Review: The Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel
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I had really high expectations for the Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel, mostly because of the price I paid and the fact that it's a Category 8 property. Unfortunately, my experience there left me feeling disappointed — at one point I even contemplated switching to another hotel but decided not to since I was only in the city a few nights. Here's what it was like to stay there.
I had a pretty open schedule to work with, so after looking at various possible travel dates, I found summertime starting prices at the Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel were consistently in the mid-$300 to high-$400 range. Eventually, I was able to lock in a rate of 260 euros (~$307 at the time) per night, and used my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card so I could earn 3x points for the travel purchase. My total came to 1,059.84 euros (~$1,228 at the time) for my four-night stay, earning me 3,684 Ultimate Rewards points in the process.
Since the Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel is a Category 8 property, I would have needed 35,000-40,000 Marriott Rewards points to redeem for a free night. As a Marriott Gold Elite Member, by paying cash for my stay, I ended up earning 12,280 plus a 25% bonus (a perk of having Gold status), yielding a total of 15,350 Marriott Rewards points.
Alternatively, if I had a Citi Prestige Card, I would have used it to take advantage of the nifty 4th Night Free perk since I would be staying here for four nights.
Check-In and Lobby
The hotel is located in the heart of the ninth arrondissement on Boulevard Haussmann, only about a 30-minute drive from Orly (ORY) or a 40-minute drive from Charles de Gaulle (CDG). If you're coming to Paris to shop, note that it's a five-minute walk from Galleries Lafayette and Printemps department stores. The neighborhood is home to lots of restaurants as well.
I arrived around midday and was able to quickly check in. As a Marriott Gold Elite member, I was given a welcome letter, which outlined many of the benefits I was entitled to.
- Complimentary buffet breakfast in the main restaurant (16 Haussmann) from 6:30am to 10:30am during on weekdays and until 11:00am on weekends.
- Access to the Executive Lounge, including cocktails and hot/cold snacks from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, wine and beer from 7:30pm to 9:30pm and soft drinks until midnight.
- Late check-out until 2:00pm — not the usual 4:00pm late check-out I'm used to.
- Complimentary still water from the mini-bar, newspapers and high-speed Wi-Fi.
The hotel was built in 1927 and has since gone through several renovations — one to the guest rooms in 2010 and another in 2014 — so it wasn't surprising to see some of the older antique touches still present.
As I made my way down the antique-looking hallway with interesting, old-fashioned wallpaper, I was eager to see what my 280-square-foot room would look like.
A small atrium near the entrance was lighted nicely and featured marble floors before switching over to carpet in the main portion of the room.
To the left was a small bathroom with a tub, toilet and a single vanity.
The amenities were from Acca Kappa's line of hair and skincare products.
Making my way toward the bedroom, I noticed the space was small, but still not bad for a European hotel.
As I settled in, I started to feel very warm, even after putting on the air conditioning on full blast. One of my biggest complaints about this hotel was that the room was often at 23° Celsius (about 74° Fahrenheit) even when I set it to 19° Celsius (about 66° Fahrenheit) in hopes the temperature would go down. Although some may prefer to have a warmer room, I wasn't the only one trying to stay cool, as I heard other guests felt the same way.
The room also had a desk and a 37" LCD flat screen TV.
I sometimes brewed a cup of coffee in the room for convenience, even though it was offered at the Executive Lounge upstairs. The in-room coffee machine was consistently re-stocked.
At check-in, I was told there would be complimentary water in the mini-bar, but nobody mentioned it would only have water. I certainly would have appreciated it if some snacks or other beverages had been available in the room.
The closet was adjacent to the bed, built into the wall to maximize space in the small room.
As an Elite member, I would've appreciated — and expected — a better view than a building under construction. While I realize the hotel has no control over what goes on across the street, it would have been nice for someone to have mentioned this to me at check-in or at least to have offered me a prettier vantage point on a different side of the 289-room hotel.
The Executive Lounge
I've been to many Marriott properties both domestically and abroad and have had mixed experiences with Executive Lounges. While I believe having access to them is incredibly valuable, especially when visiting an unfamiliar city, this was one of the worst I've ever visited.
First, I was greeted by a very strong food odor instead of a lounge attendant like some of the other hotels have. It's located on the top floor so I was expecting a nice view along with great hor d'oeuvres — yet again, I was disappointed.
The variety of the food was terrible and the quality, even worse. It was also very hot in the lounge (what is it with the AC in this place?). The main breakfast buffet consisted of a couple of hot dishes, an assortment of basic breads, and some fruit and yogurt, all packed into a very cramped location. Since this is Paris, I was expecting to feast on exceptional pieces of bread, not croissants that weren't worthy of being served in the City of Light.
A few hot options were also available, including (soggy) bacon and sausage.
The KREA espresso machine was very nice. A variety of coffees and teas were also on offer.
Hor d'oeuvres were set out later in the day, but again, I'd say it's best not to eat here.
Alcoholic beverages here were subpar and truthfully, a disgrace to the Marriott brand. I would not even have a quick drink here unless you really wanted to save on costs.
As a staple of any good lounge, I'd expect to see bottles of water and at least one brand of diet soda available. Sadly, the staff must have forgotten about these must-have items while considering the drinking habits of elite members who frequent the lounge.
I usually like to have a snack or grab a drink at the lounge before dinner even if I plan on having my meal outside the hotel, but as I discovered with this Executive Lounge, you must go outside for a good meal, period — it's not even an option to eat in the lounge.
Food and Beverage
Since the lounge offered such disappointing alcoholic beverages, I was glad to see the Lindberg Lobby Bar had many of the usual options, even if they were not free.
Breakfast in the lounge had been so disappointing, but luckily for me, the hotel also offers elite members the option to have a complimentary morning meal in the main restaurant, 16 Haussmann via its own buffet. Dinner is served here as well.
While elite members can enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast here, which I found to be more than sufficient, note that the à la carte menu is not free. I had most of my meals outside the hotel since there were so many fine restaurants nearby — this is Paris, after all.
The buffet had many options, including eggs, cereal and fruit, among other items.
The scrambled eggs and other hot offerings were well-prepared and tasty.
The bread station at the restaurant was alright, but considering we were in Paris, I felt the taste and offerings could have been better.
The in-room Wi-Fi was satisfactory but not lightning fast either.
In the corner of the lounge was a small business center with a computer and a printer. This might just be the smallest business center I've ever seen at a hotel.
The fitness center, however, was fine for a quick workout, which I needed after enjoying all those carbs around town.
I'd certainly consider staying at other hotels the next time I come to Paris, though I sincerely hope to see many of the problems I pointed out in this review fixed for future guests. I also want to quickly mention the condescending attitude of the front desk staff that I encountered while staying at this hotel. When I complained about the AC and said my room was hot, they seemed to be in "shock" — either they'd never heard this particular complaint before or they were assuming I was lying to them — and they became cold and condescending toward me for no reason at all.
For the high price point, the low comfort quality of my stay, the very warm room and the embarrassing Executive Lounge, I certainly don't plan on staying here again. While the room and hotel itself were nice, almost everything else about it was a complete letdown.
Have you ever stayed at the Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel? Tell us about your experience, below.
All photos by the author.