This hotel is about 10 minutes from Pau airport, about 30 seconds from the motorway exit and about 1 minute from a very large hospital. It is situated about 5 minutes from Pau itself in a fairly industial area not far from the university. It is actually approached from behind as the front of the hotel faces a main road and has no entrance.
The reception is failry small but the staff are friendly and speak English pretty well. Off of the lobby are the stairs leading to the rooms which are all on the first floor. Disabled visitors should be aware that there are no lifts and quite a lot of stairs. There also seemed to be no to help with luggage. Also from the lobby you can get to the Restaurant (which was shut for all but 1 day we were there) and the bar, which was always empty.
We asked for a non-smoking room but such things are a bit hit and miss in France. Outside the room there was so much smoke that non-smokers or asmatics may have a problem with this hotel. Worryingly there were also no sprinklers of any kind in the room (because of smokers setting them off I would guess). As you enter ther room there is a corridor with a door leading to the toilet, a separate door leading to the bathroom; a closet with a sliding door and another door leading to the bedroom. There was also a balcony.
The details on-line claim this hotel was built in 1992. It it was it was designed and decorated in 70's retro style. The toilet was clean but functional, being a small room with a pretty industrial looking light and nothing else at all other than the cream painted walls and that horrible lumpy wall paper that is the first thing you remove if you buy a house decorated in the 70's.
The bathroom is a pretty good size and has 2 sinks and a large mirror as well as a hairdryer. There is a pretty large bath and a shower but oddly no shower curtains. The area around the bath is tiled but several of the tiles are cracked or chipped and there is mildew around the bath. More worryingly there is a wall mounted electric heater with no guard over the controls so do not leave kids in the bathroom on their own.
The main room is pretty large but very dark and has no central light of any kind, only reading lights and a standard lamp. When we arrived one of the reading lamps didnt work and was half hanging off the wall and there were a number of plug sockets that didn't work or had been broken from the wall. Due to a mix up (my fault) they had provided a travel cot for my 5 year old son rather than a fold-up bed. If I had a baby though, I would not have put them in the travel cot which had a rip in the side just big enough for a baby to get it's neck stuck in. The room also nicely had a used nappy in one of the waste paper bins.
The hotel claims to have air-conditioning. This is technically acurate but not very helpful. What they have is leaky, noisy air con units that actually heat the room up rather than cool it down. Turn it off, you wont get any hotter but at least it will be a little quieter.
The rooms are pretty quite (at the back anyway, not sure what they would be like at the front of the hotel by the main road). Very oddly though, there are no drawers of any kind to put your clothes in. There is a fitted cupboard with broken hangers and a couple of shelves though so you'll have to use that. There is also a fridge/mini bar in the room, although ours had a delighful puddle in the bottom and rust marks beneath.
I think my biggest anoyance with the hotel was the claim on their web-site that they have a "childrens adventure playgound". This is absolutely not true. What they have is a wooden a-frame swing set that has gone rotten. It consists of 2 swings (one of which had nails sticking through the seat) and a 4 ft plastic slide. The frame was so warped that you couldn't use the one remaining swing without hitting the frame.
In short, if you are on a business trip and need somewhere to stay for the night this hotel is adequate (as long as you smoke, are able-bodied and don't mind the heat). If, like us, you had booked it as a base for a holiday and especially if you are travelling with kids I strongly recommend you avoid it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Le BEST WESTERN La Palmeraie est un hôtel restaurant de charme situé à Pau dans un parc arboré.Son cadre calme et verdoyant ainsi que le caractère de son style Louisiane contriburont à rendre votre séjour particulièrement agréable. ... more less
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