I'll be taking my 1st RS Tour next month (Eastern France). My husband and I will already be in Reims, and we are planning to arrive at the RS hotel around 4pm. The tour starts at 5pm. Are we supposed to check into the hotel? Or just wait in the lobby with our luggage until the tour starts? Sorry if this is a dumb question! D:
You can check in when you arrive. You just tell the front desk you are with the Rick Steves tour and they will provide the keys to your room.
The tours usually start in the hotel breakfast room or wherever there’s enough room to all meet together, so you won’t want to bring suitcases into that space.
For my recent RS tour, our guide wanted us to come to the lobby sometime in the 30 minutes before the group meeting to show her our CDC vaccine cards.
Great, thank you both!
Jean, how do the guides typically communicate with you? Via email?
You definitely want to check in before the 5 PM tour meeting time. Sometimes the meeting ends and there may only be a few minutes before leaving on a neighborhood walk or heading out for a group meal.
Since you will be in the area, I'd probably go over first thing in the AM and leave your bags there before you go about your day. Then check in around 3 to get settled.
"how do the guides typically communicate with you? Via email?"
They typically will leave a daily itinerary at or near the front desk. I've heard of some guides using What'sApp but my last guide was not a tech person and did not even know what ApplePay was so it was just via the daily itinerary. If there were changes she would tell the group before we went our separate ways from a group activity.
When you get to the hotel that first day the guide should have a daily itinerary posted so check to see if you need to meet ahead of time per the above comments.
I would also recommend that you read the RS posting in the lobby. It will have instructions on time and place to meet. We missed this on our first tour and they started the meeting 30 mins early so we were late. :)
Excellent, this is so helpful. Thank you all! :D
415sar, definitely head to the tour hotel early. Since you'll already be in Reims, this shouldn't be a problem. You'll probably need to check out of your pre-tour hotel anyway, so just head on to the tour hotel, which will be glad to store your bags, if your room is not yet ready.
I second this suggestion, because on the last 2 RSE tours we were on, the guide changed the first day's schedule; in both cases we needed to be there earlier than we had been told.
By the way, this is a wonderful tour. It's one that I would cheerfully take again. Have a wonderful time. Oh, and be sure to visit the Surrender Museum in your free time. And check to see if the Palais du Tau is open again; it was one of the highlights of our trip. One more: if the light show at the Cathedral is available, go.
Golly, I guess we really do need to go back to Reims!
We took that tour last May and had a fabulous time. Enjoy! PS there are no dumb questions on this forum (no matter how terse a tiny minority of the responders may be.)
"PS there are no dumb questions on this forum (no matter how terse a tiny minority of the responders may be.)
My word....isn't that the truth! Not sure why but yikes on cranky folks elsewhere on the forum (not on this thread!!)
Jane....you just made me add Reims to my never-ending list of things to see!
And Jane and sueamill - good to know the guide started early so 415sar can be ready to look around for the notice. It's usually either pinned up somewhere or in a plastic type frame at the registration desk.
Hi, I agree with the responses you received after your question to me. I think initially my first notice about arriving early was from the tour itinerary that was listed in my account. Let me check - I might still be able to access it.
Update: it’s not on the hotel list & arrival instructions nor the itinerary. So it must have been an email from the guide before the tour. I was in England & Wales traveling independently with my husband at that time, so I don’t have that email anymore - just remember that I knew it several days ahead of time.
Have a great time!
It is a good idea to take a photo of the schedule for the next day each evening. The guide will tell you where it will be at the 1st meeting, but it is usually near the front reception desk.
Go to the tour hotel as soon as you check out if your other lodgings in Reims. You can leave your luggage there & your room may be ready. I recall that the hotel offered a free glass of champagne on check in. This is a wonderful tour. Enjoy.
StormyB, wait; what? Free champagne? Ummm... not when we took the tour. Different hotel, perhaps. Don't get 415sar's hopes up!
Although a number of the guides on RSE tours do provide refreshments at the first meeting, and the refreshments often (not always!) include adult beverages. On one tour, there were for some reason, only 9 tour members: 7 adults and 2 youngsters (9 and 12, if I recall correctly.) At the first meeting, our guide provided 2 bottles of juice; several bottles of water, both still and sparkling; and at least 3 bottles of wine. There may have been beer, as well.
That was, of course, extraordinary, but there are almost always refreshments.
Oh, take your tour roster to that meeting! Folks will be introducing themselves, and it's a good chance to start matching names and faces. And the itinerary: take that, as well. Some guides will give a brief rundown of the entire tour, and having a copy of the itinerary will help make sense of it. A notebook and writing implements are handy, as well.
Thanks again, everyone who answered! You are all such an indispensable wealth of knowledge :)
I will definitely head there after checking out of my pre-tour hotel. The starting point for this particular tour is the Hotel Continental Reims. Here's to hoping for a Champagne welcome! If not, I'll certainly drink as much as I can in the days leading up to the tour.
I can't believe it's almost here!! (Pinch me!)
my last guide was not a tech person and did not even know what ApplePay was
Ha ha ha, that made me laugh!
Jane, I'm planning a trip to France next year and Reims has been on my radar, but your comments just pushed it into the must-see zone. Thanks!
415sar, have a wonderful trip!
I agree that you should head to the tour hotel way before 4 p.m. Depending on your plans for that morning, it may work to check out of your pre-tour hotel by their deadline (typically 11-ish), head to the tour hotel soon after and drop off bags (and settle in room if is ready), take a picture of the tour schedule information (it may also include the guide's contact info), and then head out for lunch or what ever else you can fit in before meeting the group. I'd also suggest mentally preparing for introductions - I always freeze up when introducing myself in front of a group of people and say something weird under pressure, especially when jet lagged :)
You will find the hotel registration in the room to the left as you enter the hotel. It was just a little desk (no counter and no person there when we walked in so a little confusing). The free champagne might have been an option to us having our room cleaned daily (4 nights). Our guide, Chris, posted the schedules near the elevators in that hotel. Have fun!
Oh, and be sure to visit the Surrender Museum in your free time.
We visited there on May 7th, so there was an outdoor ceremony commemorating this important date. Both our fathers were in WWII (one injured and the other a POW), so this was a very powerful place for us.
I checked my notes, and we also stayed at the Continental; no champagne, though.
mnannie, my Dad was too young for WWII, but his older brother was with Patton in Germany. And Stan's dad was in the Pacific theater.
415sar, I don't know if you've checked out any trip reports, but here's the one I filed 4 years ago:
I assume you tried to get reservations at the tour hotel for your stay before the tour starts. If not, you might want to give it a try as it will prevent having to move. When we were there, there iwas a restaurant across from the Grand Hôtel Continental named Le Grande Café. It is not affiliated with the hotel, but the food was very good and we ate there twice. The mussels were super. Using google maps street view may allow you to walk around the area and locate it and the hotel before you arrive.
@Jane, thank you for the recommendations! The light show is going on Saturday & Sunday nights and we will definitely attend :) It looks amazing. Also, yes, I absolutely devoured every detail of your trip report! Thank you for taking the time to share it!
@CL Yes, I agree that going to the tour hotel before 4pm is wise. We will head over early in the AM and leave our bags before our daily activities. Great point about the introductions! I feel like I am totally boring and can never think of anything to say, so thanks for the heads up! :)
@mnannie thank you for the description of the check in area!
@TC Yes, we looked at the same hotel but the one we are staying at before the tour was nearly $100 cheaper, and only a few blocks away. I don't mind moving because this is part of a 6 week trip and between this tour and our Best of Switzerland tour, I am planning to stay nimble and barely unpack! Thank you for the restaurant recommendation, I will definitely check that out! :)
Again, thank you to everyone who responded. This forum is the best!