Review: I return to Renaissance Paris Republique – not as good, but still the best value Bonvoy option?

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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:

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

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:

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

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):

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

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:

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

Here are a couple of shots from inside my Renaissance Paris Republique room:

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

There is no desk as such but it was easy to work off the table.  Wi-fi was fast and free.

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

and (note the ‘open’ bathroom):

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

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):

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

and

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

and the restaurant / breakfast room (stock photo):

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

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):

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

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.

Renaissance Paris Republique hotel review

Conclusion

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.

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Comments

  1. You can get an incredible view from below the 8th floor in London too (she says sipping her tea in front of the floor to ceiling windows in her 7th floor flat).
    The fireworks were amazing yesterday!

    • Invite us over and we’ll write a review of your place 😉

    • Nick Burch says:

      You don’t get great views from 8th floor rooms in Delhi right now though, so it does vary by city…

      I’ve head great things about the cooking of Cat’s other half, so maybe the Christmas party answer is for everyone to go to her flat 😉

      • He is a phenomenal cook Nick! He made me the most wonderful beef Wellington, lined with pigs’ jowl pate, for my birthday last week! And dauphinois. Twas good!

      • Is M with you in Delhi, Nick? Do you have any time over the weekend for a mini break? I have all sorts of Rajasthani recommendations!

        • Nick Burch says:

          We’re off to Agra tomorrow for the weekend! Rajasthani recommendations of interest for my January trip though 🙂

          • Obviously Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur are stunning, and well worth an explore. You’ve already been to Jaipur, haven’t you
            Stay in some of the painted havelis of the Shekhawati region – it’s a less explored area, and I highly, highly both Narayan Niwas Castle in Mahansar and Malji Ka Kamra in Churu.
            Also, there’s somewhere nearby where you can ride Marwari horses – they’re amazing beasts!
            I’ll have a think of other recommendations!

  2. John Dodd says:

    I note that you found working at the table ok. The biggest complaint I have is the complaint from my wife that at almost every hotel there is no mirror above the desk to allow the ladies to deal with make-up or hair. Your photo shows the usual mirror that requires madam to sit in the floor. Standing in a steamy bathroom creates even more complaints. Suggest you ask your better half her views on most hotel bedrooms.

    • In that instance, it looks like there is a shelf under the TV, and I believe that chairs move so could be positioned in front of the mirror, but that might require assistance from the worse half. You may find that tables can be moved too.

  3. Bootlace says:

    I stayed in the crowne plaza in Place de la Republique, recently very large rooms, but could do with a refurb, but the breakfast was superb. as rob says great transport links.
    O/T I will be in Delhi in 2 weeks for five days any hotel recommendations?

    • Sandra Pace says:

      We last stayed at the Crowne Plaza about 10 years ago and it needed a refurb then. My lasting memory is of being in the executive lounge and our son who was about 10 at the time suddenly shouting ‘mouse’! He was quite correct it ran across the floor and under one of the banquettes. We alerted the staff and the concierge actually brought in the hotel cat which he said they kept for just such an event – never caught it though as, over the 3 or 4 days we were there, we saw it several more times. Ever since my children have referred to it as the ‘Paris mouse hotel’! As Rob says Place De La Republique is great for a stay in Paris and easy to get to on the metro.

    • Imperial was good (12 years ago!)

      • Bootlace,

        As Rob says, the Imperial is good for colonial charm and service. It also has a great bar and a fantastic pan-Asian restaurant, along with a few other restaurants. It is very central and close to Connaught Place.

        The Oberoi reopened a little while ago after an extensive refurbishment and while it is one of the most expensive properties in the city, I think it is worthwhile.

        The Maurya, a Luxury Collection Hotel, is fantastic and has a world famous restaurant, Bukhara, for food from Northern India and the North West Frontier Province of yore.

        Other business hotels include the Hyatt Regency, Le Meriden, and the Taj Mahal Hotel. The last one is a luxury hotel for business travellers, but I think they are in dispute with the authorities about their lease and I haven’t kept up to date on the situation.

        There is also the Taj Palace Hotel in the Diplomatic Enclave and last but definitely not the least, the Leela Palace in a different part of the Diplomatic Enclave. Along with the Oberoi hotel group, the Leela hotels take immense pride in delivering excellent service.

        The last time I was in New Delhi, four years ago, I stayed at the Maurya, a few weeks after President Obama had stayed there, as a result of which the hotel was in top form. Also spent a couple of nights at the Oberoi, which had my favourite Italian restaurant in India and I knew the chef very well. This was pre refurbishment. The chef has moved back to Italy.

        Some friends of mine went to New Delhi a couple of years ago, I recommended the Leela Palace because they had the budget for it and the Oberoi was closed for renovations. They loved the Leela and said they will go back there next year.

        Hope you have a good visit, although the air pollution levels out there are terrible at the moment. Everyone has been advised to stay indoors.

  4. What is it about open bathrooms?

    Yes, it’s fun to share a shower from time to time, but honestly most bathroom moments really don’t need to be shared.

    • +1
      Usually if I find that a hotel has this, then I will actively seek out another property! Have also given direct feedback to many hotel general managers about this, but they uniformly tell me that most guests love it and hotel interior designers, such as the famous Andre Fu, whose designs include glass walls de rigeur, insist on including the open look.

    • +1
      In Poznan we even saw this in a twin room!
      I would refuse to share a bedroom with a business colleague anyway, but that…

    • Lady London says:

      +1. Even travelling singly if I discover glass walled or open bathroom I am unlikely to book again.

      Will be very expensive and difficult for hotels to fix this when the fashion goes.

      • I quite like the ones that have internal glass windows that can be made opaque at the flick of a switch though!
        I’ve also seen glass bathrooms with blinds that can be pulled down, if you’re not an exhibitionist.
        Glass bathrooms in a twin room – why on Earth would anyone think that’s a good idea?

        • Saves having to put a TV in the bathroom.

          • RussellH says:

            The Hotel Neptune in Warnemünde (north of Rostock, on the Baltic Coast) has / had a smallish glass panel in the otherwise block amnd tile wall of the shower, carefully placed so that you could watch the TV (though not hear much!) while in the shower.

          • Know it, but never stayed there. My wife preferred Travemunde …

    • RussellH says:

      I remember being shown around a hotel in Austria where the shower cubicle was in one corner of the room, while the washbasin and WC were in a separate room behind a solid wooden door.
      My colleauge from Edinburgh, whose firm mostly ran coach tours that tended to cater for for douce ladies from Morningside and Kelvinside commented that were she to book her clients into said hotel, she would probably have had to deal with half-a-dozen heart attacks.
      But teutonic people do often comment that people from the UK are ridiculously up tight about such things!

      • Indeed, I remember the first time I went skiing with my German relatives at the age of 13, in Austria. We went for a swim in the hotel pool, then went to the sauna, and I was hit simultaneously by a wave of heat and horror, as I realised that not only had my cousin not been kidding about the fact that people didn’t wear their cossie in the sauna, not only were there men as well as women in there (which my cousin hadn’t thought to mention), but half of the people in the sauna were my extended family…
        I’m used to such things now, but my horror then was indescribable!

  5. IMHO I don’t think that the welcome amenity should be put down to the hotel but it’s a Marriott call. I had the same experience in majority of my stays in 2019 in a number of countries I visited. Therefore I would not penalize the hotel for this.

    • True – they have moved to ‘brand standards’. However, it is still a devaluation and so makes me less likely to return.

      • RussellH says:

        Surely a hotel should be able to offer something **better** than the brand standard if they want?

        • It wouldn’t be the first time a hotel had complained that it had been forced to make things worse. Hilton made a lot of UK executive lounges cut back on their offering a couple of years ago in order to ‘standardise’ it. It makes all the other hotels look bad if one goes above and beyond ….

  6. I’m sorry to say this as an ex Sheraton fan but since Marriott has taken over the food has just plummeted in terms of quality and preparation. I was speaking to a chef at the Sheraton Doha and he was saying Marriott Chefs have to follow the Marriott approved online training course. Basically when a customer orders something off the menu they go into the kitchen, download the recipe and follow it. Classy. Fortunately middle east hotels know customer’s wouldn’t put up with it and walk.

    Rob, I thought the welcome gift was an extra add on for Titaniums on top of the points or vouchers?

    • Don’t think so. Last year the check-in team gave me a list inc food and drink OR points. This year it was €10 or points.

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