Engaging in the eleventh
The Hôtel Marais Bastille is an affordable
and charming family-owned establishment in the 11th arrondissement
in Paris. Stanley Moss samples it
PHOTOGRAPHED BY THE AUTHOR
ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO FIND an engaging little three-star property
in Paris, one which is affordable, comfortable and convenient. Hôtel
Marais Bastille is just such a place, located on the boulevard Richard
Lenoir, in the Haut Marais, in the mostly residential 11th. I visited
in the aftermath of February 2011 Fashion Week. The newly-renovated
37-room lodging, walking close to Métro Bastille, proved
to be a great value at around €130 per night.
Hôtel Marais Bastille earns lot of repeat business,
welcoming guests of all ages who stay an average of two nights.
Visitors are split evenly between business travellers and tourists,
though tourists tend to stay longer. Its quite a convenience
to find yourself only a 10-minute walk from the Gare de Lyon, with
the Métro Breguet-Sabin station literally on the doorstep. The outdoor
market across the street on Wednesdays and Thursdays offers up enough
goodies to keep you picnicking for days; you get quite distracted
sampling delicacies only the French can produce: cheeses, charcuterie,
baked goods, regional specialties. This large market has everything
else in the world you might need, including clothing, flowers, antiques,
jewellery or treats to carry along.
Architect Michel Jouannet has created spare and modern
interior spaces, including artisan furniture designed specifically
for the Marais Bastille. This adds a distinctly French touch to
the décor. I appreciate the new marble baths, with smart
fittings that work well. Rooms ending in the numeral 4 have
daylight in the bath area, double sinks and a fold-out bed. Theres
even a handicap-compliant room off the main lobby.
Remember that three-star means the amenities are going
to be limited. You dont get a huge amount of space, but you
do get plenty of nice towels. A good-quality shampoo and soap are
provided, but not the full armada of grooming items that four-stars
need to lay out.
This doesnt mean a reduction in comfort or cleanliness.
This hotel has people constantly at work keeping the place neat,
and they seem like a happy crew. That general contentment must be
attributable to the hands-on management style that only a hotel
de proprietaire can build: you will see the amiable owners M. et
Mme. Dolbeau on-site most days. Details like this make the family-run
hotel one-of-a-kind, a personalized style of management passed along
by the cheerful English-speaking staff.
While you will enjoy the benefit of free wi-fi throughout,
theres no business centre for those last-minute printouts,
and no ethernet port in the roomsnot a huge sacrifice for
the price paid. The typical breakfast is available for an additional
charge. You wont be able to stow your notebook computer in
the small room safe, but your passport and valuables will fit.
Finally, youll certainly observe Best Western
branding on the hotels façade, website and graphics.
Never fear, its the final year of a contract with the bland
international chain, and by 2012 Hotel Marais Bastille will live
under its own charming boutique flag.
Budget travellers, the light-hearted and intrepid will be happy
with what they receive here. As far as properties on the rive
droite go, its easy, chic and authentic, and that says
Stanley Moss is travel editor of Lucire.
Hôtel Marais Bastille
36, boulevard Richard Lenoir
Telephone 33 1 48-05-75-00