Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Hotel in Paris: Hotel de Sers

 This trip to Paris, we stayed at the Hotel de Sers at 41, av pierre 1er de serbie. We really enjoyed this hotel and highly recommend it to anyone traveling to Paris. The door to the right in this photo is the lobby entrance - the door to the left is for the bellhop. Let's explore the hotel with some photos from their website.
 The lobby was very inviting and we sat there several times just enjoying a little free time between trips. The door to the street is at the far right in this photo.
 The hotel was spotless and very nicely decorated. The staff spoke excellent English. The guests were from around the world.
 This is a seating area just outside of the two elevators.

We spent a couple of hours at the bar one evening - it was pleasant enough if rather quiet.
 Another view of that same bar area. If you turned your head 90 degrees to the left, you would see....
 ...this. The restaurant of about 10 tables. We ate dinner there one night - very good food but very expensive also.
 This is an outdoor patio near the restaurant and bar.
 And finally, a few photos of the rooms themselves. This is a rather beautiful room, but not the one we stayed in.
 A rather nice bathroom, but not the like the one we had.
 An even nicer room, but apparently on the top floor and way nicer than the room we had.
And finally, a photo of a room fairly similar to ours. Now for something I've always wanted to do: compare the website photos to the actual room. Ready? Let's see if it was fairly represented on the website...
 Here is the actual room we found when we opened the door. Bed looks reasonably similar: check. No painting above the bed.
 Lamp looks identical: check. Desk chair is not the same, but not bad: eh. The room was pretty small by American standards, but that is pretty much what you find in Europe, as far as we've seen anyway. The room was extremely clean and VERY quiet at night. It is hard to believe it could be that quiet in the heart of Paris.
 The TV was pretty nice, but the remote felt like it weighed 5 pounds. Laura didn't like that, but for some reason it projected quality to me. There were three or four American stations including CNN. There were actually stations from quite a few countries, including one from Saudi Arabia.
 Here is the bathroom sink. The cold water was frustratingly hard to shut off, but if that's my worst complaint, I'm doing good.

 A shot of the tub/shower. The shower head was located on the center of the ceiling, pointing straight down. It was a little awkward stepping over the tall tub edge to get into the shower, and there was no shower curtain at all! We really didn't know what we were supposed to do, but there were two hooks high on the walls to either side of this photo. We learned to drape a large towel over the hooks and hoped for the best. I'm very curious to hear what Europeans think is strange when they stay in an American hotel...
Obviously the telephone booth area, what with the phone directly above the toilet paper. Now that we have stayed at a few hotels in Europe, here is some advice: buy a travel iron that works on both US and European current since NONE of the hotels in Europe come with irons or ironing boards. Second, if your female half uses a blow drier, buy a European blow drier before you travel (prices in Paris are outrageous) since the only hotel that had a good blow drier was this one, the de Sers. And third, go ahead and get a European curling iron while you're at it. We thought we could do without one, but boy were we wrong. Humidity can wreak havoc on long hair.
 And finally, the light switches in the bathroom. Very high quality when compared to the American el cheapo plastic contraptions.
 As opposed to the Warwick hotel that we stayed in during our last Paris trip, the Hotel de Sers thermostat actually worked! We could set the temperature as we darn well pleased and the room would stay at that temperature! I am fairly well convinced we could have created icicles in the room had we been so inclined. I was impressed. Bravo, de Sers.
 The first morning in the room, Laura showered first and, from my cozy position in the bed, I could hear the tub filling up with water, meaning it was failing to drain. By the time she shut it off, she was standing way past ankle, but not quite knee, deep in water. We searched and searched but could not find a knob to change the drain setting. It was nowhere to be found. Finally, after my shower I believe, we saw this switch on the OPPOSITE side of the bathroom from the tub. Changing this switch position started an electric motor (we could hear it) which ran for about 10 seconds. Then voila! The tub began to drain. Wow. Note the French electrical outlet below the switch.
 The door to the hotel was all frosted glass and slid to the side when you approached it. Late one afternoon, we approached the door to exit as we always did. Just another day in Paris. As the door slid open, somewhere between 5 to 10 cameras were shoved in our face. I instinctively ducked then quickly stepped outside and to the left. It quickly became apparent that they were not after us (duh) but the group that had been exiting no more than 5 feet behind us. Flashes went off in quick succession and I heard the camera holders ask if they had time for a few pictures. A large black bodyguard in a black leather jacket with the words Muhammad Ali stamped across the back said "All right, just one, then we have to leave". I placed myself so I could see through the entourage and there stood a tall black woman who looked like she could have been on her way to the Emmys, posing, smiling, and really knowing how to work a crowd. SNAP! a dozen cameras when off in under a second.
We had no idea who she was until we got home and I did some research. I am 90% sure she must have been one of Muhammad Ali's daughters, and judging from the photos I have found on the internet, I am relatively sure it was Laila Ali, the boxer. She was very beautiful. And, apparently, staying at the same small boutique hotel as the two of us.

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