Review by James Dunford Wood, published 8th May 2011.
Regular visitors to Paris will be well used to using the metro. And it is true that getting around on the trains is quick and simple - far quicker that London, for example, being a smaller city. However, staying in a hotel like the St Vincent you start to really appreciate the fact that if you plan your trip properly, you can pretty much walk everywhere you might want to go, certainly over a weekend.
The St Vincent is one of three properties in a row on the charming Rue Rue Pré aux Clercs in the heart of the St Germain district. A ten minute walk from St Germain metro station, itself just a 15 minute direct ride from the Gare du Nord for those coming to Paris on the Eurostar, this hotel is perfectly positioned for a lazy weekend. Surrounded by art galleries, small boutiques and antiques shops, it's a short stroll to the river, the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay and even Notre Dame is no more than 20 minutes away by foot. Hotels in central Paris can be noisy - not so the St Vincent. The road is quiet, and the hotel is far enough away from the junction with the busier Boulevard Saint-Germain that you hear practically no road noise at all.
The rooms are a decent size at between 18 and 22 square metres, larger than many in this area of St Germain, and they are cleverly put together, with modern, stylish decor, flat screen TVs, power shower bathrooms and, with some rooms, delightlful small sit out balconies. Breakfast can be taken in the room for no extra charge. Downstairs there is a small cosy sitting room next to the reception, which doubles as a breakfast room - however, it's romantic to have it delivered to the room, (for no extra charge) and sit out on your small balcony or in bed.
All in all this hotel is a delightful find - with rates between 220 and 280 Euros it is affordable for this level of comfort and the central position, and many people who baulk at the high rates of the 'Palace hotels' stay here - all you end up missing are the grand public spaces. It's ideal too for single women travellers - discreet, and no hassle, and no ghastly bar to get picked up in...
The St Vincent's two sister hotels, the St Thomas Aquinas and the Lenox, are adjoining. The Thomas Aquinas is a more basic two star, not so luxurious or designer-oriented, and lacking the essential air conditioning for the hot summer months, but if you want to save yourself 50 -80 euros a night it is worth considering in the cooler months. It's also got the feel of an old fashioned Parisian garret hotel, if you're that sort of romantic. On the corner of the junction is the Lenox - again, slightly cheaper, but with air conditioning. The ground floor bar is buzzier, so for singles in search of action you may have more luck here, and there is a local clientele patronising the bar, but the rooms are slightly noisier, especially on the Rue Jacob side, and the room decor not quite as stylish. But again, considering its position, extremely good value.
The Manager tells me they have alot of Australian clientele - a sure sign of value.