What does 1400 euros/night get you?

February 2, 2015

As many of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter know, I used this Paris trip to cash in my Hyatt free nights’ awards at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. I was going back and forth as to whether I wanted to use them both in one location; there are plenty of Couchsurfers in France, but I had heard this particular Hyatt offered one of the best values for the free nights (queen room topping 600 Euros/night). Even with a trip to the Philippines in my future, where a comparable room would be a tenth of the cost of that in Paris, I thought it would be best to cash in.

Park Hyatt Vendome Paris 1

Pampering is the one word I would take away from that experience. I was still sweaty and dressed like a backpacker as I walked in the lobby with my luggage and a tote bag full of clothes I had just cleaned at a French coin laundry. While I’m sure this did not go unnoticed by the hotel staff, they seemed to take my appearance in stride and greeted me with smiles all around. Much to my complete surprise, they offered me a complimentary upgrade to a junior suite. As much as I espouse minimalism and felt even in the moment that this would be ostentatious, I couldn’t resist seeing how the 1% lived when they traveled.

As for the room itself, imagine this: your standard room in an above average hotel, but with minor differences: a better quality tea and coffee set, with bottled Evian water and a complete set of dishes; a button to indicate when privacy is desired; a button to raise and lower the shutters, which do a good job of blocking out the sunlight and unwanted eyes; sheets and pillows with a much higher thread count.

Park Hyatt Vendome Paris 5

And that’s just the bedroom. As a guest in a junior suite, I had two bathrooms to myself and a study area with a couch and easy chair. The bath and toilet were probably the highlights – heated seat, Japanese style. A full set of toiletries, from a cuticle cleaner to a loofah.

Park Hyatt Vendome Paris 4

The perks were nice, but one aspect of my stay I noticed the most (and was probably the most uncomfortable with) was how attentive the staff were. Granted, I know this is probably a necessity for people in their positions, but every time I stepped off that elevator into the lobby, I felt eyes on me. Everyone knew my name, and made a point to remember my preferences; when I ordered my eggs a certain way one morning, they made sure to ask if I wanted them the same way again the next. My water glass was never allowed to be empty for more than a minute (seriously; I timed it).

I wasn’t sure how I should tip, either. In France, tipping a Euro or two at restaurants is a courtesy, but I’m fairly certain the world of the elite is a culture unto itself; even at the Park Hyatt Tokyo in Japan, where tipping is a curiosity and definitely not expected, I have a feeling a note or two would be accepted from millionaires.

For two days, that’s what I was: a millionaire on vacation. I may not have been able to afford a villa in the French countryside as a vacation home, but at the Park Hyatt, I was privy to the benefits of a life of luxury. My conclusions are as follows:

– At face value, the rich are clean, well groomed, moisturized, and dressed immaculately.
– When staying at a 4.5-star resort in the posh area of Paris, one doesn’t think about throwing away 40 Euros on a smoothie.
– Being the center of attention makes you feel important. In a different way than being recognized as a white face in Asia. At that hotel, I probably could have been frowning and disrespectful to the staff and still received a smile and nod in return. Though what would they say about me when I left…?
– It’s easy to become disconnected from the struggles most of us go through when all one’s necessities are met in spades. Having such a clean, quiet room almost made me forget about Couchsurfing or staying in hostels, though I ended up spending less in taxes and food than I do for one night in a dorm bed in any country.

Park Hyatt Vendome Paris 2

So would I do it again?

Absolutely. For the sole reason that it’s nice to have nice things from time to time. As long as you keep it in perspective.

One Response to What does 1400 euros/night get you?

  1. Review: Park Hyatt Siem Reap | Once A Traveler on November 15, 2016 at 10:16 am

    […] last time in such luxurious accommodations was over a weekend in Paris, which taught me that I’m not exactly partial to five-star hotels; the staff are extra attentive […]

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