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My most recent visit to Paris was for the city’s busy Fashion Week, which filled up points-friendly hotel options like the Westin Paris – Vendôme, the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme and the Prince de Galles. So I took the opportunity to try out a property that’s famous for not being a points hotel — the Mandarin Oriental Paris.

Starting on my non-points adventure.
Starting on my non-points adventure.

There’s no way to use points at the Mandarin Oriental Paris at a really good value. At the most, you can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred to book it at 1.25 cents a piece, or by using points from the Barclaycard Arrival Plus or Capital One Venture Rewards cards.

However, as a cardholder of the The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN, I was able to book my two-night stay in a Deluxe Room for €2,550 ($2,781) via the Amex FHR portal and receive a variety of perks, including free breakfast for two people, which is easily a 120 ($132) per-day benefit; an €85 ($92) spa credit; complimentary in-room Wi-Fi; 12pm check-in; and guaranteed 4pm check-out. A room upgrade upon arrival would have been provided to me if it was available, but the rest of the hotel was fully booked for Paris Fashion Week. (Note that cardholders of the The Platinum Card from American Express and Centurion also have access to Amex FHR.)

I mean, it's Paris, but I do love me some Tuileries.
I mean, it’s Paris, but I do love me some Tuileries.

The Mandarin Oriental is on rue Saint-Honoré in the 1st arrondissement, just behind the tourist track in a chic shopping district, which is the same area as the Westin and the Park Hyatt. The view from my room was of a normal Parisian street, which made me long for the gorgeous Tuileries/Eiffel Tower view I had at the Westin.

The Mandarin Oriental makes an impact upon entering.
The Mandarin Oriental makes an impact upon entering.

The lobby is open and airy, with stunning art in the entryway. My check-in here went smoothly, and then a staff member escorted me to my room to explain how everything worked, which is such a time-saver.

Deluxe Room

I really love the look of the Mandarin Oriental rooms.
I really love the look of the Mandarin Oriental rooms.

My Deluxe Room was nice and comfortable, with a small sofa. You can control everything with a series of buttons and tech gadgets next to the bed, which I love.

Even though the hotel is on a side street, the light coming into the room was nice.
Even though the hotel is on a side street, the light coming into the room was nice.
A compact but comfortable sitting area gave the room a bit more space.
A compact but comfortable sitting area gave the room a bit more space.
A unique bathroom setup.
A unique bathroom setup.

The bathroom has an interesting setup. The toilet is on one side, the bath in the middle, and the shower on the other side.

Nothing like some detailed tilework to remind you that this is a luxury hotel.
Nothing like some detailed tilework to remind you that this is a luxury hotel.

Then, on the other side of the room, there are two small sinks across from each other, and the closet. It’s a little bit tight, in my opinion.

Hotel Amenities & Service

The courtyard was welcoming and open.
The courtyard was welcoming and open.

The courtyard is gorgeous; it reminded me of the one at the Park Hyatt, but here it’s more elegant and somehow less voyeuristic.

My bland eggs Benedict made me wish I'd had the buffet spread.
My bland eggs Benedict made me wish I’d had the buffet spread.

This courtyard is where I had breakfast every day. They had a buffet with two menus — Asian and Western — and you can choose from either.

My tiny, boring, not-good breakfast.
My tiny, boring, not-good breakfast.

I had a super-bland Eggs Benedict with a small slice of prosciutto; not only was it not very good, but to be frank, I’d have been pissed if I’d paid full price for it.

The staff was accommodating and, for the most part, professional and efficient. For example, I had to get items pressed quickly for an event, and they were able to turn it around in about an hour and a half, which was a godsend; some hotels refuse to even offer this service (although it cost me a small fortune – over €50 ($55) for four items).

The biggest service failure I had at the hotel was when I ordered a room-service lunch. I was starving and running late, so I ordered a Caesar salad and a soup; they said it would be 25 minutes. Yet, 45 minutes later, nothing.

I called and the employee said it was on its way. Then 10 minutes later he called back to say that they’d forgotten about my order completely, and had me repeat my order! When they finally did bring it up, they forgot the dressing for the salad and the butter for the bread. It was just overall a mess — and they didn’t even apologize for it.

My €18 ($20) bowl of lettuce.
My €18 ($20) bowl of lettuce.

At check-out I let them know about it, because it’s really not something you’d expect from this kind of hotel, especially when you’re paying an arm and a leg for it. I paid 18 ($20) for a mixed green salad that was literally a bowl of lettuce, with nothing else in it whatsoever. Really annoying.

The gorgeous spa pool was relaxing and way, way cool.
The gorgeous spa pool was relaxing and way, way cool.

The subterranean spa was drop-dead gorgeous, with a modern, streamlined pool that was just long enough to accommodate some decent lap swimming.

The chic, sleek spa.
The chic, sleek spa.
The staircase leads to the gym area.
The staircase leading to the gym area.
And here's the gym! Gotta work off those Eggs Benedict somehow.
And here’s the gym — gotta work off that Eggs Benedict somehow!

Overall, the Mandarin Oriental Paris is a decent hotel. It’s luxury for sure, certainly chic, and in a good location — but I’m not sure it’s worth the price. My room and view at the Westin were much nicer, and the Prince de Galles is a much sexier hotel where elite status can get you a bigger, better room and/or huge value from your points.

If I specifically wanted to stay in the 1st arrondissement, however, I’d choose the Park Hyatt over the Mandarin, simply based on its value.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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