We're a family of five, bound for Paris. We need hotel help!
That Eloise had it easy. Top floor digs at the Plaza Hotel and room service – charge it please! – for just her and Nanny. (Well, for Weenie the dog and Skipperdee the turtle, too.) But any big family knows whether you're in New York, Paris or Rome, hotel living gets tricky when your demographics bump up past two double beds.
There are options, however, in the City of Light: Hotels with adjoining or "communicating" rooms (don't you love how some words translate?) would suit a party of five, says Élodie Berta from the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau. Specifically she suggests trying one of the Novotel (novotel.com) properties as the international chain features rooms including double beds and sofabeds. Or check out the Mercure Gare Montparnasse (mercure.com), which, along with its bright contemporary décor, has a few communicating options, says Berta. If you can call it a holiday with a kitchen sink in sight, consider renting an apartment. The Paris Tourism site – parisinfo.com – lists pages of agencies such as MyCityFlat (123-mycityflat.com) and Parisian Home (parisianhome.com) that are all members of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau. And then there are apartment-hotels like the Citadines (citadines.com), which offer pads that offer space to lay out (double beds, sofabeds and request for a cot), as well as hotel-like services from Wi-Fi to daily breakfast, says Berta.
You might look into fast-growing international rental favourites, such as Airbnb.com and Wimdu.com, says Valerie Rains, the features editor of Budget Travel (budgettravel.com).
"The [Airbnb] website is especially user-friendly, and they have protections in place for both renters and homeowners, including a 24-hour customer service hotline," she says.
"Wimdu.com, like Airbnb, has a clean, modern interface and lots of listings, with a slightly stronger inventory of European spaces." Both are easy to navigate and include user-reviews to help you judge the accommodation.
"We also like Homeaway.com, particularly for large-group rentals," says Rains. "Whatever service you choose, just make sure to read the fine print of any listing before booking: Sometimes sleeps five means one bed, a futon, and an air mattress, and there may be additional fees, for cleaning, say, that you may not have anticipated."