September 21, 2003
First, let's talk neighborhood. La Defense is an interesting contrast to the rest of Paris. Tall highrises, beautiful modern structures, glisten against the skyline. The La Defense Grande Arch, which can be clearly seen on the other side of town from atop the Arc de Troimph (see picture), would dwarf its famous, older brother if they were put side by side. It is, however, a functional office space rather than an "attraction." Here you see busy Parisians with their briefcases going to work. If you work for the soda behemoth, Coca Cola, in the States, I believe you'll find the Paris office is nearby.
The Hilton is also located within spitting distance of the Grande Arch. To help you find it, there's a giant statue of a thumb in front of the hotel's building! There is also a large underground complex of shops complete with post office beneath the Hilton, which I found extremely convenient to use. I could look into this "mall" with its concrete, scalloped ceilings and busy courtyard from my room's window, but I was never disturbed by noise.
All of this complex is right next to a metro stop allowing for easy access to to the rest of Paris (just 10 minutes to the other arch)!
Even the Hilton's standard rooms (180 Euro at time of my visit) seemed huge to me for Europe. In keeping with the building, the decor was modern and functional: clean lines, blonde wood, silver accents, and a glass desk for work. Twin beds with feather filled comforters are pushed close together, but not for lack of space. Only the bathroom could be called small, but there's still a big counter.
This standard room is more than adequate, but if you really want to indulge yourself, for a hundred or so more Euro a night (or, in my case, an upgrade due to Diamond Club status), a deluxe king room is available, too. Here there is a clearer deliniation between the room's comfort zones. The desk is separated by a sort of partition from the main sleeping area where there is a GIGANTIC, cushy bed. The bathroom here has a modern sink that looks like a large, porcelain bowl. There's a jacuzzi-type tub with massaging jets, too.
Of course, there is high speed internet access in both types of rooms, and other comforts such as a minibar. The BBC is on TV, but you can also rent movies in English if you want to wind down after sightseeing. The staff spoke English as fluently as me, and they were absolutely outstanding throughout my stay. Very helpful.
While certainly not a "boutique-type" place at all, I loved this hotel, and I would not hesitate to stay there again.
From journal Paris in two days