Located between the 2nd and 3rd arrondissements (districts) in central Paris, this recently renovated hotel has been gaining some rave reviews over the last 12 months and is currently ranked #1 on TripAdvisor (April 2014). Given the trolls and harshness of the internet, that is kind of a big deal in the travel world where user reviews can make or break a hotel. So did the 123 Sebastopol Hotel live up to its #1 spot on TA? We went to Paris to find out.
The hotel is in a convenient location from Gare du Nord station where you can hop on the Metro (about 10 mins) or walk it in just under half an hour. From the moment you walk into the lobby you get to immerse yourself in the hotels French cinematic theme. The vintage Porsche and Mercedes (not life size), the classic cinema ticket entrance style reception desk and the numerous film prints on the wall all carry the theme to perfection.
Each of the 6 floors are dedicated to a different figure from cinema history. The first floor is dedicated to Italian composer Ennio Morricone who composed the score for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. We then have Elsa Zylberstein, Agnès Jaoui & Jean-Pierre Bacri, Danièle Thompson, Claude Lelouch and finally the 6th floor, and the one housing our room, the legendary French film star Jean-Paul Belmondo (star of the original Casino Royal), who began his original career as a boxer. As such the room was equipped with gym bars, boxing gloves, skipping rope, speed ball and a punch bag. We’ve stayed in quite a few hotel rooms here at Average Joes but we have to admit this was a first. It’s these unique touches and the attention to detail that makes the rooms so impressive. If you’ve ever stayed in a large national chain of hotels you’ll know how lifeless those rooms can be.
A well designed bathroom, flatscreen TV, safe and a free mini-bar (yes you read that right) finishes the room off nicely. Admittedly the choice in the mini-bar isn’t huge but you did read the part where we said it was free right? The rooms aren’t particularly spacious but they are more than comfortable for a city break. Functional and perfect as you really should be out there viewing the beauty of the local area. The majority of rooms in Paris are on the small side so bear this in mind when visiting the city.
Every afternoon in the main dining room, the hotel lays on a few snacks and soft drinks, again free-of-charge. For anyone who has spent the day sight-seeing around Paris you’ll know that it can be a little tiring. The hotel scores more points for providing these little touches for all guests to enjoy.
With space at a premium in the centre of Paris the hotel has managed to find room for a cosy outdoor terrace with a range of comfy seats and tables. The terrace is surrounded by buildings which doesn’t sound that appealing but as with everything in the hotel they have made the extra effort with the little details. A warming yellow exterior and stencil paintings of the film stars that adorn each floor have been added to the building opposite – see our picture below to appreciate it in full.
The 123 Sebastopol delivers a masterclass in how the little extra touches and the fine detail can make a big difference. Take the retro popcorn machine cart in the dining area, the grand piano and a different take on the Hollywood walk of fame (handprints on a golden leaf background). Add excellent, friendly staff to the mix and you have a boutique hotel that dares to offer something different and succeeds on all fronts. Everytime you set foot into a national chain of hotels it will make you realise how soulless they really are – and that they don’t come with a punch bag and boxing gloves.
We also need to thank Snap Traveller for the tip.
Average Joes Stay: March 2014
Hotel Website: www.le123sebastopol.com
Star Rating: 4 Star
Number of Rooms: 63
Address: L’HOTEL LE 123 SEBASTOPOL, 123 boulevard Sébastopol, 75002 Paris