In the first of several new initiatives, Eurostar are now selling hotel rooms in their key destinations. Sarah Marshall finds out more.

When it began operation in 1994, the Eurostar train service revolutionised cross-Channel travel, making Paris feasible even as a day trip.

And the recent launch of the long-awaited direct Amsterdam route earlier this year, means another major European city is even better connected to London.

Seeking further innovation, the company has introduced a new service, promising to make short city breaks even more stress-free; it's now possible for customers to book their hotel and train tickets at the same time.

How does it work?

A specially curated selection of hotels has been made for Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges and Lille, covering a range of price points. All are classed as 'high-quality, city-centre' properties, meaning they are reliably located and of a decent standard.

By designing a collection of hotels to match the reputation of their brand, Eurostar hopes to eliminate any risk of disappointment.

To help streamline the booking process, properties have also been grouped by theme; choose from culture and cuisine to relaxation, celebration, budget and family.

"We've created the new platform to engage with our passengers on more than just their journey, bringing our destinations to life with a range of accommodation and experiences that can be selected to suit their individual needs, to create the ideal trip," says Roberto Abbondio, Eurostar managing director of new digital business.

What are the hotels like?

Set in a series of 17th century canal houses, Amsterdam's elegant Pulitzer hotel blends boutique design with historical restoration. Serving bistro dishes in hip surroundings, the Jansz restaurant has earned the hotel a place in Eurostar's foodie portfolio.

In Paris, the grand dame Hotel de la Tremoille exudes refined charm, with its cosy rooms, all different in layout and design. Worn wooden doors, narrow corridors and antique tapestries create a warm, inviting atmosphere. A short walk from the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees, it's ideally located too.

There are also options to match all budgets. In Paris, for example, it's possible to book either top-end property Le Meurice or more economical stays with the Ibis and Novotel brands.

Are the prices competitive?

Eurostar has negotiated preferred rates with its partners and quotes fares which include return train travel. Packages for an overnight stay in Paris, with return train travel for two adults, cost from around £200; in Amsterdam, the equivalent costs from around £175.

So, what's next?

Abbondio says this is the first stage in a series of new developments.

He promises: "We will be forging long-term partnerships with the best our cities have to offer, from the top attractions to more bespoke 'bijou' adventures."

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