I'm home and not too jetlagged and will try to delete all but the first post I wrote on Monday. I don't take back any of it, but I was using a Netbook, Windows7 (agh!), and was in a serious state of fatigue (having traveled from Brittany for several hours), anger, disillusionment etc.
I want to start with the best first -- once I got out of the Paris Rive Gauche, a hotel I have loved in the past and recommended to others. But the highlight of my 'rewards' stay was leaving, or better said, once outside the doors. I checked out and thanks to what you'll read below, I had no balance. Had things turned out better, I probably would have had a meal at the hotel restaurant. But no way since it was by then 5pm, the Lounge was open (but stuffed with people, many of whom made away with beverages), and because of the way I was treated. So on departing, I had a 0 balance at 5:30 am. As soon as I was told this, I asked (as always in French) the gentleman at the desk if he could call me a taxi to the airport since my knees can no longer deal with stairs and suitcases. He asked if I wanted to put it on my hotel bill and when I said no, he simply pointed outside and said I could get a taxi there. Enough said, perfect end to horrible stay.
The good part is that I had the greatest Parisian taxi driver in the world. I don't know his name, but he immediately took my luggage, greeted me, and the whole time to CDG we had a wonderful conversation. He'd been to Orlando, Key West and NYC, so we both shared our stories (and many laughs) on the way to the airport. Once in the airport, strange to say, all went well. My Delta flight was on time, the crew had a great sense of humor that even extended beyond the airport at Boston. I ended up sitting with most of the flight crew outside Logan waiting for different buses and sharing experiences. So getting to the airport and flying were the best parts of the 14-hour Paris experience. A sad commentary.
OK, back to my gripes. The Rive Gauche has been my choice of hotels for the past ten years, and I have always gotten a large room, large bathroom, and all amenities. In all cases, until Monday July 11, I was treated with the utmost respect on checking in, checking out, and in room amenities.
So now we go back to that issue of Rewards are no longer Rewards, because you have to pay money in addition. I cancelled the Vendôme reservation for that night because they wanted 40,000 pts plus 90 euros. The Rive Gauche had Rewards rooms, though all of the other non-free Rewards had different prices added to them. Since as I've said on principle I will no longer pay for a Rewards room, I chose the free room at the Rive Gauche.
To reiterate a few points of my first emails, everyone greeted me with a smile till I gave my name and showed my PP card, MR Visa card -- essentially until they figured I was not going to pay more for a card. Then the woman (I am tempering my language here, because her attitude was horrible) who checked me in spoke, as I said earlier, entirely in French. No problem -- I had done so all week and did so till I left Paris. But instead of 'normal' French she rattled off everything as fast as she could, gave me my room key, told me quickly about the concierge lounge and I was checked in within less than 5 minutes (with the utmost of rudeness).
Then I got to my room, which was a complete shock. I have read other people say the Rive Gauche's rooms are small, but since I've always had lovely rooms in the past -- and posted photos -- I could not believe how small it was. The photo of the bed and door were taken pressed against the desk which itself was against the window, with the lovely view you'll see :(.
I was not in any way treated like a MR member, let alone a Platinum Premier. I did finally find the soap and shampoo in the tiny bathroom and adjoining bath (right next to the door), but all I wanted to do was get some wine and food at the Executive Lounge then go to sleep and leave. I did.
I am frankly stunned by this change. Admittedly, unlike other Paris hotels and some others (go to Ghent, go to Athens and forget about Paris if you want to stay on Rewards at a truly wonderful Marriott). I was insulted (pretty much overtly in check in and check out), never welcomed as a special Marriott member, and as a result I will never stay at the RIve Gauche again. I would rather stay at the Courtyard in Saint-Denis (even if I have to pay for breakfast...) for much less but probably greater courtesy.
That said, I don't want to taint this for paying customers. I cannot fathom why hotels are punishing their best customers for not paying for their Rewards nights. But they are, or at least some of them. In all past travel at the RIve Gauche, I have had an amazing time. Maybe, I just got unlucky with a nasty check in woman and a negligent check out guy. But the room, while it had a king bed and good TV, was miniscule by the standards of the hotel, which I know very well.
Moreover, it did not compare in status or class to the wonderful Hotel Oceania where I spent four days in Saint-Malo. I am not saying not to stay at the Rive Gauche. I am just warning that if you do so, don't count on pleasantness or a nice room if you are using points only.