I have been planning two more trips that include Toulouse/Albi and Marseilles/Avignon in the next three months and except for the TLS airport hotel, there are no Marriotts as was true for so many of my trips last year. There are BW's, but I did some search for more exclusive hotels in the four locations, and Accor hotels (Sofitel, Novotel, Pullman, Ibis, Adagio) came up most often. So I called and asked if they'd comp me. They did for a full year as Platinum (highest) without requiring me to make any stays within a certain amount of time, even though I will.
I haven't figured out their point system yet because these will be my first stays, but here is what their A One card promises:
(Platinum - With 60 nights or 25,000 A|Club points). In practice it looks like many also offer breakfast and most offer free wifi, so at least those of you who stay frequently outside the biggest cities of Europe this could be an option.
- 100% A|Club points bonus for every stay
Exclusive benefits at Sofitel*, Pullman and MGallery hotels.
- Welcome drink and gift
- Room upgrade**
- Late check-out up to 4:00 pm**
- A room always available if you reserve at least 3 days before your arrival.
- A Thalassa sea & spa Institute beauty and treatment product when you stay at Sofitel Thalassa sea & spa
- A welcome gift for any stay of 10 nights or more at Adagio, plus late check-out**
- Dedicated customer service
I saw that two, but alas, Cannes is too far for regular computing from the libraries I will be working in in Marseille and Avignon. While I will almost always stay at Marriotts (that are not at airports) when I can, most of my travel is throughout Europe but NOT in the big cities. ACCOR has hotels in almost all (plus throughout the world, including the US), of varying levels of quality. By contrast, in France, Marriott has a lot of hotels in Paris, two on the Riviera, and one at TLS airport.
Now if they had the put the hotel in Montpeller or somewhere else in Provence but the Riviera, that might be another story...
Marriott are expanding in France (and other parts of Europe) this year.
In fact there is even a new one (albeit a Courtyard, not a full service Marriott) opening in Montpellier this month!
Perhaps this could be an option for you?
It is also worth noting that the Accor A-club benefits do not apply to their "entry level" brands, e.g. Etap.
They do offer a good choice in France though and have some very good deals, especially as I recall if you make your booking on a Wednesday irrespective of when you actually stay.
bazzap and Professor,
Thanks for the information on the Montpellier CY. Not too long ago, drove from Monte Carlo to Montpellier and really enjoyed the town. Now it will be even better with the CY.
If you drive North through the Loire Valley, you will cross the highest bridge in the world (Malliu) and then visit on charming city, Sancerre. Great wines in the area. Here are a few pictures. The second one, is a great place to stay or play golf on the outskirts of Montpelier. The final pictures are Sancerre, France.
I probably wouldn't be staying at Etap Hotels -- but more toward Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel and Mercure, all of which have numerous properties in most French (and other European cities). The Platinum status looks very good from what I've researched, but it has made me realize more than ever (due to their much greater conveniences to places I do research) that my most important benefit as a Marriott elite is the lounge, with breakfast and dinner snacks. Otherwise, why go out of the way and have to commute.
Interestingly one of my former students who is now a grad student doing his dissertation in France is living in Montpellier right now.
Don't think I have been to Avignon, is it worth a visit?
Drove one day from Marseilles to Grenoble, had lunch, then went on to Paris. It was a nice day! Marseilles, is another place that doesn't get the credit it deserves. The port area and the wonderful church on top of the huge hill were just wonderful.
Thanks for reminding me.
Avignon is one of my favorite places in France. It is a gorgeous and very historical city (the papacy fled Rome in 1305 and remained there till 1378 so there is an enormous papal palace along with the former Cardinals' residence nearby that is now an art museum. All overlook the Rhône and the Pont d'Avignon, which only goes halfway across after repeated efforts to rebuild it after floods were finally given it. It's famous as supposedly being the place where people sang the song On y danse during the time of the great plague.
The city itself is beautiful and you are only short distances from some of the great Roman ruins (and beautiful cities) such as Orange, Nîmes, Arles, and the best wine in the world at Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A short distance away is Mont Ventoux, famous in the history study but probably more so today for being one of the hardest climbs on the Tour de France.
In short, a five star recommendation!
Anyone going to Basel, Switzerland would be doing themselves a favor to check in at the Courtyard there. It rivals any full-service Marriott in the system. Lobby, rooms, restaurant are all well above anything provided in the States. The staff is amazingly friendly and helpful.