The Mandarin Oriental Paris is the latest additional to the expanding portfolio of hotels by the Mandarin Oriental Group, a luxury chain that originates in Asia and now finding a strong footing in Europe. I have debated myself if I should book the more renowned Four Seasons George V with classical luxury or the brand new and way more contemporary Mandarin Oriental. In the end, the newness and more modern rooms of the Mandarin Oriental Paris swayed my decision. I also booked this hotel under the Virtuoso program. Even under this program, the rates are phenomenally expensive, but then this is Paris where everything under the Sun is expensive in this city.
I arrived after checking out from the Renaissance. The hotel is located at the Rue St Horne, a supposedly upscale parisan location. The entrance to the hotel is surprising small, and it is easy to miss. Again this has to do with the fact that real estate prices in Paris are very expensive so most hotels will be of the small size variety, especially newer ones.
I arrived early but my room was ready for me. Among the benefits of the Virtuoso program are free breakfast, a welcome amenity ( usually just simple fruit plate or tidbits ), a spa voucher and an upgrade to the next room category. The hotel wasn’t able to upgrade me because they claim they are having full occupancy but I managed to exchange the Spa voucher with free internet which is much more useful.
My check-in was handled by a very nice and friendly lady by the name of Pauline and she was gracious enough to show me the hotel restaurants and facilities before escorting me to the room. Upon entering the room, she also took the time to introduce me to the room facilities and explain how to get things to work. I requested a Blu-Ray player and she arranged a PS3 instead which is just as good since I wanted to watch some movies I bought in London. All in all, a great check-in experience. I speculated that Ms Pauline isn't French since she smiles a lot and was very friendly, something most Parisans aren’t. :)
I booked a Mandarin Room, the largest room type in the Mandarin Oriental Paris. The room measures 50sqm and will easily qualify as a junior suite in other hotels. Most hotel rooms in Paris are small so the space is a real luxury. Glancing around the room, the décor is of the Art-Deco contemporary style with top notch furnishing. There is a very cool 40” Bang & Olufsen TV, which rotates out from the cabinet when you switch it on and rotates back when it is switched off. The in-house entertainment system from the hotel provides TV channels, high definition programs and even games and other services. Unfortunately, the TV software failed to work many times, apparently due to “system error”. There are abundant A/V connections and plugs on the work desk. There’s no walk in closet but the wardrobe have amble spaces.
The spacious bathroom is decorated in subdue white, very soothing and relaxing. It’s a full ensuite with dual sinks, rainforest shower and a deep sinking tub with Ad Nortam TV built into the wall mirror. The water pressure is adequate and the bathroom fittings I think are the high end Axor Hansgrohe. The bathrobes are very large and fluffy. One thing I think one has to be careful about this bathroom is that the bathtub is very slippery. Also, as the designer is going for style over practicality, there are many sharp edges in the bathroom from accessories protruding out from the wall. This might pose a hazard to some.
The bed is really the best part of the room, with soft silky linens and a very comfortable mattress with just the right amount of firmness, not too hard and not too soft. There are several settings for mood lighting but I thought the switches were kind of difficult to use. Wireless internet is provided which is very fast. Finally, there’s also free mineral water ( Viola! ) and Nepresso coffee machine.
One last thing, the room is truly whisper quiet, evident of first class sound proofing. Mine was a corner room and it is so quiet that I can even hear a pin drop literally. The downside for asking a quiet corner room is that there are no views at all. Rooms that feature terrace might be noisier since the terrace gardens are very popular with outside guests.
Location and Common Areas
The hotel is located in the upscale Rue St Honore with designer shops and boutiques just next door to the hotel. The famous Lourve museum is also a short walking distance from the hotel. The hotel is small so there isn’t much places to explore. The hotel has a Bar and a Café restaurant and both share the terrace garden. There is also a fine dining restaurant by the famed Chef Thiery Marx but it was closed during my stay so I couldn’t try out. I end up dining at the excellent Le Cinq at the Four Seasons instead. The common areas are nicely decorated but doesn’t really wow me like when I enter the Four Seasons. The Spa and fitness centre were located at the basement. The gym is well equipped but very small.
Services at the Mandarin Oriental Paris are on an overall basis inconsistent, more of a hit and miss senario. Some are very good and unfortunately, some are rather bad. Overall, it’s still rather rough around the edges, which is quite normal for a newly opened hotel. I will just list them down so you have a better idea.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first shall we? Here’s the long list :
1) Breakfast at the Camelia is really poor. The food served to me was bland and the pasteries and bread tasteless. I was expecting better food quality. The service was also very slow. It took them 15mins before my bread basket even arrived, and that is after I have alerted the Manager on duty. The Manager seems to be doing most of the serving while the staff just go slow and seems can’t be bothered. It’s a good thing that breakfast is included because no way I will pay 50 euros for this kind of food.
2) Most of the staff don’t really follow up. For example, I asked housekeeping for some stickers for my luggage box, she said will check but didn’t get back to me. I asked reception to put a dental kit in my room. That was forgotten as well. Also, I complained to Front Desk that the English Tv channels such as BBC were not working, she suggested that I can watch the French channels instead.
3) There’s some re-curing software problem with the TV and a lot of programs are not able to be screened. The hotel attempt at service recovery by giving me a complimentary bottle of wine and some fruits but this problem repeat again the second night.
4) I asked the concierge to wrap a bottle of wine I purchased for check-in. Due to a change of shift, it was forgotten until I call to chase.
5) A Housekeeping staff entered my room when I have the Do Not Disturb sign on. He claims dubiously that he thought I have forgotten to turn it off. Well, in that case, what’s the point of having a DND function in the room?
6) I asked for additional bath towels and the service attendant that brought it to me was rather unhappy because he bought the wrong ones and was asked to come again. I don’t particularly enjoy looking a sour faces when I am staying in a luxury hotel.
7) The gym equipment was not regularly clean. All of them feel kind of “sticky”. I didn’t see any staff in the gym. It was empty.
8) The room service menu selection is mundane and boring, featuring such “imaginative” selections as hamburger and Indonesia fried rice. Ordered In-room dinning for breakfast as I am departing airport early.The food quality is just passable.
Certainly not all is bad. There are some aspect of the hotel service that deserved praises too.
1) Competent Concierge staff, including arranging my transport needs and get a staff to escort me on an errant. One of the concierge staff in particular, Mr Jonathan stands out as being the most friendly and helpful of the lot. Every thing I asked to him were answered by "not a problem at all!" , "Absolutely we can help!", and "My pleasure!" . It's so refreshing to find a hotel staff that actually loves his job and show such enthusiasm.
2) Good check-in and welcome experience from Ms Pauline as described above.
3) The hotel staff learned that I was pick pocketed and lost my wallet along with cash and credit cards, much to my aggravation. The Manager on duty actually called and volunteer to help. Well, there’s nothing much useful he can really do to be honest but I do appreciate the show of concern.
4) Attempt at service recovery after the TV didn’t work with a free bottle of wine and fruits ( well, the TV still didn’t work but at least they try… )
5) I was on my way to a lunch appointment and found out that the pockets of my newly purchased jacket was still sealed. I called the in-house tailor and she was nice ( and competent ) enough to get it done in under 5 mins and rush it back to me on time. Now that’s service!
6) Book a hotel limo car and the driver was kind enough not only to escort me into the airport but also going out of the way to help with luggage and tax refund. Now that’s service!
It’s quite clear judging from the room rates it charges that the Mandarin Oriental Paris attempt to position itself as a top-end luxury hotel in Paris. In the end, the results are decidedly mixed. The room is definitely gorgeous and well equipped and I love the bed. However, the service is not measuring up overall. While there are some outstanding individuals, there are too many cases whereby I need to call to chase. Some of the junior staff especially from housekeeping is not well trained and one can tell they are very uncomfortable when interacting with guests.
Perhaps after a year or so, this hotel will measure up but as at now, I will only rate it a 4/5. It’s a very expensive hotel and it needs to deliver to ensure guests feels they are getting value for money. Just having a nice room is insufficient. Areas that the hotel need to improve especially are the services and the F&B quality. The hotel needs to improve the training of the staff to be more service conscious and prepare to go the extra mile when called for. They should remember that they work for one of the finest luxury hotel chains in the world.
So will I come back? Hard to say but if I ever will to come back to Paris, which is not a certain considering the crime rate and what I have gone through, I am likely to try the Four Seasons George V instead.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mandarin Oriental, Paris has a premier location on Rue Saint-Honore, surrounded by history and fashionable shopping. The hotel's 99 luxurious rooms and 40 suites offer guests an eminently stylish Parisian experience, and are among the most spacious in Paris. An inner courtyard camellia garden provides outdoor dining and is a peaceful oasis in the city. Other dining choices, include the two-Michelin star signature restaurant, Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, Camelia, The Cake Shop and Bar 8, all under Executive Chef and Culinary Director Thierry Marx. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Paris brings relaxation in a peaceful, modern setting, and an indoor pool and a fully-equipped fitness centre complete the hotel's leisure facilities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mandarin Oriental, Paris Hotel Paris