This is my 2019 review of the Renaissance Paris Republique hotel, an impressive Marriott property.
The official Renaissance Paris Republique website is here.
Last year I wrote a very positive review of Renaissance Paris Republique, booking a stay after hearing a lot of buzz about it. After visiting, I could see what the fuss was about – in terms of overall quality and value for your points, it was a great Marriott Bonvoy redemption.
Back in Paris last month, I returned. The bad news is that hotel has lost a couple of its killer features. The good news is that it remains decent value for your points.
Why did I choose Renaissance Paris Republique?
Until last year, it was almost 30 years since I had stayed in a Renaissance hotel. Apart from a vague feeling that they are pitched above the level of your average Marriott (the amazing hotel at St Pancras where we held our Summer Party is a Renaissance) I couldn’t list a single specific feature of the brand. However, I was instantly attracted by the modernist building and what looked like a very impressive recent refurbishment and for a one-night stay there was little at risk.
Here is a stock photo from the website which won me over:
It turned out that I had never been to Place de la Republique, despite spending around 50 nights in Paris over the last 20 years. It has a lot going for it. It has the same architectural style to the main tourist areas but is not a tourist hub. It is filled with ‘practical’ retail rather than even more branches of Zara. More importantly, a lot of metro lines converge at Republique. Gare du Nord for Eurostar is only three stops or a modest walk (I walked) and the ‘grands magasins’ at Opera are also only a few stops away (again, I walked it easily).
(For clarity, the walk to Place de la Republique from the Eurostar terminal is virtually the same distance as the one to Place de l’Opera where the InterContinental – my other favourite Paris option – sits. Both are idiot-proof walks – you exit Gare du Nord, turn onto the correct road and just keep walking straight!)
Inside Renaissance Paris Republique
To be honest, the hotel looks less appealing from the outside:
Step inside, though, and these funky reception desks make it clear that this is a smart place to be (stock photo, because it is better than mine):
Check-in was …. interesting. I had arrived at the exact time that the hotel was having its weekly fire test, which involved disabling the lifts for a few minutes. I was asked to sit in the bar for 10 minutes during the test, and a tray of coffee was brought to me whilst I waited. No complaints.
The first cut then became apparent. Last year I was Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite and got to choose two ‘welcome amenities’ from a long list of food and drink items. I ended up with a bottle of wine and a plate of ice cream. It was probably the most welcome ‘welcome gift’ ever, given how hot a day it was back in 2018.
This year I am Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite, which is effectively the same thing following the tier reorganisation. In 2019, my ‘welcome amenity’ was a choice of 1,000 Bonvoy points OR a €10 food and drink credit. I wasn’t going to get a bottle of wine and some ice cream for €10. This was a disappointing cutback.
My room at Renaissance Paris Republique
I had booked a standard room, which the hotel calls ‘Paris Syle Room’, for 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (Category 6).
I can’t remember what the cash rate was, but it easily hit my target of 0.5p per point.
This is one of those Bonvoy hotels which lets you pay more at the time of booking for a better room. Looking at a random day in late November, you can guarantee a ‘Bobo’ room for another €20 and an ‘Urban’ room (top floors, skyline view) for €40. A suite is an extra €100-€150 per night. These prices will be higher at peak times.
I decided to stick with the base room and see what my Titanium Elite status got me. The answer was ‘not much’. I was given an Urban Room, which anyone could have got by paying the extra €40 at the time of booking.
(Possibly I should have paid €40 for an Urban Room in the first place in at attempt to force the hotel to give me a suite. Reports show that this place is not known for generous elite upgrades however. Last year I did not get upgraded at all, having paid extra for a ‘Bobo’ room, so it may also have been €40 down the toilet.)
The ‘wow’ factor about the Urban Rooms is the view. I was on the 8th floor, which in most cities doesn’t get you much of a view but in Central Paris makes a huge difference, both in terms of pure enjoyment and the light you get:
Here are a couple of shots from inside my Renaissance Paris Republique room:
There is no desk as such but it was easy to work off the table. Wi-fi was fast and free.
and (note the ‘open’ bathroom):
I couldn’t get a good bathroom photo – there is only a shower and no tub. Toiletries were branded ‘Sothys’.
There is a capsule coffee machine – just visible in the middle picture above – plus a good minibar.
This was a very classy room with high quality furnishings and I’m not sure the photos do it justice. Huge amounts of money have been spent on the interiors.
At ground, the reception flows into the lobby bar which flows into the restaurant. Again, it all looks pretty good (2018 photos below):
and the restaurant / breakfast room (stock photo):
and the outdoor terrace:
Then it all went wrong at breakfast ….
It was all going so well …. and then we got to breakfast the next morning.
My favourite thing about Renaissance Paris Republique in 2018 was the lack of a breakfast buffet. All it offered was a la carte, and as a Marriott status member most of it was free. It was all VERY civilised, right down to this fantastic jam holder brought to my table (2018 picture):
Boy have things changed.
The a la carte breakfast has gone, to be replaced by a buffet. On paper, this does not seem like the end of the world.
However, this hotel has specific issues. There are only 105 rooms. A lot of guests seem to eat out – I’ve forgotten the price of the buffet but I remember thinking they made the right choice (€29?). The other guests, a mix of business travellers and tourists, stagger breakfast across four hours or so.
This means (on the positive side) that you should find the breakfast room pleasantly empty, at least midweek. The bad news is that the food which is sitting there appears to have been out for hours.
It was bad. Really bad. The pancakes had gone rock hard. The plates of scrambled egg (individually made in small dishes, quite classy) had been out so long under lamps that the top had gone dark orange whilst the base was still yellow.
There also, frankly, isn’t much choice – not surprising if you are only serving 30-40 rooms per day. I found it all quite depressing compared to last year.
It turns out that having a la carte breakfast is actually a necessity at this hotel. If some guests want to eat quickly, the hotel needs to take the middle way and have all hot food cooked to order (but still included in the price) whilst leaving the cold items out.
The Renaissance Paris Republique hotel is a classy, civilised place to stay. Whilst you are not directly by any major tourist sites, Republique metro has an exit immediately outside the hotel entrance and you can easily get to wherever you need to be or to Gare du Nord. You can also walk to a lot of key places. One upside of being in a more residential area is the large number of cafes and restaurants near the hotel.
That said, the loss of a la carte breakfast – coupled with the downgraded welcome amenity and weak elite recognition – makes me less likely to stay there again. My usual haunts in Paris are nearer Opera than Republique, and the InterContinental should be fully open again at some point in 2020.
It DOES remain good value for points, however. In a city with many Category 8 and Category 7 options, Renaissance Paris Republique is a Category 6. This means it is:
- 40,000 points off-peak
- 50,000 points standard
- 60,000 points peak
…. which is good value given the cash rates much of the time.
The Renaissance Paris Republique website is here if you want to find out more.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (January 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
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