Once there, it's hard to believe you are only a 25 minute train ride from central Paris. The small spa town of Enghien-les-Bains is set around the little Lac d'Enghien, its quaint size offering an enjoyable and non-taxing splash around in one of the hire paddle-boats available. The west side offers close up views of some beautiful houses and their gardens. To the east, the early 20th century built casino d'Enghien stands proudly on the shore boxed in its glass atrium, which is actually very tastefully done.
The Hotel de Lac on the south east side, though quite modern, was built in a classic French beach/lake side town style architecture which fits in rather authentically by the lake. Using a Groupon deal we didn't expect a lake view but it seems they went out of their way to to stick us out the back right next to a large, noisy and smelly exhaust vent, when, by my reckoning, it seemed a very quiet weekend for them. As it was only two nights we didn't make a fuss knowing we'd spend most of our time in the spa pools or by the lake, which we did happily. (Have to say, getting a bit sick of this 2nd class treatment larger hotels employ when using Groupon or similar. They don't have to give you the absolutely worst room every time, do they?) Anyway, the rooms were fairly standard, clean, comfortable enough and well kept during our stay, but nothing special. The spa pool area was great when the occasional spa aerobics class didn't occupy a good piece of it and when the sun shone on the outdoor tanning area which included ample sun lounges. We didn't hang out at the hotel much so can't comment on the service with authority, but just like anywhere else one desk person was pretty smarmy and another absolutely delightful.
We ate dinner at the Cafe de la Lac restaurant next door which was fine but nothing amazing for the price, though the service was very good. The waiters definitely had more patience than me, dodging runaway children with arms completely full, smiling the whole time. We were tired and made the mistake of eating too early, so large families groups ruined any chance of a romantic dinner, though the restaurant had the possibility if dining a bit later in the evening.
Our stay included entrance to the Casino and though not gambling fans, we took the opportunity to explore the old building. All the noisy pokey machines were on a floor of their own upstairs, so downstairs was more Casino Royale with roulette and card tables mostly, coming close to my romantic vision of an old world European casino. It's well worth a look if you feel inclined.
When the sun broke we paddled around the lake, which was a highlight of our weekend. Essentially, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and went home feeling refreshed and invigorated after only a couple of days.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Have a most enjoyable break : Classic decor using warm shades of colour: the 134 rooms and 7 suites all overlook the lake or park and include luxury hotel services. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Accor Enghien Les Bains