Introduction: Birthday Hotel Hopping In Paris

Introduction: Birthday Hotel Hopping In Paris

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Welcome to my next trip report series, which will cover our recent trip to Paris, including some flight and lounge reviews, along with three hotel reviews. This series will (hopefully) be especially interesting for luxury hotel enthusiasts.

Why we traveled to Paris

Ford just turned 30, and we decided to spend six days in Paris to celebrate his birthday. Paris is an amazing city, though admittedly it’s perhaps not the most “exotic” destination, and for that matter we’ve both visited Paris a countless number of times.

The truth is that it has been a tough year — in addition to the pandemic that everyone is facing, my mom continues to battle cancer, so I’ve basically moved in with her at this point, to spend as much time with her as possible (which has been really fun!). On top of that, the home we were supposed to move into last year still isn’t ready, so we don’t have a permanent base at the moment.

Long story short, while we had initially hoped to travel to Morocco or Namibia for Ford’s birthday, we ultimately “settled” on Paris. It’s an easy flight from the United States, we could book it last minute, and we could easily cut it short if need be.

Paris is Ford’s favorite city, and it’s also where we got engaged, so it has been a special city for us (I get it, we’re not alone — that’s not exactly that original). Nonetheless, for us this seemed like the ideal place to celebrate Ford’s birthday. Paris has incredible hotels and some of the best restaurants in the world, and that’s kind of what we were looking to enjoy.

We both wondered whether six days in Paris would be too long, or if the weather would cooperate and give us a nice time. Well, I’m happy to report that six days was the perfect amount of time to spend in Paris (and we would have wanted to spend even more time there, if it weren’t for the fact that we were basically tired of amazing food at that point, and just wanted a salad and a cup of water), and we also lucked out with the most gorgeous fall weather imaginable.

View from the Cheval Blanc Paris rooftop

How we flew to & from Paris

As mentioned above, we planned our trip to Paris last minute. We flew out of Miami, and found great award options in both directions:

  • On the outbound we flew Lufthansa first class from Miami to Frankfurt to Paris for 100,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles per person; I transfered Amex Membership Rewards points with the 20% bonus promo we saw in September, so in the end the award cost me just 84,000 Membership Rewards points per person
  • On the return we flew Air France business class from Paris to Miami for 55,000 Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles per person; I transfered Amex Membership Rewards points with the 25% bonus promo we saw in September, so in the end the award cost me just 44,000 Membership Rewards points per person
Lufthansa first class Boeing 747-8

I’d say those are some phenomenal award options, both in terms of the convenience of the routings, as well as in terms of the value we got, given the Amex transfer bonuses I took advantage of in September.

Air France business class Boeing 777-200

Where we stayed in Paris

I’ve reviewed some of Paris’ best points hotels over the years, including the Park Hyatt Paris and Prince de Galles. This time we decided to mix it up, and review what are generally considered to be three of Paris’ best luxury hotels, none of which are bookable with points. This includes:

  • The Ritz Paris, which is perhaps Paris’ most famous and iconic hotel; by the way, this hotel is no association with Ritz-Carlton
  • The Four Seasons Paris George V; Four Seasons is known for its incredible hotels, and the Paris property is regarded as one of the brand’s best properties
  • The Cheval Blanc Paris, which is brand new; Cheval Blanc is owned by LVMH and is a boutique hotel group that has long interested me, and this seemed like a great opportunity to try it
Four Seasons Paris George V lobby

Paris is arguably the best city in the world for uber-luxury hotels, as I can’t think of another city that has so many top notch options that consistently deliver (perhaps Tokyo is the only other city in the same league). Suffice to say we enjoyed the opportunity to directly compare the top three hotels in the city.

Cheval Blanc Paris pool

Bottom line

We just wrapped up an amazing week-long trip to Paris, and I look forward to reviewing Lufthansa first class, Air France business class, and three of Paris’ top luxury hotels. As cliche as it is to love Paris, the city grows on me with every visit, and that was especially true with this trip.

It was so nice to escape the heat of Florida, enjoy some of the best meals of my life, and also check out three phenomenal hotels that I struggle to even rank, given how great all of them are in their own way.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

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  1. Spencer Pierce Guest

    I spent my honeymoon at The Ritz Hotel in the Plaza Vendome Suite. I normally stayed in the Peninsula Hotels properties. However, we wanted to stay someplace special so we picked the Ritz. Aside from the photos, what I remember most about the Ritz is we ordered room service and the French Fries were 45 Euros! This was back in 2003, I shudder to think how much they would cost today. Love your reviews Ben and happy belated birthday to Ford.

  2. Sara Guest

    Ben, loved reading about these hotels. We've had some really lovely experiences at the Bar Vendome at the Ritz (even post-pandemic), and I'm always intrigued about booking a stay there. It seems silly since we always stay at the PHV, but that's why I love that you reviewed it! George V is aspirational for me - maybe next year for my birthday!

  3. Valentyn Guest

    Ritz Paris is available for booking with LHW points.

  4. Dennis Guest

    Thank you for the reviews to all of the hotels, both points and cash. I have relied on your posts for multiple trips with my family around the world and will search your site prior to booking hotels and airlines, following many of your same tricks to score F/J flights. I’m lucky (no pun intended) in the sense that we can afford to pay cash at times for truly memorable experiences (Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton...

    Thank you for the reviews to all of the hotels, both points and cash. I have relied on your posts for multiple trips with my family around the world and will search your site prior to booking hotels and airlines, following many of your same tricks to score F/J flights. I’m lucky (no pun intended) in the sense that we can afford to pay cash at times for truly memorable experiences (Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton or St. Regis hotels) when points aren’t available or don’t make sense. Keep up the great work!

    And I hope your mom continues to fight, my mom, and grandmother both had cancer, my grandmother passed away, my mom survived so I know the battle she faces.

  5. Matt Roberts Guest

    How do you book last minute award trips? I can never find anything anywhere for last minute flights. Could you do an article on how to find those gems?

  6. JSW Guest

    @ben Looking forward to your reviews--particularly any comparisons between FSGV and the Ritz! I'm traveling to Paris in a few weeks and currently have both properties booked, but having a hard time making a final decision and don't want to switch hotels mid-stay. I've only had positive experiences at FSGV, but reviews of the Ritz post-renovations seem to be universally positive whereas FSGV more hit or miss (particularly after covid reopening). I wish I could...

    @ben Looking forward to your reviews--particularly any comparisons between FSGV and the Ritz! I'm traveling to Paris in a few weeks and currently have both properties booked, but having a hard time making a final decision and don't want to switch hotels mid-stay. I've only had positive experiences at FSGV, but reviews of the Ritz post-renovations seem to be universally positive whereas FSGV more hit or miss (particularly after covid reopening). I wish I could combine the FS public spaces with Ritz guestrooms for the perfect combination :-) Can't wait to read more--your timing could not be more perfect!

  7. DCharlie Guest

    I also second (or rather third) @Kent and @JetSetGo - India is truly home to some gorgeous hotels with unparalleled service and hospitality. My two favs are the Lake Palace in Udaipur (already mentioned) and the Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra. The latter is spectacular - especially the Luxury Suites with unobstructed views of the Taj Mahal. I don't think I have observed anything more beautiful than the beautiful colors reflected off of the Taj Mahal...

    I also second (or rather third) @Kent and @JetSetGo - India is truly home to some gorgeous hotels with unparalleled service and hospitality. My two favs are the Lake Palace in Udaipur (already mentioned) and the Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra. The latter is spectacular - especially the Luxury Suites with unobstructed views of the Taj Mahal. I don't think I have observed anything more beautiful than the beautiful colors reflected off of the Taj Mahal during the blue hour. One of the most special moments in the slight chill of the early morning while having a cup of freshly brewed Darjeeling Tea with my partner.

  8. DCharlie Guest

    As someone who rarely stays at major hotel brands (and therefore rarely redeems points for hotels), I am digging posts such as this. I am aware that these types of stays are not the target for most of the audience here. I have always preferred non-chain establishments (especially on the higher end) surpass the major global chains by far.

    Curious to learn about your impressions the Cheval Blanc since my fiancee and I are...

    As someone who rarely stays at major hotel brands (and therefore rarely redeems points for hotels), I am digging posts such as this. I am aware that these types of stays are not the target for most of the audience here. I have always preferred non-chain establishments (especially on the higher end) surpass the major global chains by far.

    Curious to learn about your impressions the Cheval Blanc since my fiancee and I are spending a week in November at the hotel when visiting her relatives in Paris. Since she has frequented the Cheval Blanc previously, she recommended to reserve the Eiffel or the Ravel suite - we we will stay in the Ravel suite since the Eiffel was occupied during our stay.

  9. Donna Diamond

    First and foremost, I’m hoping your Mother will make a full and speedy recovery. Second, I’m glad you guys are back out - Paris is always a good idea, right??!!! Finally, I like the non-points Hotel reviews. I find the places like Park Hyatt, too much alike, generic and predictable with, frankly, no soul. I stay at mostly EU 4 star and occasional 5 star, non-points places that give good value and are timeless classics,...

    First and foremost, I’m hoping your Mother will make a full and speedy recovery. Second, I’m glad you guys are back out - Paris is always a good idea, right??!!! Finally, I like the non-points Hotel reviews. I find the places like Park Hyatt, too much alike, generic and predictable with, frankly, no soul. I stay at mostly EU 4 star and occasional 5 star, non-points places that give good value and are timeless classics, and one of a kind (in a good way!). Speaking for my own situation, I don’t spend hundreds of thousands a year on Credit Cards and therefore, the big redemptions for these high end luxury properties are very elusive, even in low season and special deal rates. That’s not to say, points and miles aren’t useful, I find better value for them in the lesser domestic properties and airline redemptions.

  10. Alison Guest

    Count me on team "non-points" hotels. I use most of my points to get the biz class airfare and prefer to stay in boutique hotels of my choice. I find a great hotel (location, location, location and great service and decent size room and bathroom) makes my vacation. And Ben, I hope your mom is doing better. That is very tough.

  11. AW Guest

    Four Seasons lobby has a distinct "Trouble with Tribbles" vibe to it.

    1. NFSF New Member

      Haha thats very well put

  12. Weymar Osborne Gold

    You found a direct TATL business class award on Air France for 55,000 MILES!? HOW? It seems like no matter where I'm originating from or how many connections I allow awards always price at something like 125,000 miles, or something crazy like that. Do they get cheaper if you book close to departure?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Weymar Osborne -- There are bargains to be had sometimes! Indeed that was the price available online, and I see it far in advance as well on this route. Since pricing is dynamic, it's not consistent, though.

  13. HC Guest

    We just came back from Paris yesterday and stayed at Cheval Blanc for a week. Curious to see your thoughts. We were somewhat disappointed. Very nice rooms and facilities, but extremely poor soundproofing. We had a balcony room on the 6th floor and could hear everything from the restaurants on the 7th floor especially when they start moving chairs and tables around after closing. Could even hear them vacuuming... Traffic in the area being crazy also didn't help.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ HC -- Thanks for sharing your experience! Stay tuned...

  14. D3kingg Guest

    Bonne Anniversaire Ford !

    Mes amis. Ma cheriè. Le petit beurre.

  15. JetSetGo Guest

    @kent, don’t know if you know this but Lodhi used to be an Aman property. Agree with Oberoi properties…. Oberoi Amarvilas’s garden is absolutely stunning and service was top notch when I was there last. India truly has some of the most gorgeous luxury hotels around the world. One of my fav is Amanbagh.

    @Ben, can’t wait to read about Ritz and Cheval Blanc Paris. Will be there this late fall. We save money on airplane tix so we can have great hotel experience.

    1. Kent Guest

      @JetSetGo - I absolutely do! I’ve stayed at the Lodhi pre-Aman, under Aman and recently. The experience was fabulous, every time. Many don’t know that Aman Resorts (of which @Ben is a huge fan) was actually owned by India’s biggest real estate developer, DLF, until 2014. My firm had bid for the Aman brand at that time also.

  16. Kent Guest

    @Ben - I hope you enjoyed your stay. My wife and I travel to Paris every quarter for l the last forty years. We have stayed at every major hotel in Paris. I’m curious to read about your impression of the Cheval. My wife and I both agree that it is not our hotel if choice; fully comfortable but somehow lacking a clear identity, much needed to make a memorable and inviting for another stay.

    ...

    @Ben - I hope you enjoyed your stay. My wife and I travel to Paris every quarter for l the last forty years. We have stayed at every major hotel in Paris. I’m curious to read about your impression of the Cheval. My wife and I both agree that it is not our hotel if choice; fully comfortable but somehow lacking a clear identity, much needed to make a memorable and inviting for another stay.

    Hotels in Paris and London are fantastic but we hold firm that Udaipur, followed by Jaipur, in India is the city which hosts the most impressive hotels anywhere. You must try the Taj Lake Palace and Rambagh Palace,and the Oberoi Udaivillas - all exquisite ultra luxurious properties. These are only some of the fantastic properties in the Taj and Oberoi portfolio. In our fifty+ years of travel, our most memorable stays have been in Taj properties. I urge you to try their unique heritage properties. Another shout out to the Lodhi in Delhi - love their rooms with private pools. Although opportunities for using points is lower, these hotels are part of the Leading Hotels in Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts I believe.

  17. Emily Guest

    I’ve been visiting Paris for the last 20 years for leisure and in my capacity as a hotel & food critic, and still discover something new each time. I don’t consider it to be the number 1 city for Boutique Hotels or Gastronomy, but it definitely ranks in the top three. The Cheval Blanc is the one I’d prefer to stay at from your list if I’m seeking a luxurious stay. However, my favourite hotel...

    I’ve been visiting Paris for the last 20 years for leisure and in my capacity as a hotel & food critic, and still discover something new each time. I don’t consider it to be the number 1 city for Boutique Hotels or Gastronomy, but it definitely ranks in the top three. The Cheval Blanc is the one I’d prefer to stay at from your list if I’m seeking a luxurious stay. However, my favourite hotel in Paris is La Reserve for the overall experience. Frankly though, my most memorable stays have been at 4-5 room ultra boutique (almost like luxury home stays) establishments. I feel this is the best way to discover Paris in a luxurious manner but still through the eyes of a Parisian. Bon voyage!

  18. Pete Gold

    While I do like reading luxury hotel reviews, if we are to keep to the overall Miles/points mission of the blog, then I don’t find the reason of cutbacks convincing as to justify not staying there.

    It does involve taking one for the team and for such an important destination as Paris, one of the first cities for US tourists to return to, it would be nice to know which points hotels are cutting back...

    While I do like reading luxury hotel reviews, if we are to keep to the overall Miles/points mission of the blog, then I don’t find the reason of cutbacks convincing as to justify not staying there.

    It does involve taking one for the team and for such an important destination as Paris, one of the first cities for US tourists to return to, it would be nice to know which points hotels are cutting back or reinstating certain amenities. I would consider a post-vaccination update a must at these top point hotels.

    To be honest I would only expect nothing but ga-ga reviews from these three properties and it would only be “news” if one of them fell short. But in the end it wouldn’t matter; fantasy either way because few of us could afford such places.

  19. CSR 2.0 Guest

    I'm totally team Ben here. It's really fun to read about the gorgeous hotels. For me personally, while I do aim for points hotels in general, there are many times I'll splurge on a non points hotel, and a place like Paris is definitely one of them. Really looking forward to these reviews!

  20. Another Lump Guest

    Not bookable with points? Not interested.

  21. Brian-EWA New Member

    Just booked AF PE (on the A350) for a trip to Paris in December to see the Christmas markets. Excited about this trip report!

  22. Sosie Guest

    Ben correct me if I am wrong.
    On the weekly review picture there was a new lufthansa picture that was probably taken in Frankfurt. So I was waiting for this trip review

  23. Santastico Guest

    Hope you post all the amazing restaurants you ate there.

  24. Alpha Golf Guest

    Sorry to hear about your mom. Hope she's doing better.

  25. Jill Guest

    Love these reviews Ben
    Thank You so much
    Also have you stayed at the Hotel Ritz in London

  26. Sosie Guest

    Ben thanks I am so excited for the reviews.
    If I may ask what's going with your mother?

  27. Vin Guest

    Hit us with some restaurant recommendations too! Seeing as food is a huge part of travel, I wonder if you'd consider one post per trip report outlining some of the non-hotel places you ate at, especially in a city like Paris.

  28. Anthony Guest

    A lot of discussion about points vs non points hotels. And Lucky mentioned how some points hotels have cut back services; you also need to think about points devaluations, and lower award inventory at some points hotels.

    I think the logical next question is - should readers adjust their credit card and points accrual strategy if they are going to be staying at luxury, non points hotels (or even boutique hotels)? Is cash back,...

    A lot of discussion about points vs non points hotels. And Lucky mentioned how some points hotels have cut back services; you also need to think about points devaluations, and lower award inventory at some points hotels.

    I think the logical next question is - should readers adjust their credit card and points accrual strategy if they are going to be staying at luxury, non points hotels (or even boutique hotels)? Is cash back, or booking via something like a Chase portal more attractive now? Should people be more willing to use points for more "basic," needs oriented stays (say at select service properties) rather than holding out for that awesome luxury redemption? Have the value of hotel points changed given all of this?

    I don't mind the luxury hotel reviews, but we have seen little analysis from Lucky and others on whether the landscape has changed, and how customers should react.

    1. John Guest

      Currently our household is finding better “value” (its an entire other thread if points/miles blogs focus too much on cash value vs other forms of value) by booking the hotel that has the best service/pool/spa tubs in room wherever we’re going and paying cash or redeeming cash back, vs the generic Hilton / Hyatt. We’re forgoing the hotel points sometimes, but using the Amex green for 3x on travel combined with a travel agent to...

      Currently our household is finding better “value” (its an entire other thread if points/miles blogs focus too much on cash value vs other forms of value) by booking the hotel that has the best service/pool/spa tubs in room wherever we’re going and paying cash or redeeming cash back, vs the generic Hilton / Hyatt. We’re forgoing the hotel points sometimes, but using the Amex green for 3x on travel combined with a travel agent to get the best value for us.

      I love seeing the reviews of some of these properties as it helps us know when to splurge and when a hotel is just cashing in on the brand name / reputation.

  29. Wilhelm Guest

    Looking forward to reading reviews of something other than generic chain hotels. Don’t we all prefer seeing reviews of Lamborghinis, even though most people end up buying a VW?

    1. DFW Guest

      Also keen to read these reviews, but I would rather read up on the VW I am about to buy, as opposed to fantasize over the Lamborghini I will never be able to afford

  30. John T Guest

    I've noticed a real change in the hotel reviews on this site the last few months. Hardly any hotels bookable with points, it's now just ridiculously expensive hotels most readers would never stay at that can be booked via Ford as a travel agent. Are the hotel reviews section of this site just now a promotional vehicle for his booking service?

    Not a criticism, more an observation...

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ John T -- That's a totally valid question, which I'm happy to answer.

      First of all, while there have absolutely been more luxury non-points hotels reviews, I've continued to review quite a few hotels bookable with points. By my math, 21 of the 30 most recent hotel reviews have been of properties bookable with points (and it would have been 22, but then Aegon Mykonos happened). ;) Yes, that's not quite the same ratio...

      @ John T -- That's a totally valid question, which I'm happy to answer.

      First of all, while there have absolutely been more luxury non-points hotels reviews, I've continued to review quite a few hotels bookable with points. By my math, 21 of the 30 most recent hotel reviews have been of properties bookable with points (and it would have been 22, but then Aegon Mykonos happened). ;) Yes, that's not quite the same ratio as before, but I'd say that's still a good number.

      As far as the motivation for that, there are a few reasons:
      -- In general I've found so many points hotels to frustratingly cut back service (to cut costs), so there's limited long-term value to the reviews, since it seems like service will almost undoubtedly change again soon; meanwhile most true luxury hotels are operating as they were pre-coronavirus, minus some safety precautions
      -- Yes, Ford is a luxury travel advisor, and so there is a business element to it; to be honest, we've been pleasantly surprised by how many OMAAT readers generally stay at non-points luxury hotels, with the strategy being to use miles & points for premium flights, and then using the money saved towards better hotel experiences
      -- Even beyond those who would actually pay to stay at these properties, I've found that there's a "hotel porn" element to this, where people enjoy reading about unique, one-of-a-kind hotels, even if they would never stay at them, as it gives them a look at the property without having to pay with them; contrast that to my last several Hyatt Centric reviews, where I've basically ended with "well, I guess it was good enough, but it wasn't really memorable"
      -- This was Ford's 30th birthday, and since we've done the best points hotels in Paris, I didn't really think there were any great points options otherwise that were worthy of the celebration, given the other options available

      I promise I'll take the feedback into account, and will continue to have lots of reviews of points hotels going forward.

    2. SQ51 Guest

      Agreed with all the above. While reviews of the JW's and such are of better value, we can always get a general sense of those without going. Reviews like these, as well as the Claridges are still useful for some, and exciting for all.

      +1 on "strategy being to use miles & points for premium flights, and then using the money saved towards better hotel experiences"

      Thanks for making this "your" blog.

    3. Greg Guest

      Your readers don't just favor non points luxury hotels, they also like non points boutique hotels. Better "value" in many cases vs generic chains, especially when booked with card benefit programs of via a travel advisor to receive incidental credits and benefits that match or exceed what an 'elite' program provides.

    4. BookLvr New Member

      I love that you are also reviewing non points hotels, and writing articles about things like "What constitutes a boutique hotel?"

      I am someone who is pretty much never going to stay at a major chain hotel on a European vacation. I have nothing against the major chains, and have stayed at both a Hyatt and a Kimpton in October, but when I am traveling abroad for vacation, I prefer something with more character...

      I love that you are also reviewing non points hotels, and writing articles about things like "What constitutes a boutique hotel?"

      I am someone who is pretty much never going to stay at a major chain hotel on a European vacation. I have nothing against the major chains, and have stayed at both a Hyatt and a Kimpton in October, but when I am traveling abroad for vacation, I prefer something with more character and personality. And while I personally prefer apartment hotels over luxury hotels at this stage in my life (as I am traveling with young adults and we benefit from the extra space), I love reading about the properties you select. I fondly remember your earlier review of the Shangri-La Paris and would consider staying there if it were just me and my husband based on your review.

      Best wishes for your mother's health, and I look forward to reading your flight and hotel reviews.

    5. Malc Gold

      Yes, a hotel-porn element. That about sums up my interest. My stays are vicarious. This is probably the case for a lot of the airline reviews too -- we're unlikely to fly many of these airlines, but it's nice to read about them and wonder.

    6. Colin Guest

      I absolutely love the non-points hotel reviews. Ben has covered so so many points hotels in the past, that it's nice to be able to mix and match between the two. I really hope Ben shares his views on the restaurants too.

      Not living in the USA, where it's often not so simple to acquire points with the major hotel chains, the blog is so more informative, relatable and appealing when Ben branches out to...

      I absolutely love the non-points hotel reviews. Ben has covered so so many points hotels in the past, that it's nice to be able to mix and match between the two. I really hope Ben shares his views on the restaurants too.

      Not living in the USA, where it's often not so simple to acquire points with the major hotel chains, the blog is so more informative, relatable and appealing when Ben branches out to non-points hotels.

      It also allows us to draw comparisons between the two and make our own minds up.

  31. NFSF Guest

    Curious what made you like these three over the many non-points 5 star hotels.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ NFSF -- I'll explain our motivation for checking out these properties in the individual reviews. Admittedly Paris has so many amazing luxury hotels, so it's hard to really decide between them. Hopefully over time I can check out more of them.

  32. Dan Guest

    Did you drink Cheval Blanc at Cheval Blanc?

  33. Jason Guest

    Excited to see your reviews as these are all hotels I'm considering in Paris for an upcoming stay, and you do reviews very well.

    Didnt consider the Plaza Athenee or was there just not enough time?

    1. NFSF Guest

      If they’re like many of my gay friends, Dorchester hotels are out due to Brunei ownership

  34. David Guest

    You really don't have to put quotation marks around "exotic" and "settled."

  35. FR Guest

    Next time try Le Bristol - my favorite hotel in Paris if not the world.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ FR -- Have heard amazing things about Le Bristol, but just didn't have enough time on this trip. Hopefully next time!

    2. Bob Guest

      A famous parisian food critic finds Le bristol not so good.

    3. fonfonfon Guest

      Sigh, Le Bristol is soooo lovely. Le Crillon and Le Meurice are also ones that I like a lot. I can't wait to read the reviews. Le George V is on my bucket list, however, their afternoon tea wasn't the best.

  36. JD Guest

    Most looking forward to reading about Cheval Blanc. That place (I've heard) cost an absolute fortune to build.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ JD -- I can only imagine how much it cost, the physical design of the property is jaw-dropping.

    2. Bob Guest

      Cheval-Blanc has not been built from scratch.

      It is inside La Samaritaine department store, with more than 100 years of history.

      It is the complexity of creating an hotel inside a department store that has added of lot of complexity for a building supposed to be a shop.

  37. John Guest

    Can’t wait for the review! @ben what AF aircraft did you fly?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ John -- It was an Air France 777-200 (was supposed to be an A350-900, but got swapped last minute).

    2. Mike Guest

      @Ben I am looking forward to your review! My wife and I are slated to fly AF Biz on the A350 this coming July from SEA. Although the hard product is different on the 772, I'm looking forward to a recent review of the service and amenities.

  38. Niko_jas Guest

    Before anyone has a change to say anything negative... Yay. Trip reports are the best part of this blog. Can't wait to read them.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Niko_jas -- Appreciate the positive comment and good vibes. :)

    2. SQ51 Guest

      +1!! Always a treat getting the Introduction post

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ John T -- That's a totally valid question, which I'm happy to answer. First of all, while there have absolutely been more luxury non-points hotels reviews, I've continued to review quite a few hotels bookable with points. By my math, 21 of the 30 most recent hotel reviews have been of properties bookable with points (and it would have been 22, but then Aegon Mykonos happened). ;) Yes, that's not quite the same ratio as before, but I'd say that's still a good number. As far as the motivation for that, there are a few reasons: -- In general I've found so many points hotels to frustratingly cut back service (to cut costs), so there's limited long-term value to the reviews, since it seems like service will almost undoubtedly change again soon; meanwhile most true luxury hotels are operating as they were pre-coronavirus, minus some safety precautions -- Yes, Ford is a luxury travel advisor, and so there is a business element to it; to be honest, we've been pleasantly surprised by how many OMAAT readers generally stay at non-points luxury hotels, with the strategy being to use miles & points for premium flights, and then using the money saved towards better hotel experiences -- Even beyond those who would actually pay to stay at these properties, I've found that there's a "hotel porn" element to this, where people enjoy reading about unique, one-of-a-kind hotels, even if they would never stay at them, as it gives them a look at the property without having to pay with them; contrast that to my last several Hyatt Centric reviews, where I've basically ended with "well, I guess it was good enough, but it wasn't really memorable" -- This was Ford's 30th birthday, and since we've done the best points hotels in Paris, I didn't really think there were any great points options otherwise that were worthy of the celebration, given the other options available I promise I'll take the feedback into account, and will continue to have lots of reviews of points hotels going forward.

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CSR 2.0 Guest

I'm totally team Ben here. It's really fun to read about the gorgeous hotels. For me personally, while I do aim for points hotels in general, there are many times I'll splurge on a non points hotel, and a place like Paris is definitely one of them. Really looking forward to these reviews!

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Greg Guest

Your readers don't just favor non points luxury hotels, they also like non points boutique hotels. Better "value" in many cases vs generic chains, especially when booked with card benefit programs of via a travel advisor to receive incidental credits and benefits that match or exceed what an 'elite' program provides.

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