When I’m planning a quick city break the location of our hotel is always top of my list. If you’re only spending a few days in a city, then being within easy distance of the top attractions is helpful and can help save on travelling time whilst you’re there! However, often the best locations come at a price, and that is where you have to start compromising as you plan your trip.
Lille is one of those walkable cities. Providing you are relatively active (by that I mean you’re happy to walk 40 minutes to a given location) then you don’t even need to comprehend the buses and metro services. However, if you get stuck, have sore feet or just don’t fancy a walk in the rain then there’s plenty of public transport on offer as well as taxis and bikes to hire.
The central squares are your best bet for location, and the Hotel Carlton is where I chose for our brief stop in Lille. You may well know of the Hotel Carlton for its rather infamous days as a venue for sordid romps by prominent French politicians. However, these days it is a rather fancy hotel offering great views of Lille from its dozens of rooms. Normally a hotel this upmarket would be well out of my price range but due to some excellent deals on LastMinute.com
Hotel Carlton offers a simple luxury, with elegant decor and rooms of a decent size. If, like me, you judge sophistication by the height of the ceiling, then Hotel Carlton does very well. The period building offers a shift back in time, as well as the usual older building issues such as creaky floors! For a hotel that bills itself as being on the higher end of accommodation, I was expecting a powerful hairdryer but was greeted with one of those box on the wall jobs. Other than a little wear and tear, the hotel was in good shape and had a comfortable bed, great views of the surrounding areas. If you’re expecting opulence and to live like Louis XIV for the weekend then Hotel Carlton may disappoint, but it is by far one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed in and offers great, affordable deals at times.
The location is the real selling point of Hotel Carlton, as it is within easy walking distance of a lot of the main attractions of Lille and including the opera house, theatre, main shopping districts, zoo, citadel and various museums. Only a ten to fifteen minute walk from the EuraLille station and shopping centre, you can be off the Eurostar and in your comfortable hotel room in no time, with no worries about booking a taxi to return in good time on your departure day. Every second counts on a short city break, so cutting down on travel time is a top priority for me where possible!
Adding breakfast on to your accommodation can be pretty pricey so I opted for a room only deal, going by my guide book’s advice that PAUL offers affordable breakfast and hot chocolates only a stone’s throw from the front door. Being in the centre of town means there are plenty of restaurants to try out at lunchtimes and evenings, and failing that you can always grab some snacks in the local CarreFour and keep them in the mini bar fridge in your room. Cheeky, I know, but it can be incredibly helpful!
So when it’s location, location, location, Hotel Carlton wins on all points. The cost is likely to vary hugely, but if you can get a room only deal at a good price then I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at Hotel Carlton again, enjoying a pastry filled breakfast and PAUL each morning and a dinner at the delicious Le Pot Beaujolais of an evening.