I can't help but find the branding of hotels in France a touch duplicitous.
when it comes to those named 'PremiÃ¨re Classe' or 'Formule 1' Ã¢â¬â owned
by the Louvre HÃ´tels and Accor hotel groups, respectively, and with
regards to the former, I had the displeasure of sleeping at Tuesday
night in Albi, before the start of the eleventh stage to Lavaur.
see, both the PremiÃ¨re Classe and Formule 1 hotels, despite their names
that imply something superb, something without peer, something at the
top of its class Ã¢â¬â as opposed to "derniÃ¨re classe", or last in class, something the French refer to as "merde" (shit) Ã¢â¬â they happen to sit at the bottom of both the Louvre HÃ´tels and Accor chains.
Wikipedia entry for "HÃ´tel PremiÃ¨re Classe" describe them as "an
international chain of 'super low budget' or 'no frills' hotels. At
Premiere Classe, the price may change according to the hotel and the
period (usually around Ã¢â¬35), but remains the same whether there are 1, 2
or 3 people in the same room."
And the Wiki entry for Hotel
Formule 1 says pretty much the same thing Ã¢â¬â "super low budget" and "no
frills" form part of the vernacular.
Only rooms can be even
cheaper at a Formule 1 hotel, if you believe Wiki and are unlucky (or
poor, or desperate) enough to stay there, because according to them,
rooms can be rented for a smashingly low 29 Euros per night.
again, if you sardine three people into their scungiest
35-Euro-a-night-triple-bunk room, and don't asphyxiate you and your
roomies before day breaks, it undercuts the cheapest Formule 1 by a
gobsmacking 23.33 Euros!
Now that's what I call PremiÃ¨re Classe Value!
can just imagine the tagline by its advertising agency buffoons: "We
cut all sorts of corners in order to cut our already low prices!" Or,
"We will be beaten on everything else except price! Guaranteed Ã¢â¬â or your
23.33 Euros back!"
But as my travelling colleague and I
discovered Tuesday evening in Albi, not all PremiÃ¨re Classe hotels are
cheap, even if they do resemble something between Alcatraz and the
Because upon check-in Ã¢â¬â if you can call it that,
since by the time we arrived, reception wasn't open; just a touch screen
where you entered your surname or a booking reference number Ã¢â¬â I was
asked (forced?) to pay 69 Euros for my eight-foot-by-eight-foot abode
that romantically overlooked the floodlit car-park out back and once
inside, exuded the charm and tranquillity of a Chinese sweatshop.
aura of serenity was augmented by way of an extremely considerate guest
next door, who had his TV blaring full-bore till 2 a.m. So much so,
that I could hear what program he was watching.
Do I have anything positive to say?
the vending machines provided me with a three-course dinner Ã¢â¬â one can
of apple juice, a packet of crisps, then one can of orange juice, in
that order Ã¢â¬â only because the hotel restaurant that was advertised on
its website wasn't yet operational (even though they had a menu card in
Plus there's free hair on the floor, in the bathroom
and in the bed; handy if you are going bald, which thankfully I'm not.
And breakfast is only 4.80 Euros extra, although I didn't bother trying
Encouragingly, on the homepage of its website, it states in capitals: "PREMIERE CLASSE IS RENOVATING ITS HOTELS IN FRANCE."
And not a moment too soon.
Follow Anthony on Twitter: @anthony_tan