My husband and I stayed at the Hotel Helvetia for 3 nights in April 2013. Our room was one of the biggest doubles available and was about £80 a night, not including breakfast. Book online in advance for this rate as its £120 a night if you just turn up.
The room was very basic, fairly small, clean and warm. A double bed, 2 night stands, a small table/dresser, a tiny wardrobe and a suitcase stand in the room and a shower, basin and toilet in the en suite. Everything you need - just very basic. The bed was very comfortable with a nice firm mattress, plenty of pillows and blankets, lovely fresh crisp cotton sheets. There was central heating in the room but we got a bit chilly so put on the electric radiator that was there too and soon were toasty warm. The shower was excellent, controllable heat (I like it hot hot hot!) and good pressure. The large window in the bathroom was brill, you could sit and admire the view while on the loo, lol ... amused me anyway :)
Breakfast was ok, nothing fancy but decent enough. £8 each got you tea, coffee or hot chocolate, 2 hunks of french stick, 1 pain au chocolate and 1 croissant, a little bit of cheese, butter, jam and a pot of fruit puree stuff. We asked for coffee 'au lait' and got a jut of hot coffee and a jug of hot milk which mixed together made delicious milky coffee. The breakfast staff varied, one spoke quite a bit of english, 1 didnt, but we managed perfectly well and got what we needed each day.
Reception staff all spoke English pretty well and were all friendly enough and happy to help us useless Brits with very little French knowledge.
Located right next to Gare de Lyon, this hotel is very easy to find and travel to/from. My experience in Paris was that it doesnt matter where you stay really as long as you can use the Metro, you can literally get anywhere in Paris in a few minutes for about £1.30. The Metro was very easy to understand - even a country girl like me with no london Underground experience found it simple and very efficient. The one time I did get a bit confused a French Man came to my rescue and pointed out where I needed to be without me even asking for help! It really is a Myth that the French are grumpy and arrogant- we found them kind and helpful at all times. A smile, A 'Bonjour' and they will do anything they can to help you :)
Downsides to this hotel - well, its certainly not posh/luxurious but you get what you pay for dont you? A few comments have said the corridoors were narrow etc, I guess they might be a problem for anyone with severe mobility problems but there is a lift to all floors and the corridoors were no problem for me and I'm a big girl! I think some people just like to find something to moan about.
We noted that there were no smoke detectors in our room - I dont know what the regulations are in France but it certainly could be a problem. Our particular room had 3 windows which all had opening door sized windows and could easily have been used to escape but we were only on the first floor .. any higher and you might well be toast!
So, all in all, a good if somewhat basic reasonably priced hotel that I wouldn't hesitate to use again.
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- Also Known As:
- Helvetia Hotel Paris