October 30, 2022
The Hyatt Place hotel at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris is marketed as a first-class property. Their website pictures do not mislead, and they have an amazing breakfast. That being said, as a seasoned traveler who frequently stays at Hyatt Place properties, I cannot recommend the Hyatt Place Paris.
One reason I often choose Hyatt Place properties is I know what to expect, and as a traveler often in new and unfamiliar places, that provides a certain level of comfort. One can count on Hyatt Place properties to be managed with the same consistent amenities, like a high-end complimentary breakfast and free airport shuttle. However, if that’s your expectation when choosing the Hyatt Place Paris, you will be disappointed.
Hyatt Place hotels have built a solid reputation by offering one of the best complementary breakfasts in the business and the Hyatt Place Paris has, par none, the best breakfast offering of any Hyatt Place hotel I have ever visited. What they don’t tell you, however, until you’re checking out, is that the breakfast cost $25 per person, which for my two-night stay added $100 to the cost for me and my companion. In addition, the free airport shuttle available at every other Hyatt Place property cost $3 per person per trip, and they only run their shuttle when the mood strikes them, which isn’t very often. I ended up having to Uber to the airport for my 9:00 am flight because their shuttle wasn’t up that early in the morning, which added another $20 to the cost of my stay.
My biggest disappointment with Hyatt Place Paris, however, came from an interaction with the hotel manager. On the morning after our first night’s stay, we decided to ride the Metro into town to explore Paris, take in some French wine, and perhaps have a nice dinner. The hotel shuttle though, would only take us to the airport to pick up the train, which cost $6. When we got to the airport, however, that Metro line was down for the day, which means we needed to shuttle back to the hotel, which cost another $6. But at least from the hotel we could take the bus into Paris as there was a bus stop half a mile from the hotel, we could walk to; because the shuttle only goes to the airport.
I knew from previous stays in Paris that you need a two-euro coin to ride the bus, so I went to the front desk to get change for a five-euro bill. Here’s where things get bizarre, so bizarre in fact that most travelers I relate this story to accuse me of fabrication. I assure you though, it really happened. I approach the front desk where two nice ladies are helping guests and ask one lady for change, explaining that I need the coins for the bus ride into Paris. She smiles warmly while opening her cash drawer and proceeds to run her fingers through the large cache of coins at her disposal creating a loud rattling sound that reverberates around the quiet, mostly empty, hotel lobby like coins dropping from a casino slot machine. She then proceeds to close the drawer while informing me she cannot make change. Unsure what my take-away is supposed to be, I step over to the other lady to ask for change and she does the same thing; she opens her cash drawer, rattles her treasure trove of freshly minted European currency, and then promptly shuts the drawer while telling me she cannot make change.
As an engineer I’m naturally curious and inherently logical, so, like any bewildered traveler, I inquire why, and here’s where things get both comical and at the same time disturbing….
"I'm sorry Monsieur, I cannot make change.” "It's just three coins. I need them for the bus to Paris. You have plenty in your drawer.” "Oui, but I may need them for future guests.” "Let me see if I got this right, you won’t release three stinky coins from your large reserve for the guest standing in front of you because you might need them later for some yet to be realized guest?” "Oui" "Okay, as bizarre as that is, let's extend your logic to its absurd conclusion; when your mythical guest from the future arrives and asks for change, based on your logic, you won't give it to him either, because there will certainly be another mythical guest farther out in the future who might possibly need change. In fact, you'll never release the hold you have on your precious coins." "I have other guests I must help, Monsieur." "Well what if one of them has the audacity to ask for change?" "Monsieur, I cannot help you, so you must leave." “I’d like to speak to the manager.” “I am the manager, Monsieur.” "Well then riddle me this, how the hell did you ever graduate business school and get a job managing a Hyatt property because your customer service skills are sorely lacking”
Bottom line, we didn’t get change for the bus, so had no choice but to walk the half-mile to the bus stop and hope the bus driver would show us more mercy than the Hyatt Place manager. Fortunately, the bus driver took pity and let us ride to the end of his line for free, which as luck would have it, was a short walk from the Eiffel Tower.
My interaction with the Hyatt Place manger pretty much sums up why I cannot recommend this property. In fact, it calls into question whether I can recommend staying at any Hyatt Place property. What if this is how current Hyatt Place executives have decided to rebrand their corporate image? The hidden charges for my two-night stay totaled $132, and their lack of basic customer service skills added unnecessary stress.
Like most travelers, I have options when traveling for business and leisure, which I do frequently, and will now think twice before making Hyatt Place my preferred hotel chain. But if nothing else, I should probably thank the manager of the Hyatt Place Paris for providing me with such a rich story that I enjoy retelling as often as possible……as I do documenting this misadventure on my blog for a wider audience.