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I never relish selecting hotels in expensive cities. It always hurts either the pocketbook or the points balance. Additionally, I was facing the sad reality that many hotels in Europe don’t block their rooms for 3 people. And if they do, the rooms aren’t always available at the standard points rate.
These two issues really thinned the field when it came to hotel options. Eventually, I was able to settle on IHG as the best chain, and the Crowne Plaza Paris Republique as the best choice among the less-than-ideal field of options. At 45,000 IHG points per night, we burnt 135,000 IHG points for our three nights in the City of Lights.
We paid an extra fee of €30 per night for an upgrade to a room with two beds, but it was still worth it, as the cash rates for a standard room were $336 per night (ouch) over our dates for the same room. All said and done, we received about 0.67 cents per IHG point. Pretty much right about where I value them after the last devaluation (SEE: 3 reasons IHG doesn’t have a real hotel loyalty program).
Arriving at the Crowne Plaza Paris Republique
We landed at Charles De Gaulle International Airport at 8:50 in the morning, which was much earlier than I anticipated due to a last-minute flight cancellation and subsequent rebooking (SEE: Submitting an EU261 claim that could net me $1,500). The original plan had been to go straight to the hotel, grab dinner, relax, then hit the hay. But now we had nearly a whole day in Paris ahead of us since we were rebooked on a Delta flight that got us to Paris much earlier (SEE: Delta 777 economy review: Seattle to Paris). We needed to drop our bags, so the Crowne Plaza Paris Republique was still the first stop.
Transportation from the airport was via the RER B train to Gare du Nord. Then we transferred to Metro line 5 to the Republique stop. The Crowne Plaza is just steps from the stop, which was one of the most attractive features of booking this specific hotel.
We were greeted by the concierge who offered to take our bags. Even though it was only 11:00 a.m., I held out some hope that we may be able to check into our room. I asked nicely at the front desk.
But we were out of luck. Nothing was available. Leaving the bags with the concierge, we headed out for a day in Paris with one goal: stay awake.
When we finally arrived back at the hotel, exhausted, we were able to check into our superior room. I’d emailed the hotel ahead of time to request the upgrade, for which they asked for the €30 per night co-pay. This was acceptable enough, given that is was just under the difference in room price.
I wish IHG Platinum status counted for just a little more, including the ability to confirm a fairly normal room that would accommodate the three of us. I wasn’t asking for a suite. There wasn’t anything really that different about this room from a standard room, except that it has two beds. The Doubletree we would be staying at in Luxembourg was willing to do this for us, and I have about equivalent status (Gold) with Hilton.
We were in room 346, at the end of the building facing a side street. The corridor to the room has a view of the interior courtyard.
The room had two double beds, which is what I had requested. No surprises here.
There was a television, of course. It got turned on only once when we rested for an hour before heading our sightseeing again.
The desk it located at the end of the room toward the window, along with a chair and small table.
On the other side of the beds, there is the closet and numerous shelves.
There was a minibar to the side of the closet. As usual, everything was a ridiculous price. There was also a tray with instant coffee and tea, two mugs, and a kettle on another shelf.
To my dismay, the array of outlets at the desk did not include an American-style outlet. It was at that moment that I realized I’d forgotten our universal power adapter.
(SEE ALSO: What Kind of Power Adapter do I need for Travel?)
The nightstand didn’t offer anything beyond a standard European outlet, either.
Luckily, the front desk had one that (barely) worked. It didn’t include a ground pin, which worried me a bit. They allowed us to borrow it for free and we returned it at checkout.
The bathroom was nice, although it could probably use an update. Especially the shower/tub combo.
The toilet is in a separate room from the sink and shower, which is consistent with the other hotels we’ve stayed at in France. The kids found this a bit odd.
The view from our room was of the side street. There isn’t really a balcony to speak of.
If you strained, you can sort of get a view of the street.
Overall, our room at the Crowne Plaza Paris Republique was a bit dated, but still very nice. It was adequate for us, and pretty much exactly as expected.
Because IHG doesn’t offer free breakfast at any elite level, let alone the Platinum Elite status I have with my IHG Rewards Club Mastercard, we opted to get breakfast at a nearby bakery each morning. We also went with a standard Parisian breakfast of a croissant and coffee. Well, coffee for me. Juice for the kids.
There are two fantastic bakeries close to the Crowne Plaza Paris Republique: Aux Péchés Normands and Boulangerie Utopie. The Aux Péchés Normands is where we had breakfast every day. It is almost within view of our room. Extending the smartphone out the window can get you a shot.
Pastries and beverages for the three of us were about 13-18€. Not super cheap, but much better than the hotel prices. Plus, we could select what we wanted and then take it all to a bench by the canal and enjoy a beautiful morning in Paris.
The Boulangerie Utopie is a bit more upscale, if that is a proper descriptor for a bakery. We got eclairs and something else I can neither remember nor pronounce.
The eclairs were by far the best I’ve ever had. The bakery is highly rated, albeit pricey, but it’s worth a try.
Metro access – the best feature
One of the primary features I look for when booking a city hotel is its accessibility to public transit. Many chain hotel options were off the table due to room occupancy issues, and the few that were left, especially in the IHG chain, weren’t especially appealing. I settled on the Crowne Plaza Paris Republique due to its easy access to multiple metro lines, and this worked out nicely.
From the Republique metro station, you can access the Île de la Cité in just a few stops via Line 11 to the Châtelet stop. Line 5 takes you back to Gare du Nord. Champs Elysse can be accessed by lines 8 and 9. The Louvre isn’t readily accessible, but if you don’t mind walking through Jardin des Tuileries on your way there, Line 8 is suitable enough. Line 9 will take you to Trocadéro where you can get an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower before walking past the fountains and gardens on your way to Paris’ most iconic feature.
Remember that kids can get half-price metro tickets if you buy them by the carnet (of 10). We went through a few carnets during our adventures, but at least I was paying much less per ride for them.
Rest of the property
The Crowne Plaza Paris Republique offers one main restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Le Dix is serves French cuisine in a modern atmosphere. While I love good food, the prices kept us away. €5-6 per person for breakfast at a nearby bakery or café is a much better deal.
There are a couple seating areas in the lobby, along with the Club Lounge bar. While the focus is on the drinks, you can also grab a bite to eat here as well.
Near the front desk is another small lobby seating area. Definitely going for a library feel. I didn’t check out any of the titles on the shelf.
If you head downstairs (easier via the stairs than the elevator), there are restrooms. Or loos. Or water closets. Whatever suits your fancy. Just don’t get lost and try this door.
Does someone want to help me understand what this could possibly be for?
We took the elevator most of the time. I took the photo below because of the placard placement in the elevator. How are you supposed to know which floor to push when the label is placed between two different floors?? Are both the 2nd and 3rd floors strictly for IHG Rewards Club members?
The Crowne Plaza Paris Republique offers a fitness room, but no pool. The kids were a bit disappointed. But I told them we were here to see the city, not to play in the pool. We stayed busy enough over our three days that I didn’t hear anything more on the subject.
Problems with our stay
The first major issue was the WiFi. It was awful. We could hardly browse the web at a reasonable rate. The kids and I managed to FaceTime mom and the little guy at home. Barely. The video was choppy and we lost it multiple times. Overall, the wireless internet is in need of significant help for a hotel of this caliber.
The second issue at the Crowne Plaza Paris Republique was the fire alarm. We had two instances where the alarm sounded, and we had to leave the hotel. Each time it ceased after a few minutes, and everyone headed back into the building. I ran into another guest from the states and she mentioned that this had happened last time she stayed here (SEE: Should you expect hotel fire alarm compensation?). But in the middle of the night. We had one night left at that point, so that wasn’t comforting. Luckily, it didn’t happen again after that morning.
Other than that, it was a typical upscale hotel stay. In other words, we enjoyed a fairly nice room in a good location, but didn’t utilize any of the other services because everything is out of our price range. 🙂
While I wouldn’t call our stay at the Crowne Plaza Paris Republique an especially aspirational use of points, it was one of the best options on the table. Burning 45,000 IHG points per night for a nice hotel in a good location in an expensive city is a reasonable redemption in my book. I’d gladly do it over again.
I wish I could say that there was something about this hotel stood out to me. But I really am at a loss. The convenient metro access was great, and it’s in a good neighborhood with some decent bakeries and restaurants. I also still don’t know what the Crowne Plaza brand is supposed to feel like. The two I’ve stayed at have been nice, yet pretty blah (SEE: Crowne Plaza San Francisco Airport Review).