Accommodation in Paris: Hotel or Apartment?
January 9, 2014
Planning a trip to Paris is so exciting! You probably know already what sightseeing you want to do: the Eiffel Tower, the Orsay Museum, a day trip to Versailles, or perhaps a guided tour around the city…
But one of the tricky, and often stressful, decisions comes when choosing your accommodation. You’ll hear horror hotel stories, and nightmare tales of rented apartments. But you’ll also be inundated with advice about the “best hotel ever” and the “apartment that made our stay perfect”. So how do you choose which is right for you? We’ve put together our pros and cons of staying in a hotel vs. an apartment.
Why stay in a hotel?
Staying in a hotel when visiting a foreign country is the immediate choice for many tourists. It’s hassle-free: you simply arrive, check in, drop your bags and go off to explore the city. Should you have any questions about the area, or about the nearest bus stop/metro station, the concierge is there to help you. The same goes for booking taxis, although you should be aware that it is much less expensive if you hail one down yourself.
In the morning, you don’t have to worry about getting up to buy/prepare breakfast: hotels usually provide breakfast for their guests, although you will have to check if this is included in the price (in Paris, it usually isn’t.)
One of the special things about staying in a hotel is the luxury aspect of not having to tidy up after yourself. After a long day of exploring the city, it’s lovely to open your door to find that everything has been perfectly folded and tidied for you, and toiletries have been restocked. Hotels offer the little luxuries that normal life doesn’t!
Many people who choose to stay in hotels say that one of the biggest appeals is the feeling of security. In a strange city, it is reassuring to know that someone is downstairs at all hours, especially if you’ve planned a solo visit.
Why stay in an apartment?
Those who choose to stay in an apartment know that, in Paris, hotel rooms are nearly always small. So if you want more meters for your money, renting an apartment is the way to go. It’s a great idea if you’re traveling with children, not just because you can let them roam around freely (which you can’t in a hotel!) but also because of the n°1 advantage of an apartment in my opinion…
Food! Unlike in a hotel, you can go to the market, bring your fresh groceries ‘home’ and cook yourself. Eating out all the time can really inflate your holiday costs, so being able to have dinner in your own little ‘home away from home’ really helps with keeping the budget down (and can also be nicer and more fun than going out every night!) Just imagine yourself tucking in to a cheese plate on your very own balcony with a glass of wine…
I’ve found that, as a general rule, the people who prefer to stay in apartments are of a certain kind: they value space and independence, and want to experience the city in a way that gets them as close to being a ‘local’ as possible. What better way to understand how Parisians live than to rent an apartment and live in it for a few days? You’ll get to know where the nearest bakery is, learn what days the local market is on, and practice your French while chatting to a neighbor in the elevator (watch out, they’re normally a bit of a squeeze – the elevators not the neighbors!)
What do you think? Are you more of a hotel traveler, or do you prefer staying in rented apartments?