Hôtel Bristol is situated in an old building right across the train station (Gare de Carcassonne), and at the heart of the lower city. It's very easy to reach, not only because the train station is less than a minute's walk away, but also because the bus from the airport stops right in front of the station. All you have to do to reach the hotel is cross the Pont Marengo (bridge) and you're there. From Hôtel Bristol it's (at leisurely pace) a 30 minute walk to the medieval city, or in French: 'La Cité Médiévale'. And it's not a boring walk as you'll pass plenty of shops, bistros, restaurants, French architecture, and modern and traditional street art.
That being said, the website of the hotel itself boasts 'breathtaking views' on Canal du Midi, a restaurant, and more. I went in late March so I can't say if this counts for high season as well, but the restaurant was decidedly closed while I was there. Also, the views are nice, interesting, but you won't be overwhelmed by visual beauty. Canal du Midi must be appreciated for its design,length, and functionality (you can read about that on the UNESCO World Heritage website), but the sights on it are far from dazzling, at least when looking at it from the hotel windows.
The personnel was friendly enough, but as a visitor who spoke little to no French I noticed them get crankier as my stay continued. They don't speak English, or little to none. Additionally, the rooms don't include tea or coffee making facilities, but they will bring you coffee in your room. At 4 PM they may look surprised at your request, but they'll make it for you. If they're busy they'll tell you to come and pick it up yourself. If they bring it they make take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how busy they are, and then they may charge you for a full breakfast instead of the coffee you had. When you ring to the reception to order a coffee, a not-at-all-English speaking staff member may answer the phone and mistake your coffee order for a breakfast order. All of this happened to me, the mistake with the coffee/breakfast happened to me twice (even when I made clear in French that I didn't want 'le petit dejeuner' the second time - I have no idea where that went wrong),and I didn't find out about the bill until I was at the airport.
As for breakfast, they'll bring it to your room on your request, but expect it to be a little meager, and perhaps not actually fresh. If you really want to have your breakfast there, I'd recommend eating in the restaurant so you'll have the possibility to choose.
So if the service was that bad, then why am I giving it 3 out of 5. Well, despite of what I read here on TripAdvisor, my room was very clean. I won't deny the mould on the bathroom ceiling, or the cracks in the plinths, but it's an old building (and I think the cracks add to its charm). Additionally, my room was spacious, with two large windows from floor to ceiling, and I had a little balcony. The mattrass was old but it was deliciously soft and I slept like a baby each night. I should probably mention that there's a club right next to the hotel, so in the weekends it can get noisy. It didn't bother me as I like the bustle, but I can imagine it's bothersome if you really want to catch your sleep.
Also there was free, fast Wi-Fi. The staff member couldn't explain this to me as she didn't speak a lot of English, but you get Wi-Fi for 24 hours (code on a receipt). At first I thought I had to ask for a new code the next day, but it only runs out when you actually use it, so not until you've effectively used up 24 hours of online access. The reception also has loads of leaflets, flyers, and free maps of Carcassonne and the surrounding area, which can be convenient for those who come without a plan.
Since I travel as much as I can, I'm mostly a budget traveler. This hotel, despite the staff, was perfect. Seeing as I don't travel for luxury, I had a comfortable, decent place to sleep, and surrounded by lots of places to eat. Just walk out of the hotel, go left, then go left again, and there are two bistros on the same block. Also nearby are pizzerias, a FANTASTIC (note capital letters) little restaurant called Le Massilia (looks worn on the outside, but crazy cheap and super delicious good food, I'm not even kidding - go right from the hotel and it's on the other side of the road, slightly to your right), and there's a supermarket opposite of the square.
Just one thing: if you're a coffee addict like me, bring your own coffee making facilities, or maybe ask the staff if they can provide it (and then hope they won't misunderstand). All together a reasonable place for a reasonable price for those who don't need much.
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- Also Known As:
- Carcassonne Bristol Hotel