Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hotel Review: Victory Galou, Paris, France

I think this review really should be called: Why It's Important to Either Book Ahead or to Spend More Time Looking for a Hotel Instead of Taking the First Available.

In February (! ha, it feels weird writing about a trip where we were so cold when it's hot now), friends and I took a trip to Paris. It was somewhat of a last-minute thing. The problem with last-minute trips is that they can be quite expensive and even difficult to book.

I was charged with finding us accommodations. I tried various hotel bookings sites and even tried Airbnb. I had about 3 days to find a place. Airbnb didn't work; all three people I tried said their places were not available, even though on their calendars noted that their places were available. I'm wondering if it was an issue that I was a new user on Airbnb and didn't have any references yet.

I then ended up booking a hotel. We wanted something close to the train station, where we'd be arriving via high speed train. I ended up booking at the Victory Galou.

Saggy bed, blankets of a questionable clealinesss.

Bathroom: complete with sewer smells and visible mold.

Hotel Reviewed: Victory Galou
15 Passage Industrie, Paris

The Victory Galou is indeed near gare l'Est, where our ICE high speed train from Germany arrived. It took about 10 minutes to walk to the hotel from the train station. Some other reviewers had commented that they felt uneasy about the route between the hotel and the train station. I didn't feel uneasy at all, but did find it to be hopping at 9 pm on a Friday. As in any place, I kept my head up and paid attention to the surroundings and I felt fine. It was kind of cool, in a way; there were a ton of hair and barber shops along the way and people were getting their hair done at 9 pm. Having lived in Germany for more than a month, I felt quite shocked to see people actually able to get stuff done after 8 pm (when most things usually close up in Germany).

I arrived at the hotel and found the staff to be very pleasant. I had called ahead of time to let them know that I would be coming in later; they have reception until 6 pm and if one will arrive after that time, one must call ahead to make arrangements. The lobby was cramped and the "front reception desk" was literally just a desk shoved into the lobby, with papers strewn all over it. The reservation was written in a book.

The room was, to be blunt, awful. It was very smoky and beneath that smell lingered the smell of mold. My eyes instantly started watering and the sneezing followed it. I aired out the room to no avail. The faux wood baseboards around the floor were made of some sort of cardboard material and at some points it looked spongy from moisture. The comforters on the beds didn't look particularly clean, either. I crossed my fingers and hoped there weren't any critters in the room.

As if the smell of cigarette smoke and mold wasn't bad enough, to add to the fun was the smell of sewer AND mold in the bathroom. The mold was actually visible in the shower. We kept the window cracked the whole time we were there.

The walls are also paper thin. We were treated to the sound of a couple arguing in the adjacent bedroom. In addition, the hotel lacks an elevator and has very narrow, winding stairs in which some of the treads seem spongy.

I would not recommend the hotel. I was dumb enough to book it and pay 100 euros a night (well, the three of us split the amount). This experience just goes to prove that it is better to book ahead for trips...or to be really good at finding a last minute deal, which I'm not. Thankfully, we didn't find any bedbugs, but my allergies were thrown into a tizzy with the mold and cigarette smoke. I'm just glad that we were out and about most of the time and spent very little time at the hotel.

 Talk about creeeeepy! This guy was staring out at us from the wardrobe.

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