New Orient Hotel – Paris, France

Hotel Review

Paris, like many major European cities, can be fantastically expensive and hotel prices in the summer season are usually sky high.  Over the years, I’ve tried several different hotels and have rented studio apartments but continue to try and find new properties that are affordable and in convenient locations.  I used to stay at the Hotel du Ministere on the Rue de Surene, behind the Elysees Palais, as my “go to” hotel, but they went through a major renovation a year or two ago and went from a two-star property to a four-star one with the attendant increase in rates.

This summer I picked a new property near the Gare St. Lazare based on TripAdvisor reviews and price.  The New Orient Hotel is currently the #10 rated hotel in Paris on TripAdvisor.

It is about six blocks from the Gare St. Lazare and only about two blocks from the Villiers Metro stop.  A 15 minute walk takes you to the Place de Clichy on the edge of Montmarte and the Moulin Rouge.

The rooms are what you would expect from a two-star hotel in Paris.  While tiny, they were well-kept, the internet worked well, and the staff was always helpful.

Bottom line is that the hotel is a good value for the price and in a fairly convenient location especially with the proximity of the Metro.

Final Grade: A

Points and Dollars

Here is the key point for this hotel – 105 Euros a night in the middle of July!  That price is hard to beat in Paris.

Sheraton – Salzburg, Austria

Hotel Review

The Sheraton Salzburg could not be in a better location and the hotel was beautiful.  My room looked out over the Mirabell Gardens, famous as setting for much of the Do Re Mi song from The Sound of Music movie.  A two block walk takes you to the river Salzach and into old town where Mozart once lived and filled with small shops and tourist traps.  The staff was super and I wish I had been here more than one night.

The only possible criticism I could level at this property was the fairly slow wi-fi network.  Perhaps it was a temporary issue while I was there but was noticeable.

Final Grade: A

Points and Dollars

At the time of my booking, the best rate was $187 USD.  The standard point redemption was 12,000 points per night which would have yielded a redmption value of 1.56 cents per Starpoint.  Alternatively, I could book at “Cash & Points” award for 4,800 points plus $90 per night which pushes the redemption value up to a little over 2 cents per Starpoint.  Since I earned 632 Starpoints due to my Gold Amenity and spend on incidentals during my stay, it was as if I only redeemed 4,168 points which would take the redemption value to 2.3 cents per Starpoint. 

For my one night stay, my total bill was $281 with tax. As a result, I earned 632 Starpoints based on the following breakdown:

  • Base points = 41
  • Elite 50% bonus = 21
  • Gold Amenity = 250
  • SPG AMEX (2 points per dollar) = 320