A weekend in Lille
What do you look for in a hotel for a weekend city break? For me, I am at the point in my life where a cheap and basic hotel doesn’t quite cut the mustard any more. If I need a base to explore a city for a couple of days then I am looking for a convenient location, and a room that I can relax in. On a recent visit to Lille, I found the perfect combination of those things, which is why I think that the Hotel Carlton Lille is the perfect hotel for a weekend break.
We had booked fairly spontaneous Eurostar tickets to Lille, after seeing some really good sale prices in the run up to Christmas. Once those were booked, it was time to start trawling through the hotel booking sites in search for a hotel that would tick all of the boxes. I didn’t really want to stay in a chain hotel, although the Ibis was coming up with some reasonable prices. Don’t get me wrong, the Ibis certainly has it’s place in my travel hotel bookings, but for a stay in a historical city centre I wanted somewhere with a touch of character.
We had visited Bruges in fairly recent times, and stayed in a gorgeous and centrally located hotel called the Grand Hotel Casselbergh. This was the style of hotel I was looking for, so after some searching I arrived at the Hotel Carlton Lille website. The site was lovely, the images of the rooms looked perfect and the location was ideal for our trip. As if by magic a great deal appeared on the Secret Escapes, so we went ahead and booked.
Where is the Hotel Carlton Lille?
The hotel is located in the centre of the historic city, directly on the Place du Théâtre. A fifteen minute walk from the Gare de Lille Europe International railway station, it’s ideal if you are exploring by foot. Directly across from the Opéra de Lille and around the corner from the Grand Place, the hotel which opened in the 1920’s is housed in a gorgeous curved and domed building. It is one of the most stunning buildings in the area.
The entrance to the hotel is located on the Rue Pierre Mauroy to the side of the building. Considering the central location, the area around the hotel never felt too crowded when we were there. From the entrance it’s mere steps to host of boulangeries, restaurants, bars and cafes in the local area.
The rooms at the Hotel Carlton Lille
The four star hotel features a selection of rooms at varying prices. These fall into the categories of Classic Rooms, Privilege Rooms, Junior Suite and the fabulous Coupole Suite.
The Classic Rooms are the most cost effective of the rooms. Decorated elegantly in an art deco and Louis XV style, these rooms are approximately 20sqm in size, featuring double or twin beds, a marble bathroom with shower as well as flat screen TV, free internet, tea & coffee making facilities and air conditioning.
The Privilege Rooms are the next grade up. These rooms are larger at 25sqm and have all the features of the Classic Room, with some added touches. The decoration is tasteful and subtle, but with touches of luxury.
The Junior Suites are located to the front (curved section) of the hotel and feature views across to the Place du Théâtre. At approximately 35sqm, the suites are considerably larger, offering more luxury and featuring a lounge area as well as high end products and bathrobes.
This gorgeous duplex suite is 100sqm in size and located to the top of the building within the dome, offering panoramic views of the surrounding areas through the windows located in the dome. If you are looking to treat yourself, this is the suite you need to book!
During our stay, we booked a Privilege Room which was located on the third floor of the building. The room was large, beautifully decorated and really comfortable.
The bathroom in our room featured a corner bath unit with a low level shower. This was my only gripe with the room. I would expect every room in a luxury four star hotel to have a stand up shower, even if it is over the bath. I’m definitely more of a shower person than a bath person so this didn’t really work out for me. Checking reviews and traveller photos, I understand this is not the case for all rooms at the hotel but if this was going to be a potential issue, it would be worth making a request with the hotel when booking. The WC was located separately to the bathroom, and located off the main corridor from the entrance to the room.
A large double door opening up to a Juliet Balcony provided great views across to the beautiful architecture on the opposite side of the street. It was lovely to open up these doors in the morning despite the December weather, to catch a waft of freshly baked breads from the boulangerie down the street.
Facilities at the Hotel Carlton Lille
The hotel entrance opens to a small but comfortable lobby area. With a reception desk to the left hand side, a comfortable seating area to the right and a small bar area tucked away to the rear, it makes good use of a small space. Dark tones on the walls, with gold detail and a mix of classic and contemporary furnishings create an air of luxury. Reception staff were efficient. We arrived prior to check in and our room was available early, which was useful to drop off our luggage so we could start to explore straight away. Always a bonus.
Saint James’ Bar
The Saint James’ Bar located at the rear of the lobby is compact but comfortable. It’s a great spot to grab a quick drink before heading out for the evening, or that final drink before bed. With an extensive whisky menu, as well as beers, wines, cocktails and spirits, there is something for everyone.
There were a mix of leather tub chairs and bar stools, and the drinks were served with complimentary snacks. The bar wasn’t manned full time while we there, instead the reception staff multi-tasked, which was fine in such a small space.
Breakfast was included in the room rate and was served in the breakfast lounge on the first floor. The offering was a typical European buffet option with plenty of meats, cheese, a variety of breads and pastry products. There was also a selection of typical hot breakfast options – bacon, sausage, eggs etc. The breakfast lounge was large and spacious with views out across the Place du Théâtre.
Whilst there isn’t a hotel restaurant on site, the building does house a restaurant (Hippopotamus) which is located next to the entrance. The good thing about the hotel location, is that you don’t have to walk far to reach a number of great dining options. My top tip here is to walk ten minutes to the Rue de Gand. Here you can choose from a large selections of Estaminets for a cosy atmosphere and authentic, local food.
The remainder of the hotel is tastefully decorated. The lift lobby areas, stairwells and corridors leading to the rooms all feature the same level of detail as the lobby area. Contemporary and classic lighting features, period style furniture all mixed together to create an eye catching environment.
I really enjoyed my time at the Hotel Carlton Lille. For a touch of luxury and comfort during a stay in Lille, I would thoroughly recommend this hotel. For further details, check out the hotel website. If you are looking for inspiration on things to do while you are visiting the beautiful city of Lille, please go and check out my previous post about what we got up to during our weekend stay here.
What do you look for in a hotel for a city break?
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