Please sign in to post.

Paris Hotel Relais Bosquet photos: rat poison, black mold, offered us $ to take down reviews

This is my first post here, but given that Relais Bosquet is recommended by Rick Steves and we had booked there based on that, I wanted to pass on our experience. We stayed Sept of 2019. Photos of below issues on TripAdvisor. They also admitted to these issues on their tripadvisor response. They called the rat poison their "anti mouse" device... Seriously, go look.

The room was scuffed up badly. Heavy scratches over most light switches, on the bed headboard, marks all over the walls, etc.

There was black mold impregnating the shower grout and seal.

The venting in the bathroom was non-existent.

There was rat poison under the bed!

Tiny mini-fridge stocked with over-priced junk food and sodas they were re-selling for a huge amount.

No screens on windows despite no balcony, mosquitos everywhere.

Shower was exposed to bathroom, with no door to cover, spray got everywhere. Tub plug was flush and could not be pulled without ripping your nails.

The bathtub fixtures were in the middle of the tub and made using the shower dangerous (they would cut you if you moved while showering) or sitting in the bathtub while it was filling painful (hot water pouring right on your crotch).

While the air conditioner (heat pump air handler) was nice, after a few days and we smelled terrible fumes and had issues breathing at night, we opened it up and saw that the filter had NEVER, EVER been cleaned. Disgusting we were breathing that the whole time.

Room cleaning service was inconsistent. Some days we would not get clean towels, some days we did not get wash cloths, some days we did not get new toilet paper. Got tired of asking for these things or having to get toilet paper rolls from the bathroom in the lobby.

Some of the people at the desk were rude and acted like it was a huge inconvenience to leave and retrieve our electronic keys with them, despite that being their strange policy!

...about the key policy. Requiring guests to leave keys at the front desk is an old tradition that stems from old hotels that had heavy and unique physical keys they did not want to lose. With electronic key cards this should not be an issue.
Also, as the key cards look all the same it's easy to mix them up. 3 times I was handed the wrong key card for another room, which scared me as they could have easily let someone else into our room.
Also, they store the key cards out in the open by the front desk, and many times throughout the day the desk is empty and anyone from the street could walk in and take any key card they wished. Unacceptable.
Also, because of lines at the desk, the desk being empty or the desk staff arrogantly correcting us on the french vocabulary of saying our room number, I estimate we lost about a whole hour of time during our stay in Paris just dropping off and getting a cheap electronic key card back.
On occasion, one of our party would stay in the room while the other took a walk around the neighborhood. The staff seemed unable to comprehend that someone was still in the room and would get nasty and demand the person leaving to turn over the key card.
What is also frightening about this key card nonsense is that even though we had booked a long stay, halfway through we came back one day and they had thought we already checked out. Luckily they did not throw away our bags or our clothes but the room was made up as if there were new guests checking in and the experience was disturbing.

Several times coming back to the hotel there were staff literally standing in the front doorway and smoking. Not only was this extremely disgusting and uncomfortable, it was also likely illegal given the rules on how far from doorways smokers are supposed to be, even in Paris. When I asked them to move or put out their cigarette they got nasty with me and made some guttural noises.

After posting this on other websites the hotel tried emailing us and offering us money to take down the reviews...

Posted by
7109 posts

Thank you for posting your experience. Sounds really awful. I hope it didn’t sour you on Paris. You may get some blowback here, but i appreciate your post.

I’ve stayed in many great hotels and apts in Paris, but in 2017 i rented an apt in Paris that was disgusting. We refused to stay and went to a hotel. I posted about it here so others wouldn’t experience what we did and, despite being a long time poster here, i was crucified by a few posters on this forum.
So, just a warning...

Posted by
11389 posts

Thank you for posting .
Some issues are just what I consider normal differences ( open showers and faucets in middle of tub is not unusual and millions of people manage fine with those ) , but the rat poison is disgusting and you are correct about the key issue - one should not have to hand in a card key , that would annoy me also .

The black mould is just mildew and while shows lack of cleanliness and proper maintenance it’s not same as real black mold . This place certainly sounds very disappointing!

Posted by
7153 posts

Stories that begin with “this is my first post, but...” are often just unbelievable.

Posted by
7109 posts

I read your review on TA, and a lot of the other negative reviews of this hotel. The many excuses and some rude responses from the owner and staff is what bothered me the most.

Posted by
5307 posts

This isn’t central to your post or your experience, but FYI:

No screens on windows

This is just how things are in Paris. I can’t think of a single residential or commercial building I have been in that has had screens on the windows.

Posted by
11389 posts

Ok be seen your review now and photos .

Sorry other than the key card issue and the rat trap , I don’t think your other complains are that fair .

No black mold - it’s simply a wee bit of mildew
One squished mosquito is no big deal - it happens
The tub and shower look absolutely fine to me .
All hotels over prices stuff in mini bar ( seriously this surprises you ?)
And the coffee set up is simply a courtesy - I usually bring my own tea bags and buy a small milk to keep in mini fridge

I just think you may have had very high expectations- but other than the key card and rat trap - you’re reaching a bit . The rat trap would bother me the most - but at least they are trying to address an issue - Paris is an old city and yes rodents can be an issue

Posted by
11389 posts

Btw - I would agree some of the management responses come off as abrupt or arrogant - I’m going to chalk it up to poor English as well as the “ customer is not always right “ attitude I’ve seen myself to exist in many places in Europe , although Paris is likely one of the worst for it .

Personally I would hesitate to ever stay there just based on that ( and their tendency to screw up reservations )

Posted by
2902 posts

I can only say that I had a very positive experience when I stayed at this hotel and would not hesitate to stay there again. I encountered no problems. My room was clean and the service excellent.

I am sorry the poster had a negative experience.

Posted by
1531 posts

Send your feedback to:

Rick Steves.com/home/forms/Guidebook Feedback Form
And submit your comments so Rick Steves and his staff know about this situation.

Posted by
13 posts

It wasn't just a rat trap, it was poison, I can't edit the TI review to be more precise. It was literally right under out pillows. Look at the picture,it says poison on the box, read their admission and response. Look up what the dangers of inhaling rat poison fumes in close proximity for days on end are. Putting it right beneath a pillow can injure an adult with a compromised immune and/or respiratory system or a child/infant. There is no situation or content that mitigates what they did here. Who here would volunteer to sleep with their heads on that? What if a child crawling on the floor stuck that in their mouth?

I disagree about the mildew, I think it was mold, I live in the PacNW, I know the difference. I was also there and I could smell it.

Due to length restrictions I had to shorten the review here, but another issue was they forgot the exact length of our stay and because they kept a hold of our keys every time they left they almost checked us out early and rented our room to someone else. There was more to that that I didn't have the space to write, but they put a "new guest" welcome card down and our key did not work when we returned that day.

They wanted to offer us a partial refund to delete the reviews and photos, not sure the exact amount but I sent the emails to TI staff since it violates TI rules as it constitutes a bribe.

To the person who thinks this is fake, go look at the photos and read their management response and admission. I wish RS would let us post photos here.

I will be contacting RS staff to see if they will remove this hotel from their recommended hotels.

Posted by
141 posts

Just fyi, if an air filter is dirty, yes it's perhaps time for a change (before it becomes clogged), but the dirt you see on it is what was trapped by the filter, before it got into the air you were breathing. That is how filters work. The filters in your photos are just dusty, not really that bad.
Also, that is a mouse bait station, not a Rat Trap, and it does not emit toxic fumes. They are standard-issue used by many pest control professionals. Trying to make it sound like it was "literally" under your pillow, when in fact it was under the bed is perhaps a touch hyperbolic, not unlike some parts of your review on Tripadvisor and your post here.

Posted by
13 posts

Given the noises, smells and some of the areas on the filter screen, it was not operating at max efficiency and was likely clogged.

Posted by
11416 posts

Sorry for your less-than-wonderful experience. As you've noted that you'd booked a "long stay" did you politely request a change of room early in that stay so that the management might have had the opportunity to make some things more comfortable for you?

Not to give "blowback" but to make some gentle observations for other travelers new to Europe?

Mice, like bedbugs can be a problem at the nicest of accommodations. It's good that the hotel cares enough to try and keep any problems under control. You could have removed the device if it bothered you.

A request to return keycards to the desk is not necessarily unusual or outdated; we've experienced the same at some nice hotels. They've probably had too many guest losing their cards.

Shower was exposed to bathroom, with no door to cover,

Your photo shows a tub/shower with a 1/2 door that's been standard at a good number of nice European hotels we've stayed at. Not sure how water managed to "spray everywhere" with the shower head shown but regardless, this type of arrangement is not uncommon and hasn't been an issue for us. Also not sure how you could cut yourself on the tub fixtures shown, and I don't see more than a little mildew on the door seal; also not unusual even in nice accommodations.

Some days we would not get clean towels, some days we did not get
wash cloths,

I'm surprised that they provided washcloths at all! They've never been provided in our European hotels, and that's standard abroad as well. More hotels these days, for environmental reasons, do not change out towels daily unless requested. Same with bedding. This may have been the policy at this hotel and it was overlooked in the room info book?

No screens on windows despite no balcony, mosquitos everywhere

Again, lack of window screens is far more common abroad than not. I don't believe we've ever had them on windows that would open. Yes, we've had to keep them shut here and there to manage the mozzies (Florence comes to mind.)

There were staff literally standing in the front doorway and smoking

Welcome to Europe. While smoking indoors in restaurants and public buildings has largely been banned, outdoors is still very much open season. Their country; their customs, and showing/voicing disgust isn't going to be taken kindly.

Tiny mini-fridge stocked with over-priced junk food and sodas they
were re-selling for a huge amount.

LOL. When was the last time you looked at the prices of minifridge items in U.S hotels? Again, nothing out of the ordinary there. Also, your T.A. comment "meager amenities" comment: tea, coffee etc. amounts shown with the kettle are standard. Oooh, and candy! It's nice that you were provided with a kettle as those are rare in, say, Italian hotels.

Also from your TA review:

....to turn on the lights (you have to put the key card into a special
slot by the door, this is an energy saving measure that is tacky
beyond belief in a high priced hotel.

Sorry but again, this is not uncommon nor "tacky". Utilities in European countries we've visited are quite expensive, more than we're used to, so energy-saving methods helps keep the tariffs down plus is just good environmental practice.

Lastly:

Also, the breakfasts were $16 euro, and frankly were a rip-off when
for half of that you could get breakfasts at nearby cafes. Look at the
pictures.

Breakfast was 15 euro pp at our nice Paris hotel 10 years ago and didn't look much different (we ate elsewhere.) Pictures aside, the hotel's website lists an OK number of items available, including eggs and sausages. It's right up there with breakfasts offered at big-city U.S hotels which don't include a morning meal in the tariff, and is more generous than some. A NYC Marriott we've stayed at is running $25 pp for a buffet with just cereal, fruit, breads, cheese, coffee and juice.

Posted by
13 posts

Kathy, they are a higher end hotel and they charge a premium. This was not a hostel or even a medium range hotel, it was supposed to be top class and we spent several thousand to stay there a week and a half. We had saved up for this trip for years.

The half shower partition did get water everywhere, it wasn't enough.

The tub fixtures had rough edges and were literally in the middle of where you needed to stand for a shower or sit while taking a bath.

The reason the lack of screens were a big deal was the AC didn't function well and had a clogged air filter.

In France they are not supposed to be IN the doorway smoking, but a number of feet away from the door, not sure of the exact number but a museum official confirmed this when we were waiting at the Louvre. We never saw anyone smoking IN doorways anywhere else except at our hotel. The law is the law, and like I said this was a top end establishment with very high prices.

Your comments about the amenities also fall short given the expense. This was not a youth hostel. Same goes for their penny pinching and confusing electricity setup.

I disagree about the breakfasts and given the early morning firealarm from a staff member burning toast and ruining all the guests' sleep and leaving the alarm running for a while without turning it off, they should probably just stop doing breakfast.

When we asked about another room they told us the other ones were "worse." If we had found the rat poison earlier in our stay (we found it on the last day while we were packing and checking to make sure we had everything) we would have just checked out right away and written off the money. No amount of money is worth sleeping on that.

Posted by
2902 posts

You simply could have checked out at any point. About 1/2 of the things you are complaining about, (no screens, key card in slot for electricity, expensive breakfast) are standard in Europe.

I am very sorry this hotel stay was not up to your expectations, but I have to wonder what your agenda is here. You seem to be exaggerating and extremely emotionally involved in damaging this hotel.

Did you enjoy the rest of your trip?

Posted by
13 posts

Carol, would you pay top dollar to sleep on rat poison and with black mold?

Posted by
11416 posts

I realize that there were some issues that were out of the ordinary. Others of them were not....and we've stayed in some very nice hotels with high price tags both domestically and abroad. Where European hotels are concerned, there can be some differences that are helpful for new travelers to be aware of so that they're not surprised, thus my comments. :O)

I would be very cautious not to disparage environmental conservation/energy-saving efforts encountered in European host countries as miserly "penny pinching." Environmental consciousness is generally much more widespread and viewed more positively there than here (good for them) so I doubt you'll see any sympathy there.

Anyway, as I hope most of your waking hours were spent outside of your room, how did you enjoy lovely Paris otherwise?

Posted by
568 posts

Its not a hostel/bargin hotel but not top dollar either. Listed £127 for tonight. Also agree, energy saving is a plus point not a negative.

Posted by
568 posts

What currancy are you quoting? Most expensive room i can see tonight is £165. Top dollar in Paris would be £500+ per night.
So as i said not cheap but deffinately not top dollar

Posted by
13 posts

Euros. I selected the dates we were there last year for this coming year. Apples to apples. You can see from the link, it should have the dates embedded.

For nearly 4 thousand Euros for just a week and a half we expect not to be sleeping on rat poison and with black mold. Is that too much to ask?

Posted by
9388 posts

MITraveler,
I am sorry you had such a poor experience at “our” hotel in Paris. My husband and I have been staying there for several years (at least 5 times now) and have always been pleased with service, cleanliness, breakfast. (There was one desk clerk last spring who was a bit abrupt and cavalier in his attitude, but we managed him.) it is not an expensive hotel by Paris standards and as such we do not expect luxury but simply comfortable accommodations. We will stay there again in October.

In many years of hotel experiences in Europe, we have learned to roll with customs such as half shower doors and leaving keys at the desk. We secure our valuables as best we can and go about our day. If the bathroom gets wet, the staff cleans it up. C’est la vie.

Posted by
568 posts

Sorry no dates embeded. You keep loosing me, €300 a night, a week and a half, so 10 nights so where does nearly €4000 come from? Have i missed something?

Posted by
13 posts

Caro, it was 12 nights. And with their "fees" it was closer to 4k.

Laurel next time you are there look under the bed for a gross surprise.

Posted by
16581 posts

The requirement to turn in the electronic key card is so you don't leave it in the slot with air conditioning running (and possibly devices charging) all day. I'm used to the policy and don't usually mind it, except when I check into a room late on a summer afternoon and the a/c has been off all day. It would be nice to leave the room cooling when I head out for a quick dinner. I agree that the cards should be well-controlled, but unfortunately it's common in smaller hotels to walk up to an unattended front desk and see keys of whatever type in room slots.

Posted by
683 posts

MITraveler,
You are getting "blowback" because you are exaggerating the situation a bit, your expectations were out of line, and you seem unfamiliar about what is standard in a 3 star tourist hotel.

A 12 night stay for 2 people in their superior room in June is about Euro 3,400 which is about $3700. It would be very tempting to expect a 5 star hotel for that amount of money. But it is still a 3 star tourist hotel. The amenities that they offer are appropriate for a 3 star hotel in Paris. I looked at 3 star hotels in good locations in New York City and the prices were similar, maybe a little less.

As others mentioned, you don't get window screens in European cities or at least I have never seen one. The bathrooms are quirky. You have to put your key in a slot to get the electricity to work. Most of the 3 star hotels I looked at don't have kettles or mini fridges in the rooms at all. Cities (and country sides) have rodents. You didn't see any which is great. Parisians exist in a different culture than you do. Did you get off on the wrong foot by not greeting them properly (Bonjour Monsieur)?

I was recently scouring for a Paris hotel to stay in and did not choose this hotel specifically due to the price. There are other similar hotels without kettles and mini fridges that cost less.

I think if you would have posted that you were disappointed because your expectations weren't met you would have been better received on this forum. Please make sure you visit here or another travel forum and get advice and information that you can use before your next trip. Then, your expectations will more closely match what you get.

So now the question is....what do you want to happen? Do you want the hotel owners to suffer? Do you want their business to be damaged in some way? Do you want a monetary reimbursement of some kind? There are 1900 Excellent votes on Tripadvisor to 15 terrible votes. I don't think your review is going to be enough to get Rick Steves to stop recommending the hotel.

Posted by
506 posts

At this point, I would cut my losses, take the compensation and remove the posts. I actually think it’s nice that they are willing to compensate you. I agree that some of their replies are not as polite as they could be, but it is what it is. As terrible as this experience was for you, there are just too many good reviews for the few negative reviews to make a difference. If the majority of the reviews were negative, you would have more ground to stand on. I would take the compensation and chalk it up as a lesson learned.

The rodent issue reminds me of the one and only time I visited Paris as a college student in 2000. A group of us were eating at a restaurant and there was a ledge that ran around the ceiling covered with greenery. A mouse kept darting in and out and running around the ledge! As college students, we got a huge kick out of it and continued to eat. Now I’m not quite so sure I would find it as funny! I do remember the restaurant staff trying to distract us and tell us that there was no mouse- made for an entertaining experience!! 🐭

Posted by
6011 posts

Listed £127 for tonight.

Caro, where do you see that rate? I looked at dates in Sept 2020 (OP was there in Sept 2019) and rates are about $300 (US) per night so 12 nights would be about $3600 (US) plus whatever fees they mention. I think that would be about £230/night.

Posted by
568 posts

As i said that was the price for tonight on booking.com. Didnt know when OP visited

Posted by
6011 posts

The label says POISON. Why should poison be in any guest room anywhere?

Probably to control any possible pests. I'd rather have that under my bed than have mice in my bed. The box clearly says it's a mouse bait station and I don't see how likely it would be that a child would crawl under the bed and try to put that in their mouth.

Posted by
6011 posts

As i said that was the price for tonight on booking.com. Didnt know when OP visited

I understand. I also get a rate like that for tonight. Unfortunately hotel rates in Paris in September are usually about double what they would be in January. The OP stated in the post that they stayed in Sept 2019.

Posted by
13 posts

Nancy, I have stayed in dozens of hotels of varying quality in many EU countries and never, ever encountered any kind of pest poison in them.

Posted by
568 posts

Nancy missed that bit!
But still not top dollar hotel they are £500+ now. As some one else said its the right rate for a 3 star hotel.

Posted by
6011 posts

Nancy, I have stayed in dozens of hotels of varying quality in many EU countries and never, ever encountered any kind of pest poison in them.

I can't say that I have either, and I stay in 1 and 2 star budget hotels when in Europe, not the higher end ones. But, then again, I probably would not have looked under the bed in the first place - not something I do as a regular practice.

Posted by
7109 posts

Ok, now you’ve lost me MI. I have to agree with many posters here. If you had just listed mold and rat bait trap under the bed, had stayed concise and unemotional, you’d get more support.
But all your other complaints are unreasonable. Everything else you complain about are the norm in Europe, whether you like it or not. This is just an average hotel, not a posh one. And you are way too emotional in your writing. This is where you overplay your hand and lose people.

Posted by
13 posts

Nancy, we don't look under beds usually either except for our last day when we're checking to see if we dropped glasses or cellphone cords when packing up.

I wish we had looked sooner.

To those claiming my other complaints are unreasonable, fine, whatever. Focus on the poison and the mold. You are defending the indefensible.

Posted by
11416 posts

.never, ever encountered any kind of pest poison in them.

But you don't know what sorts of pest control chemicals those other rooms may have been sprayed/treated with, either. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there?

That bait/trap wasn't "under your pillows." it was under the bed. Different deal.

Posted by
23253 posts

Why do you continue to call it rat poison. It is a mouse bait box. Says so in English in your photo.

You didn't reply how much they offered you in compensation.

Posted by
13 posts

It says poison right on there, 2nd from the top on the right. It's bait and poison.

They never specified how much their offer was.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you for the discussion. It looks like the point has been made so we are locking the thread.