Accor launched the upmarket Pullman brand in 2007 with 13 hotels. There are now 89 Pullman properties in 24 countries, and the French company plans to double this to between 150 and 200 hotels by 2020, increasing its presence in Western Europe and Asia-Pacific.
In addition, Accor is in the process of revamping all five of its Pullman hotels in Paris at a combined cost of 100 million euros. Pullman Paris Bercy originally opened in the late 1990s and is the second of the five to have been fully refurbished to individual specifications, with the remaining three due to be completed by mid-2014.
WHAT'S IT LIKE?
The ten-storey, glass-fronted structure sits amid offices, a multiplex cinema and other hotels, overlooking the River Seine.
A large revolving door takes you into an open-plan foyer that is so big it takes a few seconds to find your bearings. On the right of this contemporary space is an escalator descending to a terrace garden, while directly ahead is the Point Bar with an adjacent lounge. Three reception tables are on the left.
The hotel is filled with furniture that harks back to the 1960s – there is even a bubble chair near the lifts – but it doesn't feel too retro. Gritty prints of photographer Robert van der Hilst's work an be found around the hotel, including in my room, enlivening the place. I did, however, find the red and black décor a bit overbearing.
WHERE IS IT?
In the suburb of Bercy in the 12th arrondissement, across a busy road that runs adjacent to the River Seine. The hotel sits around the corner from the Cour St-Emilion metro station on Line 14 and is 16km from Orly airport and 30km from Charles de Gaulle. Gare du Nord is a 20-minute drive away.
Rooms start from 27 sqm, with the entry-level category being Superior. Standard amenities include a 42-inch flatscreen TV, robes, an iron and ironing board, tea and coffee facilities, and free wifi, though I found that if you didn’t use your device for a few minutes, you had to go through the log-in process again and again.
I stayed in a Deluxe room, which was also 27 sqm but had upgraded furniture, including an olive green couch, and extra amenities such as a Bose iDock, a Nespresso machine and free soft drinks in the fridge.
My queen bed was comfortable, though the memory foam pillows were too hard for my liking. However, the curtains completely blocked out light so I had a good night’s sleep.
There was also an egg-shaped desk with built-in EU and UK plug sockets, a green faux-leather office chair and a reading lamp. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlooked an office block and, to the right, the Seine. It was comfortable and reasonably spacious, although I found the in-room décor a little bland.
The bathroom had a rainshower and a handheld showerhead, and Roger and Gallet's Bois d'Orange bath and products. On arrival I noticed that the sink's plug lever wasn't working so the water wouldn't drain. I called reception and a maintenance worker arrived ten minutes later and fixed it.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
I had a buffet breakfast at the hotel's all-day restaurant, L'Esprit du 12ème, which is located on the ground floor and seats 120 people. The food was pretty decent and the coffee suitably strong – an à la carte breakfast can also be served in your room.
Le Point Bar is the first thing you see on entering the hotel – it is smart and stylish, offering a wide range of wines and cocktails.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
The hotel has 1,800 sqm of meeting space including a 300-seat amphitheatre in the basement, a 150 sqm room that can be sub-divided into three spaces on the ground floor, and seven smaller rooms for between five and 20 people in each.
The 24-hour gym is located on the lower ground floor. It has Technogym weight-lifting and running machines, and a sauna.
Given its location next to a number of office blocks in south-east Paris, this smart hotel attracts a mainly corporate clientele. Friendly and helpful staff made my stay a pleasant one.
- HOW MANY ROOMS? 396 – 291 Superior, 85 Deluxe, nine Junior suites, ten Duplex suites and the Paris suite.
- HIGHLIGHTS The huge open-plan foyer that extends downstairs to an outdoor terrace garden, and service with a smile.
- PRICE Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in February started from £186 for a Superior room.
- CONTACT Pullman Paris Bercy, 1 rue de Libourne; tel +33 144 673 400; pullmanhotels.com