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No Body Want Us

by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 3:43 PM

I am responsible for finding 11 rooms for 1 night (29 May) in the Auvergne. I cannot find a hotel, Auberge, chateau that will accept my group of friends who are retired Australians. I need to have them about 300 to 375 kms from Paris. Can anyone suggest a pleasant hotel etc? I have been trying for 3 weeks and find the hotels etc. just do not reply to my enquires. What am I doing wrong?

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32 Answers
  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    Well, what's wrong with next year? All I got to offer is English. I can't see that being a problem as there is a multitude of translation software on the web. I could have written in English but most hotels indicate they are multilingual

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by goodfish Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    Right Wal - English shouldn't be a problem. Hmmmmm.....
    For some odd reason maybe they don't book that far out?

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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Maryimelda Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Wal,have you tried one of the booking sites like bookings.com or venere.com.? My guess is that you have done, but I thought I would suggest it just on the offchance that you may not have. It could be that some of the hotels you are approaching do not have 11 rooms in them let alone 11 spare rooms. I know nothing about Auvergne as regards how big it is or even where it is, but I think you need to be approaching the bigger hotels such as Best Western, Ibis etc and whether there is such a thing in Auvergne, I don't know.

    Another thought I have had on this is that maybe some of the owners are not used to so many rooms being required in a block booking that are not being booked by a tour company or travel agent. They may fear that you are playing a practical joke on them and so choose to ignore you. Maybe you could approach a travel agent to do some searching for you. Or you may have to split the group up between more than one hotel.

    I've been watching you make these plans for quite some time now Wal, and I must say that I tip my hat to you. It's a huge job you've taken on, you have my greatest respect. Good luck to you.

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    Hi Kate, I have been using booking.com and I am into my 3rd consultant there. They keep coming back with apologies and stating they are waiting for hotels to confirm or advise that the hotel in question has declined.
    Thanks for your accolades, most encouraging, I do enjoy the challenge but the lack of response baffles me. FYI the Auvergne is a big region south of Paris and next to the Burgundy region. Think of Montlucon, Moulins and places like that.

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by johngayton Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    It is a very difficult booking for a hotel to take that far in advance as a one night stay effectively blocks off those eleven rooms for other potential bookings which could be more lucrative.

    If I was a hotel revenue manager I'd only take that booking if, and only if, you were willing to pay a very substantial, and non-refundable, deposit and I wouldn't be able to offer you any sort of reduction on the room rack rates.

    Single night stays are the least economic from a hotel's viewpoint.

    I think someone has already suggested it but what I'd do is contact the central bookings office of one of the larger groups and speak to one of their managers and see what sort of deal you can do.

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    We are willing to pay a substantial deposit. This is for a Sunday night which should be a quiet day as most week-enders have left for home. We do want 1/2 pension so it would be a lucrative reservation. I have to keep asking myself if this really is the "Hospitality" industry.

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by johngayton Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    I'd suggest a group such as Novotel but you would still need to speak either to the individual hotel's general manager or the head office revenue manager as lower level staff members will not be enabled to make that sort of decision.

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by alza Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    oh I see now about your search for a hotel in Auvergne.

    I agree with the general explanation suggested by others here. It's what I tried to say in your Piemonte forum, maybe not as clearly... I wasn't sure how to word things.

    I also commend you for your perseverance and wish you luck.

    By the way, Auvergne is a big region with many still remote areas. We need to know where you are hoping to stay, in a city, in the countryside, elsewhere... to even begin to think of possible suggestions.
    Auvergne in general is not yet as popular across the world as, say, Provence is or the Languedoc has become. So its hospitality infrastructure would reflect this.

    Not putting it down at all. In fact one dream would be to buy an old house in a village there. I got the idea from a special on Auvergne in French magazine, where Auvergne was described as the last place to find affordable rural houses. But this is just a fun dream, not a plan. :)

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    Thanks for the advice. I had hoped for a hotel that was not modern and all we were were numbers on doors. Aussies don't get much opportunity to experience the sense of history that Europe has and is not found in a plastic palace of a hotel such as Novotel or Accor which are abundant in Australia.

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Lou, I am trying to stay in a rural settings away from big cities like Vichy or even Stresa in Italy. You see the itinerary I have devised is called Beautiful Villages of France, Switzerland and Italy so I am trying hard to comply. If I cannot break through soon I will have to relent and maybe go to Chalon-sur-Saone and book into a hotel in that city, pity really even though Chalon-sur-Saone in the old quarter is lovely.

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by alza Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    I see. That helps a lot and I might offer just a few more ideas. I'm thinking out loud below, just to focus while I try to help a bit. :)

    The Auvergne is a historic province of France, yes, but for your purpose, it's an administrative region made up of 4 departments:
    L'Allier (3), Moulins main city
    Le Puy-de-Dôme (63), Clermont-Ferrand main city
    Le Cantal (15), Aurillac main city
    La Haute-Loire (43), Le Puy-en-Velay main city

    First two departments are closest to Paris.
    Moulins 267k and Clermont-Ferrand 348k

    (but Cantal is fantastic and Aurillac is only 439k from Paris so maybe you don't want to eliminate it too quickly. It would probably be the most traditional area too. A group of Australian visitors would not be numbers there, I'm certain of it.)

    I typed Moulins Tourisme and then clicked on "Se loger" (Accommodations) and got a list that may interest you, especially the first ones with 3 stars or so. Hotel Le Chalet, 6 k from Moulins, looks nice... and invites us to reserve online. But hard to believe they have as many rooms as they say.
    I tried to switch to English, it didn't work. But just sending the link to give you some idea:

    moulins-tourisme.com/fr/se-l...

    If that helps at all, I'll be glad to look up similar offers for smaller towns nearby (I stayed in Nevers and Moulins years ago and they seemed small to me then :))
    and for the same around Clermont-Ferrand (maybe Riom, Chatelguyon etc.)
    Just let me know.

    Also sending a map of all the departments of France by number, so you can picture the Auvergne departments in one quick look:

    encyclopedie-gratuite.fr/Def...

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    Thanks Lou, In fact we have been in and around the Cantal (Coarze) for the 3 nights prior to trying for accommodation in the Auvergne. This is at Auberge Le Fel at the hamlet of Le Fel so we will be driving from there to near Moulins or whatever we can find for the last night before Paris and the end of our trip.
    I will now look at those URLs and see what is possible. Usually they don't let groups book as they restrict rooms to be reserved to about 8. Appreciate your help.

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by alza Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    it's a pleasure, and only a few more possibilities to consider if convenient to your general plan.

    in l'Allier, Charoux is known as a beautiful village of France.

    In Puy-de-Dôme, Saint-Saturnin, Montpeyroux (yes!), Usson, Saint-Floret.

    In Cantal, Salers, Tournemire. But you may be trying to go North at that point.

    Good luck in your search and don't hesitate to ask again.

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    Lou I have already tried all that I would care to use in Moulins and not one reply. I have now written to the Splendid Hotel Chatelguyon in English and French so let's see if they respond. You might like to look at the site. splendid-resort.com/FR/Chamb...
    Wal

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 15, 2010 at 10:25 PM

    I tried l'Allier, Charoux and found most accommodation was gites or very small hotels, it looked lovely.

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  • globetrott's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by globetrott Online Now Jul 16, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    >>>
    That might make sense for big hotels, but for smaller hotels THIS might be the problem !
    Many countries in Europe have to pay their kitchen&serving-staff extra wages (mostly its double) for working on a sunday and for this reason many of them simply close their restaurant at the weekend.
    And toopen a restaurant with kitchen & servicestaff just for a groupf of 20 does not make sense !
    ---
    I think the best for you would be:
    explaine the situation and ask the hotel if they can take your group
    or if they know a way to split up that group into diff. small hotels in that village, same thing about restaurant, maybe they have a partnerhotel etc.

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 16, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    Seeing this is our last night on the road trip we would want to be together and enjoy a meal with each other.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by goodfish Online Now Jul 16, 2010 at 5:12 AM

    Some very good suggestions here!
    Wal, you just keep persevering - all your hard work will pay off!

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 16, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    Thanks Pedro, I have e-mailed
    Le Moulin des Gardelles Mozac let's see what happens even a negative response would be nice. Appreciate your help.

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Kakapo2 Online Now Jul 16, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    Pardon, la France... But if you do not want to use the Accor Hotel group with its online booking system, the best way to make a reservation in France is to make a phone call or send a fax. This has always been the most successful way for me, and I have made zillions of bookings there.

    What about Pedmar calling your preferred hotel if you remain unsuccessful with your efforts? Can't you do that? (Without asking you to become a hotel booking service agency for VT members... ;-)))

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by alza Online Now Jul 16, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    and I support the idea of using Skype to call. I did recently for 3 places in Italy, with great success.
    At first I was uncomfortable with calling so I prepared some emails with the help of titti, my friend here.
    But suddenly I had no desire to think about this further and not resolve it on the spot.

    I dialled with Skype and said "Pronto? Buon giorno? Sono Lou de Montreale, no no, Canada, no Sicilia! haha!"
    Everywhere I called, they were kind and helpful (3 Youth Hostels not on Hostelling International Online Reservations List)

    I got a bit emotional and overwhelmed at one point, the lady was just too sweet, and I got my dates mixed up... had to send off a correction email and clear things up. She emailed back right away to say not to worry, they had place for my right dates too.
    This was in the Castelli Romani, 15k fm Rome, I had the Hostel to myself! in the woods, pool, Manu Chao singing in the zen night, it was like a chalet in the wilderness.

    Same story for the small village of Tuscania, also in Lazio. The Hostel there is a Renaissance palazzo, the owners/managers are husband and wife. She manages and revamped the old palazzo, he's a promising young chef. Full dinner 15 Euros, stay 17 Euros. A real gem!
    Just to say that I got through because I used the phone. They have internet but don't seem to check it much.

    So go for Skype if you can, you won't regret it. At least you'll get an answer. In places like Auvergne, as said before, could be difficult to meet your needs but nothing's impossible.

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 17, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    Pedro, you are deliberately going on holidays to avoid me and my problems (( :
    Of course the hotel I emailed the other day did not reply and the Hotel Splendid in Chatelguyon had their e-mail address wrong so the mail I sent was returned.
    I will continue to try and break through and will use the phone nee Skype if necessary.

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Kakapo2 Online Now Jul 18, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    For "proper" phone calls you can also use calling cards, the rates often are even cheaper than calling a normal phone with Skype.

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 19, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    Hi Sissi, Well!!!! for reasons too complex and stupid to mention I have decided not to use Skype but to upgrade my Engin account as I get unlimited time to France for 20 cents a call, almost worth calling Pedro (( : I shall advise how my Aussie accent goes with the French hotels.

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Kakapo2 Online Now Jul 19, 2010 at 9:11 PM

    Come on - the Aussie accent is easier to understand than all the accents of the UK. When I first heard Scottish I thought those people had a mixture of Russian and Swiss heritage ;-)))

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 26, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    OK, I have followed your advice and reconstructed my phone account to include International calls. I called the Hotel Le Chalet Montegut Coulandon and chatted with Natalie who promised me they would respond on the following Monday with an offer. I should have known better, not even an e-mail to say they were now not interested. I am getting a bit disgruntled.

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by alza Online Now Jul 26, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    Wal,

    Ohmmmmmmm... repeat mantra... ohmmmmmmm...
    It's frustrating, I know. But your intl phone arrangement is a good first step, keep on trucking.

    I looked more closely at the site of Le Chalet and saw a tab for group accommodations. They say "groups are our specialty. Our "group service desk" will advise and guide you to your satisfaction." They say... :)

    You can telephone this group service desk at 04-70-44-44-36 or email. I clicked on link to email, it's not only Hotel Le Chalet, it's a regrouping of hotels in the region but I think since they're specialised in groups, they're worth a call or email, might direct you to other possibilities or help you further.

    email address then is groupes @pays-bourbon.com >>>

    State the hotel Le Chalet to them first, at Coulandon, Tél. 04-70-46-00-66, 28 rooms and 70 restaurant seats, and go from there.
    best of luck.

    and Nadine (sorry not sure of name now) may still call you. Or perhaps this group service desk will prompt her to get moving. All the best! :)

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 26, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    Thanks Lou, I have noted the groups number and will call tonight when it is business hours there. On the Chalet le Montegut's web site I could not find a group tab?? I have previously written to them with nil response ditto for Logis De France.

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by alza Online Now Jul 27, 2010 at 7:58 AM

    The link I used yesterday to Le Chalet is the link I gave previously on this post:

    moulins-tourisme.com/fr/se-l...

    This Tourism service for Moulins and region listed Le Chalet among others. It has both French and English flags in upper right but English did not work for me.
    It has various tabs in middle left margin, one being a tab for group accommodations.

    There's also the Tourism Office for the whole of Auvergne, suggested previously by pedmar I think. Worth a try :))

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  • Adagio1's Profile Photo

    Re: No Body Want Us

    by Adagio1 Online Now Jul 27, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    Hi Lou, I have tried and I have used and now I have some success, thanks to you. I contacted the Moulins tourist office and spoke to the helpful Pauline who then phoned the Chalet Le Montegut Coulandon who in turn "finally" responded with an email conditional offer. They will clarify their offer tomorrow, in the mean time they sent a yummy Menu Terroir. The Suprême de Pintarde à la Crème de Cassis et Foie Gras sounds fascinating. So let's hope this is the end of a very long struggle as it is the last night of our tour before we return to Paris and I wanted it to be special.

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