June 28, 2001
We arrived fairly early in the day but the reception desk said a room was ready for us. He checked in and went up to our room. It was a small, rather tired room with a queen-sized bed. We had reserved a king room, so we went back to the desk. We were told firmly that they could not release any king rooms for a one-night stay. When we pointed out that we had reserved a king room for one night, we were told, in essence, that our reservation meant nothing. We were offered free breakfast as compensation. We heard a lot of banging and clanking in the room, which we assumed was some nearby construction work.
We went out to dinner and when we returned (about 11 p.m.) the noise was still going on, too loudly to sleep. We found that the elevator around the corner from our room was making the noise. We went down to the desk to complain again. No problem, said the night desk clerk. He immediately moved us to a lovely king room, exactly the kind of room we had reserved and had been told just hours ago was unavailable. This was a spacious and nicely equipped room.
We had had a previous bad experience with this hotel as well, but had decided to give them this second chance. On the previous occasion, four of us had planned to travel with bicycles in three large bike cases. We expected to take the bikes with us in a rental car and leave the empty cases in the hotel luggage room, something that is very common in European -- or at least French -- hotels. I faxed the Holiday Inn several months in advance to find out what facilities they had and whom we should contact. No answer at all. A few weeks before our departure, I called and was told in no uncertain terms that it was absolutely impossible for them to store the empty cases, and there was no one I could talk to further about it. So we called the Copthorne, which is right next door (and even uses the same free shuttle bus from the airport). No problem. They stored the cases for us for two weeks at no extra charge and were extremely gracious about it.
P.S. We wrote to Holiday Inn Guest Relations when we returned home and explained our bad experiences. To their great credit, they refunded the money for our night''s stay. We are still fans of Holiday Inn but will not stay at the Charles DeGaulle site again. The Copthorne is worth the extra $20-30/ night more.
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