We were expecting way more from one of France's finest hotels, one of the original 7 French "palaces" (in 2012 they are already 12 of them) but Hotel du Palais failed to deliver and, as far as we are concerend, would never consider it again, least to say recommend to our family or best friends.
The general issue is the service, which is the ONE thing you’d expect a palace should really nail. The staff was helpful but it lacks of means to do its outmost. This resulted in a series of annoying little details and problems accumulating over our stay, which in the end made us wonder what happened for this palace to lost its “a” and become a mere “place”:
1) Bathroom: no conditioner. Even after we've asked for it, the cleaning lady told us the hotel did not offer conditioner, only shampoo and soap. Why did the hotel management decide not to offer such items after having opted for Hermes's Eau d'Orange Verte bathroom product range? Did they want to save money or are we really the first customers asking for a conditioner? It is also worth mentioning as that on each of our two mornings we found on one of the white towels given afresh a couple of little pieces of grey fabric. Though innocuous, their mysterious origins were the early symptoms of a general sense of carelessness.
2) TV sets: no DVD player. We were in a suite, with 2 TV's, none of them with a DVD player. Again you really wonder why... True, we did not ask whether we could get a device so my daughter could watch her DVD as we preferred her to swim in the outside pool, speaking of which...
3) At the outside swimming pool, you'd better be a rich Russian oligarch if you want to have a chance to sun bath at a "cabaña". When I called back in February to book our 2-day July stay, I enquired if I could rent a cabaña by the swimming pool. A bit surprised by my question, the lady told me that all cabañas were already all booked a long time ago and there was very little chance indeed that one would free up by our stay. However, she offered to put us on a waiting list, which I declined. Once at the hotel, I understood the 2 privileges offered by the famous cabañas:
(a) At the cabaña, you can get your back tanned, not just your belly! Whereas the cabañas have fully reclining long chairs, when you sun-bath in the "normal" section of the pool, you can only lie on your back, face and belly to the sun. Of course, you can show a bit of creativity and gently throw your chair's mattress flat on the pavement ... but is that the kind of move you’d expect from customers of a palace?
(b) If you have deep pockets, persistency pays. As my wife and I speak Russian, we enjoyed the theatre played by a rich Russian who wanted to get his position in this highly contested part of the pool. On day 1, despite speaking no French and no English, he tried to rent an already booked though unused cabaña, “speaking” with his hands, shoulders, feet ... without success. But on day 2, his persistence seemed to have paid: he was sitting in the cabaña. As they say in French "deux poids, deux mesures"?
(4) Inside swimming pool: this place offers stunning architecture ... and little more. The pool has a little outside private terrace, adorning by the pool, accessible through two independent doors on the doorway of which await two reclining long chairs. I asked the lady on the premises if I may sun bath on these chairs. She confirmed I could ... but she did not offer to pull them out. I had to do that, lay the towels down on the mattress, and after my sun bath, pull the chairs back in. Again, is such a lack of service what you'd expect from a "palace"?
(5) Diner at the restaurant Hippocampe. Even though this was the night of July 14th, hence entailing a premium price for our 3-course menu, none of us three will remember that dinner. The sauce and cream in which the langoustines of the starter floated were much too sweet and the whole lot too copious. On the contrary, the main course and the dessert were refined and exquisite. In any case, this dinner was definitely not worth the amount charged.
All in all, this place has not earned our votes and if it was not for the efforts of its staff, we would have given it a one star.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC