Many French hotels are shabby, and they stink

It's not just Americans who complain about the French. So do the French.

The Committee for Modernisation of the French Hotel Trade says 25% of French hotels are in a state of disrepair and 24% of customers complain of rude or incompetent service.

The most frequent customer complaint about hotel rooms is noise and lack of sound insulation, followed by unpleasant smells and poor hygiene, according to the report by the industry committee.

"One-quarter of classified French hotels are aging or dilapidated, and one-third is nearing the end of their span. Only one hotel in six is considered beyond reproach by customers,” the report stated.

The committee blamed falling profit margins, changing customer habits, badly-paid staff and conservative management for the poor state of the country's 18,000 officially-classified hotels, and called for their urgent overhaul.

It said 45% of hotel workers are paid only minimum wage. “As a result 24 per cent of hotel clients and 38 per cent of restaurant clients complain of the chronic incompetence of staff, or of a disagreeable or impersonal welcome,” the committee said.

As for management, “even if generalisations are unreasonable, the profession suffers from a nervous traditionalism and a deep-rooted conservatism. The trade has reproduced over generations the same patterns of behaviour, and the same mistakes,” the committee said.

According to the report, France has lost 1,500 hotels over the past decade. Because of new laws on fire safety and access for the handicapped, it is likely to lose a similar number in the next five years.

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