Q&A: Château Les Crayères?

Tina L. contacted me with the following question:

Hi Paul,

Thank you for running this blog, I’ve found it very useful.   Doing a bit of research for a journalist friend on the so called “best luxury” hotel in France.   Found that both T+L and CNT both awarded Chateau Les Creveres in Rheims, as best hotel in France.   In your experience, what would you advise?   I haven’t been there myself, so can’t say.   I live on the French Riviera so am more familiar with star-frequented hotels here.   Also, do you know of any 5-Star hotel in France as the highest star rating is only 4-Star Luxury, but I have heard of one that is 5-Star.   I found the French tourism board site rather useless, so perhaps you might help shed some light?!

Many thanks for your sharing your knowledge!

Tina L.

Hi Tina

First off, glad you’re enjoying the blog.   Thank you!   Now then,  moving on to the question…

Château Les CrayèresJust to clarify, there are two hotels with similar names here.   Firstly, there is the Château Les Crayères in Reims which got the highest score on the latest T+L 500.   It did not, however,  top the Condé Nast 2007 Gold List.   That accolade went instead to the  Château de la Chèvre d’Or  which is  in a village called Èze, much further south, on the Côte d’Azur, between Nice and Monaco.   Unfortunately, I haven’t stayed at either so I can’t really comment.   If anyone reading this has stayed at either, please post here and tell us more  by clicking on the comments.

When it comes to hotel classification systems for different countries, it’s always prudent to be wary.   (Dubai and Milan each have a “7-star” hotel and yet no country’s hotel classification system goes beyond 5 stars, so  they are  essentially  self-appointed ratings!)   I don’t know enough about the French classification system but I have a suspicion that it only goes up to 4 stars.   (I am pretty sure Paris’ renowned  Hôtel de Crillon has ‘quatre étoiles’ [four stars] for instance.) Internet sites often assign star ratings to hotels which are not an accurate reflection of the country’s tourist board system, sometimes in order to standarize between countries, so this does not mean to say you will not find French hotels online that appear to have five stars even though the classification system, I suspect, only goes up to four.   All very confusing, I’m afraid!

Paul

Comments (10)

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  1. Same happens when a 5 star hotel considers itself as a 5 star Grand Luxe, rated as *****GL. The limit so far is 5 stars, so it belongs to the hotel´s discretion to mention themselves as grand luxe, 6 or 7 stars…I think there should be some agreements on this matter. Many hotels raise their prices for being Grand Luxe when it´s not something officially recognized. At least, not in Spain…

  2. gje says:

    Some reliable sources of mine comment that the food of Chateau de la Chevre D’or is excellent! They stay in the environment and do not sleep there. Actually now you mention it, one of those sources owes me a lunch or dinner there, which reminds me:-)

  3. Tina L says:

    Many thanks to everyone’s input. Please see CNT’s Gold List 2007 listing Les Creveres in Rheims, as best hotel in France, at 97.8 percentile (highest in the country), which was higher than Chevre d’Or at 94…

    http://www.concierge.com/bestof/goldlist/2007/regions/europe/france/?s1=8&s2=6&s3=0

    But do correct me again if I’ve misread….

    Actually, I know Chateau Chevre d’Or since it’s in my area and do know about it’s high reputation… however, just had first hand horror stories of a group who took over the entire hotel for a few days but the service flaws were worse than 3 star. I had dinner there myself at it’s famous restaurant as well and found both the food and service luke warm. So besides the view and gimmicks like donkeys for luggage vallet in the summer, there’s not much to it France is far behind Asia in terms of service, in my opinion.

    Many thanks for your input again!

    Tina

  4. Paul Johnson says:

    Apologies, Tina… I stand corrected. I made the mistake of assuming that the order of the list was also a reflection of the order of the scores. I don’t know why they don’t present the information that way; it would seem more logical.

    Returning to the earlier discussion, you might find this link helpful:

    http://gofrance.about.com/od/lodging/a/hotelratings.htm

    Unfortunately the link to the “clear explanation” of the star system in that article does not appear to work.

    I did wade through http://www.franceguide.com trying to get confirmation of my suspicion that the French classification system only goes up to 4 stars but, as you point out, it’s not the most useful site and I don’t think there’s a clear explanation there either.

    Another site that might be helpful (your French will be far better than mine to assess this!) is http://www.qualite-tourisme.gouv.fr

    Regards

    Paul

  5. Tina L says:

    Thank you, Paul, again for your input, and thanks to your website reminding me to use T+L & CNT awards for a suggestion of France’s best hotel, as none of France’s official websites offered any kind of listing. Not even a list of it’s top hotels. Writing them, even to their office in New York, thinking that they’d be more efficient in France, but still no reply. The biggest complaint to France’s tourism IS service and this inquiry has easily shown this flaw in addition to my own experience living here. So now, I’ll just have to go down to my local tourism office and put them to the test… must likely to no avail, we’ll see. Believe me, it’s largely a question of attitude rather than/in additional to language ones.

    Sincerely,

    Tina L

  6. Paul Johnson says:

    Hi again, Tina… let us know how you get on at the tourism office!

    In addition to the CNT and T+L tables, you might be interested to know the WTA (World Travel Award) winners for France.

    These were:

    France’s Leading Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel George V
    France’s Leading Business Hotel: InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel
    France’s Leading Resort: Hotel du Palais Biarritz
    France’s Leading Golf Resort: Evian Royal Resort
    France’s Leading Spa Resort: Trianon Palace & Spa
    France’s Leading Ski Resort: Byblos des Neiges Courchevel
    France’s Leading Castle Hotel: Chateau des Briottieres

    I stayed at the Evian Royal Palace at the Evian Royal Resort (which also, incidentally, picked up the award as ‘Europe’s Leading Golf Resort’) with my family a few months ago, and had a fabulous time. You can read the review here.

    Château Les Crayères was among the nominees as France’s leading hotel, but then so too was Majestic Barriere Cannes, Hotel Le Bristol Paris, Hotel de Crillon Paris, Hotel Ritz Paris, Four Seasons Hotel George V (the eventual winner), Hotel Meurice, Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris, InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel and Martinez Hotel, so it was quite a lengthy “short”-list!

    Is your friend writing an article on this subject? If so, please let us see it once it’s completed!

    All the best

    Paul

  7. Tina L says:

    Thank you again, Paul, for compiling this very useful list.

    Finally heard from Maison de France (national tourism office of France) rep office in NY. As suspected, they don’t have such a list, so it’s for sure my local tourism office won’t neither. Not surprising at all, typical French sense of service.

    My journalist friend is writing for a Chinese magazine and simply wanted to feature “the best” of France. Not sure if your readers read Chinese. Due to the newness of journalism in China and the lack of information, my friend will rely on my search. So since France is somewhat similar… she’ll only get as far as I get which thanks to English media, we’ll have some kind of 3rd party selection.

    Many thanks for all your help! Will definitely add your site in My Favorites for future luxury travel inquires as I am starting a consulting company on luxury travel and event management targeting Chinese clientele to the French Riviera and nearby destinations.

    Tina L

  8. Paul Johnson says:

    Hi Tina

    I studied Mandarin for a couple of years but it was all in pin-yin… I never progressed to learning the characters, and I remember little of it nowadays.

    I suppose whatever ‘best’ list your friend comes up with can’t really be disputed as it all comes down to personal opinion and preference at the end of the day.

    Paul

  9. Tina L says:

    Hi Paul,

    Great to know you have interest in Chinese.

    It seems the magazine will list Martinez’s most expensive suite in the world (30,000 Euros per night). I will place a link if the story will be on-line too.

    Just had a read of your submission criteria and thought you might be interested in Shanghai. About 4 years ago before moving to the French Riviera, I worked as marketing communications manager for the Grand Hyatt in Shanghai. They welcome media stays for reviews. I’ve seen on CNT, they were ranked quite high for design and others… can’t remember what else. The marcom mgr now is Sandy Liu. She knows me well. You can mention my referral. If you can show who your readers are, particularly the press, she might really interested to have you over for a review.

    Sincerely,

    Tina

  10. Paul Johnson says:

    Hi Tina

    Thank you for that referral. I shall follow it up. I don’t suppose you have an email address for Sandy? If so, if you enter it via the contact form, that’d be great.

    And yes, do please post a link to the article when/if it goes online.

    With best wishes

    Paul

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