Advantages Rooms when we needed them. Helpful receptionist.
Disadvantages Ridiculous price for breakfast. Rather odd decor
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
|Quality of Facilities|
The Incredible Journey
When the Icelandic volcano erupted in 2009, I was in Portugal at a factory north of Porto for what turned out to be a much extended visit for some production trials. Fortunately the situation was more manageable because I was stuck there with a colleague, his wife and their 2 year old son - and of course it's not the greatest of hardships to be in Portugal in April at the company's expense. After a few days of no improvement in the flight situation we hired a car and set off to drive back to Cheshire. A night in Orleans was not anywhere in my plan - yep, predictably I'm the one who plotted the route and searched for the hotels. However little Lennart, the 2 year old, got a fever and his mum got very fraught. We got a lot less far than I planned and when we realised we'd have to stop I called our secretary back in the office and begged her to find us a place in Orleans. The travel agency came back with the Mercure and sent a text with the details. We plugged the address into the hastily bought emergency Tom Tom and headed for sanctuary.
The Mercure Orleans is located right beside the river close to a large bridge and was very easy to find which was a relief after two days on the road. We arrived, unloaded the bags, parked up and headed inside. As opening lines designed to endear you to a hotel receptionist the words "Can you call a doctor please?" doesn't score well. The receptionist took it in his stride, explained that the hotel didn't have an arrangement with a doctor (that surprised me - nearly every hotel facilities folder claims there's a doctor on call) but we shouldn't worry because the children's hospital was just a few minutes away. We dumped our bags, jumped back in the car and headed off again. After a few hours of speaking very bad school-girl French, we'd had the little boy thoroughly checked over and we returned to the hotel at 1.30 am to be let in by the night receptionist. It's fair to say that we didn't spend a lot of time in the hotel!
The Calmest Receptionist
The reception area is large and sprawling with lots of seating, a bar, racks of tourist pamphlets and a few tables laid out with coffee. At a time when so many hotels have pared back the public space to the absolute minimum in order to maximise sellable floor space, it's refreshing to find a place you could swing a giraffe rather than a cat. The restaurant is at the far end of the lobby on the left hand side and there's an open air swimming pool outside with a terrace surrounding it. At the time of our visit the pool was drained for repairs but it looked as if it would be a good spot once the work was finished and it's undoubtably long been fixed since we were there.
Our rooms were on the first floor and faced the road and looked out over the river. Stupidly I was a bit worried it would be noisy but I really didn't get disturbed by the traffic at all, probably because it was 1.30 in the morning and there wasn't any and I was utterly exhausted. The room was large and well equipped but recognisably Mercure in style. The carpet was a shocking striped one in shades of orange, beige and black, a combination so garish that you need to ensure you spend most of your time in the room with your eyes shut. The bed was enormous with crisp cotton sheets and duvet with an orange throw on the bottom to go with carpet and the orange curtains. There was a coffee table with chair and a second chair was positioned in front of a small desk which had an ugly formica-style granite effect work top. There was a suitcase stand a flat screen TV on a stand made of the same ugly formica as the desk. The drinks tray had tea and coffee and a kettle and there was a mini-bar under.
The bathroom had an impressive 'rainfall' shower that I couldn't get to work but that was probably my fault rather than the shower's and I was in no fit state to fiddle too much with the plumbing. The sink unit was of grey/white marble and there was plenty of shampoo and shower gel as well as lots of soft towels. It was only the next morning when I realised that I had a big balcony beyond my windows with views across the river and overlooking the swimming pool. It was a nice touch but who wants to sit and look out over a busy road?
Breakfast was served in the restaurant which was almost empty. Despite being ridiculously expensive the choice was a bit basic. For over €20 per person, I really don't want to have to boil my own egg in the morning. Options included yoghurts, a very dull fruit salad, juice, bread and cheese. The only hot food (well tepid perhaps rather than hot) on offer were a pile of pancakes and some greyish scrambled egg. Even the coffee was help yourself and disappointing.
With only a few hours in the hotel we did little more than eat and sleep. The rooms were comfortable, the location was easy to find and the service from the receptionist who looked after us was very commendable. If 'Benoit' is still there, he certainly deserves a pat on the back for dealing with an hysterical mother, a sick kid and me speaking execrable French. We managed about 45 minutes in the city centre before heading on our way and it left us all thinking that Orleans would be a great place to go back to under less stressful circumstances. About half an hour later we got hit by a truck - but that was just one more of many things that went wrong on our trip!
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Located in the heart of the city with views of the Loire River, the hotel offers 111 soundproofed and air-conditioned rooms.ssBenefit from an easy...
Shipping: refer to website
Availability: Price is per double room per night and may vary depending on date booked