You know, it’s the little things in life that matter. At Le Bristol Hotel, it’s the ornate China used for your morning cappuccino. Or it’s the place setting that’s perfectly adjusted to make room for a late arrival to your party, whose alarm apparently never went off, making it “no inconvenience at all monsieur/madame.”
A visit by Madame Marshall inquiring about your dinner the night before and plans for the day makes one feel as special as the most beautiful café setting in all of Paris. Talking with Jean Marie in the lobby before heading out to the rough and tumble St. Honoré gives you the confidence that all will be fine once you return “home” later in the day.
When I think about my favorite memories from our trip, it’s the little things that come to mind. As an aside, what makes a palace hotel a palace hotel is a pool. My son and I hit ’em all. One of our favorites was the one at Hotel Lutetia. (Imagine a Roman bath without the Romans.) Near the hot tub was an ice-cold plunge pool. Imagine plunging into a champagne bucket, and you get the picture.
My son plunged right in and said after a few seconds fully submerged, with his head back out of the water: “Dad, it’s not that bad. Try it.”
“No way,” I said. “I’m fine in the hot tub. Not for me.”
Turns out he was right. Glad I did it.
Now, a trip wouldn’t be a trip without some drama, some lost patience, and a few surprises, like when Your Survival Guy was awakened from his slumber with a knock on his door at the Shangri-La.
“Dad, I need my passport,” my daughter said. “My friends are in the lobby; I’m going to go to London with them to see our other friend who lives there.”
“No way,” I said.
Turns out it was the highlight of her trip.
Action Line: That’s life. Funny how we think we have the upper hand in negotiations. Oh, well. Life goes on. Sitting on the side of the bed, I had to laugh to myself reading the text: “Dad, are you awake?”
P.S. Here’s a letter from a reader who read an account of our trip from my father-in-law, Dick Young. He wrote about his own time at Hotel Lutetia.
Dick’s lead article brought back good memories. We stayed at Lutetia for 8 days in the mid-90s. Each morning for the first 3 days, there would be a knock on the door, and a waiter would bring in a long cart with breakfast items. After the 3rd day, I asked if that was included in our daily price and when he said ‘no’, I stopped the service (remember the days of tight budgets?).
We walked around a different part of Paris/visited a different museum every day, keeping track of every penny spent. By the end of our trip, we were chagrined that we spent slightly more every day!!”
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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