.

It’s not just the room and the breakfast buffet, though. Or the hideous decor, which is at least very memorable. The whole experience at the Park Hyatt felt barely nicer than your standard category 5/6 Hyatt property. For instance, I still found myself constantly waiting for the elevator both going up and going down. Or the fact that our room was cleaned at a different time every day, so we kept having to wait in the lobby when we came back to the hotel, despite trying to time our return based on the previous day’s housekeeping schedule.

Here’s another example… Given that they have a fancy nail salon in the hotel, I thought it would be a fun treat for Justine to get a manicure, so I tried to set one up for her. First I went to the concierge and asked how to go about booking an appointment, and they sent me downstairs to the spa. The receptionist at the spa didn’t know what I was talking about, called someone else, and then told me that I had to go to the nail salon itself, which is in a room on the third floor of the hotel. So I went up there, and no one was there. I finally was able to get the damn manicure scheduled, but it took forever and was super annoying. I’m not saying I’m above stuff like this, but the Park Hyatt damn well should be. Is it really five star service to send someone on a wild goose chase just to purchase one of the services the hotel has to offer?

Aside from check-in, the staff at the hotel was completely hands-off. No one greeted us when we came in, asked us how our stay was going, or anything like that. The service in the restaurant at breakfast was indifferent, and check-in and check-out were like any other hotel. Maybe I’m paranoid, but I kind of felt like they knew were there using points and treated us accordingly.

Now, contrast this with the Waldorf, where every interaction with the staff seemed totally personalized. (Maybe they were pulling the wool over our eyes, but as long as the end result was the same, I don’t care.) Rahter than at a counter, check-in was in a separate room where we sat in armchairs and got hot towels. The servers in the breakfast room remembered our preferences day-to-day. The doormen never missed an opportunity to say hello or good-bye. Even though we were there on points and free night certificates, everything personal interaction exuded a genuine effort to make us feel like the most important guests in the hotel.

This may have been just good versus bad luck. You see it all the time on planes, where one reviewer raves about the service or food on a particular airline while someone else has a horrible time. And maybe it was about status after all, and the Waldorf treated me better because I was a Hilton Diamond (which I doubt). The bottom line, though, is that I don’t feel like my Diamond status was the reason we had such a good stay there — sure, the breakfast was great and our room was a little nicer than a base room at the hotel, but the whole experience around staying at the hotel was what made the stay so great.

At the Park Hyatt Paris, I don’t doubt that getting quadruple upgraded into a palatial Parisian luxury apartment would make the hotel sound pretty damn appealing. If you’re a Hyatt Globalist and have suite upgrade awards to burn, by all means go nuts. But for rank and file travelers, my this assessment of the PHPV from my original review still stands: “STAY AT THE PARK HYATT VENDOME. OR DON’T. IT’S NICE BUT IT WON’T CHANGE YOUR LIFE.”

Finally, there’s a little matter of the price of the hotel, which is usually around $600 per night. Unless you’re a Hyatt elite, you have to go into it with the understanding that all you’re getting for that extra few hundred bucks per night is some more marble in your room and some beef jerky monster sculptures. You could get an incredible AirBNB in Paris for that much. Or a beautiful suite at a not-as-nice hotel like one of the Intercontinentals. On points, it’s a different story depending on how many Chase/Hyatt points you have and how you value them. Either way, though, my strong caution is to not let the blogosphere’s collective reverence for this hotel inflate your expectations to the point that you’d stretch your budget (whether cash or points) to stay at this hotel instead of a less expensive one.

However, I do relish the idea of this blog being a true marketplace of ideas, so I welcome your disagreement. If you’ve had amazing experiences at the Park Hyatt (or terrible experiences at the Waldorf Amsterdam), leave ’em in the comments. I’m sure prospective Vendômers will appreciate it.

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8 thoughts on “Am I too hard on the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme, or just the right amount of hard?”

  1. This hotel is a great value using points at peak times as a top tier elite. When I’ve stayed rates have been ~ 1000 euros or more, alternatives are similarly expensive. And I get a suite plus the breakfast buffet or a 100+ euro room service credit.

    It’s not the absolute nicest hotel in Paris. But I find it a good hotel, accounting for the fact that it’s French.

    And I happen to like the neighborhood. It’s walkable to multiple metro stops, it’s quiet, and walkable to some very good restaurants. That’s not where everyone wants to stay but I enjoy it.

    It’s definitely possible to overplay the hotel, just as it’s possible to criticize it with straw men. I’ve stayed here in Paris five times I think because I’m NOT going to drop this kind of money on a hotel, so it’s nicer than what I’d otherwise get on points when leveraging my Hyatt elite status.

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    1. But with any other Hyatt status besides Globalist, do you think the PH is worth the premium either in points or cash vs the Hotel du Louvre or the Hyatt Madeleine? I guess if you have a huge balance of either Chase or Hyatt points, why not stay at the PH instead of those other two? I don’t have either anymore, and with 5/24, I probably won’t ever again, so I need to be judicious about where I spend them.

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      1. Depends on your taste in hotel and indeed for that matter how much the hotel matters to you (to many it’s “just a room” and “you’re out all the time in Paris anyway”).

        As you say, depends how much the increment in cash or points matters to you (your opportunity cost) as well.

        So it’s not really a question one person can answer for someone else, the best is to say “here’s what matters to me and why I choose this hotel over this other one.” I have plenty of Hyatt and Chase points, and would rather have the marginally nicer hotel for the limited time I can go away on leisure and Paris is always with my wife. For me the constraint is time not points.

        I don’t think this would be my choice of property for cash and certainly not without top tier status. But I think broadly speaking it’s still a good use of points, and immensely so with status.

        Which is all to say that the property can be too hyped, it can be too panned, but that it also offers a certain kind of value to a certain kind of traveler.

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      2. These are good questions, and with some trepidation, we’re about to find out. As Gary says, the rooms are often going for 1,000 euros a night, and while they are not worth that (to me — maybe they are to the tennis players, fashion folks, and would-be oligarchs), I’m also amazed how many tourists drop 300 euros a night in Paris for some super-small, cruddy hostel/hotels. Originally I was not much taken by the neighborhood (luxury stores not on my radar, nor I on theirs), but one of the many (many, many) charms of Paris is that each corner you turn, each neighborhood, has its own charm. Which, fortunately, looks a lot like all the great charms you experience in all the other places in Paris. We went over the the PHV as Hyatt Platinums three or so years ago for a couple of nights off the credit card sign up, plus (IIRC) a 550 euro or so FHR night (so we wouldn’t look like total sleezes); they comped us the b’fast on the freebie nights, gave us the same good room all three nights… and the affair was on. I have used patience plus P+C plus Diamond/Globalist suite upgrades for a string of great experiences — maybe 16 nights there last year.

        So, anyhow, they know us, for better or worse, and I hope it’s for the better, because we are about to go back without suite upgrades, as P+C and points chiselers, for a couple of extended stays in peak demand periods as — the horror — Explorists. I hope we don’t get the smallest room in the place but I can think of several reasons we could or should, and if that happens rationality will trump romance and we’ll probably cancel out the second stay for somewhere more practical. If they offer the b’fast at half-price for Explorists, we may do that half the time. We’re either not tourists or lazy tourists, and the hotel life itself at the PHV can be a hoot. (When I’m in Paris w/out spouse I’m usually in a 80 euro a night Adagio on the eastern edge. And, you know what? I love it out there, too.) Also, we have developed a faible (as the French say) for the white chocolate brioche from the Eric Kayser in the rue Danielle Casanova caddy-corner from the PHV. That, plus the Globalist b’fast (hate to let a benefit slip by) can start to slow one down.

        Anyhow, you’re not wrong about what you say (not only does it take them forever to do the room during the day, but sometimes they take a pause to smoke, sur place), and your estimation of the benefits may be closer to what we are about to walk into, although up until now our experience is closer to that described by Gary. On verra.

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  2. Nope, you are right, the location is awful. And you pinpointed the best neighborhood to stay in- the Marais-Canal St. Martin-Bastille triangle. Its more interesting, less touristy, has better and cheaper eating options, and is just as central/Metro accessible. Better, even, because of how convenient Republique is with the 5 Metro lines.

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