HOTEL LE BRISTOL (*****L): Ava Gardner, Marylin Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Robert de Niro and Céline Dion once pushed the revolving door of the elegant 112th, rue du Faubourg St Honoré building: stepping inside the most confidential palace hotel in Paris. The whiter shade of pale marble floor, the Gobelin tapestries covering the immaculate walls made out of Ile de France white stone (that kind which was used to build the Sacred Heart basilica, in Montmartre), the Arabian Nights carpets bought for extravagant prices and substituted by newer one once a year, and even the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries paintings formerly exhibited in the Louvre, don't catch the attention as much as the cyclopean bunches of flowers artistically arranged on period tables all around.
Year after year, we have been lucky enough to experience different categories of rooms during our repeated stays. One of our favourite remains the suite # 440-441. A bunch of flowers shaped like a globe matched the aristocratic Louis XVth gueridon supporting it. Six people could comfortably seat on the deep and smooth period armchairs and sofa: welcoming outside visitors in the Bristol is a real pleasure. A warm natural light was invading the apartment; which we enjoyed quite a lot, as many other palace hotels in Paris tend to have darker rooms: just like the Ritz, for instance, which is the direct concurrent of the Bristol. Such a brightness made us cheerful at first sight. We actually felt like in a privately owned property. The bathroom, made out of Carrara marble, was palatial. Mostly all the 199 rooms and 52 suites have been recently refurbished, with a similar one. Bathrooms at the Bristol are now the largest in Paris. The newest rooms can be found in the very recent extension: opened in October 2009, it spreads out over a surface area of nearly 3,250 sq. m, comprising 21 rooms, five luxury suites and the trendy "114 Faubourg" restaurant, designed by Maja Oetker, owner of the hotel since 1978. Those looking for a Eiffel Tower view, high ceilings and generous exposition to the daylight, should straightly reserve their room in this section. Note that, though the Faubourg St Honoré is quite animated -which also means noisy- we could sleep like a baby: the windows are 100% sound proofed with a "zero tolerance" technology... making you feel like miles away from Paris.
We could inspect the largest apartments: starting with the superlative Penthouse, which looks like a private mansion. Its living room was formerly equipped with a direct lift, recently replaced by... a fireplace. World famous artists DO love it. This used to be Céline Dion's favourite. Don't expect, nevertheless, to find here anything plush and flashy; the room is simply luxurious and cosy. If decorum is your style, then rather book the Presidential and Vice-Presidential suites. Huge (300sq m), they have been designed for state presidents and Hollywood movie stars. Those very special and distinctive travellers, like Robert de Niro, would never like to stay somewhere else than here: enjoying the panorama over the Sacred Heart, the Eiffel Tower, and the roofs of an idealized Vincente Minelli like Paris they scarcely visit. They rather like organising appointments or resting in their suite, where they also have lunch; avoiding the smart crowd invading day and night the splendid Epicure restaurant, managed by world famous Michelin Three Star Chef Eric Frechon. Which explains why the Bristol provides the best room service in town.
The hotel gets a particular advantage compared to its direct competitors (Crillon, Meurice, Plaza Athénée...): a pool. A splendid, unique, and most enjoyable one, indeed! Sharing the 6th floor with a fitness club equipped the Californian way, it had been designed by Dr Pinnau. A famous name among the jet-society, as he used to be the architect for Niarchos and Onassis yachts. On the freshly restaured frescoes offering the swimmer a seaside panorama, you may recognise the Grand-Hotel du Cap d'Antibes (Eden Roc), under the same ownership.
Should we add that, as a matter of fact, the service is anticipating any normal or eccentric requirement from part of the most pernickety guest. The rate for a double deluxe room starting from EUR 750, and from EUR 900 for a Junior Suite (EUR 6000 / 8000 for a Presidential Suite), one could decently be treated like a king. Maybe one tip: the best valued room, where we also stayed and that we found remarkable, is #736. Part of the Penthouse Suite, it has a double private terrace with a great panoramic view... When the Penthouse Suite is not sold out, this great attic room can be available for booking at the price applied for a double deluxe!
One of the leading palace hotels in Paris. As a paradox, much more famous around the world than in France. Book far in advance if you want to enjoy this sanctuary of the French perfect taste.HOTEL LE BRISTOL: 112, rue du Faubourg St Honoré, 75008 Paris
PHONE: +331 53434300 FACSIMILE: +331 53434301
INTERCONTINENTAL PARIS - LE GRAND (*****L): Affectionately referred as «Le Grand Hotel», the largest and most impressive palace hotel in Paris celebrates more than 150 years of history. Inaugurated on May 5, 1862 by Empress Eugenie, spouse of Napoleon the III, to the fanfare of an orchestra led by Offenbach, this was the largest hotel in the world. A gem in the heart of the entirely new district of the Opera House, finalizing Baron Haussman's works to transform the old, unhealthy Paris into the «City of Lights». Kings, queens, maharajahs and sultans from all over the world have stayed in that caravanserai: from last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia and King Edward VII of England up to Queen Rania of Jordan. Victor Hugo hosted banquets at the hotel, and Emile Zola had his decadent and tragic heroine, Nana, die in a flowered room at the fourth floor. More than ever a famous and fashionable hotel, the InterContinental Paris Le Grand attracts lots of statesmen, fashion designers, international movie stars and directors who eventually used it as a dreamed shooting location (Polanki's «Frantic», Robert Altman’s «Prêt-à-Porter», etc.).
Successively revamped in 2003 and 2020 (its pharaonic beautification should end in December 2020), it retained the elements and amazing atmosphere of its immortal glory. The rooms design has been reestablished in the Second Empire style. Many parts of the actual hotel kept their original decor. The Salon Opéra, for instance: the most sought after ballroom in Paris, known all around the world thanks to the high-fashion shows, is well worth the visit after its 2013 amazing renovation. Another landmark, the legendary Café de la Paix, which is a precious part of the Grand Hôtel, is a treasure of Empire-style architecture, where the ceiling, columns and wall painting have been carefully restored between April and December 2020.
When some illustrious Parisian palace-hotels live out of their former glory -the neighboring Ritz is a an example on how a legend can go downhill- the Grand Hôtel, a modern product in 1862, still gets it all in 2020 to seduce nostalgic and geek travellers alike. Shouldn't it be for the pay-per-use Internet in the rooms (but free-of-charge in all public areas and Club Lounge), we would say that our stay was 99% faultless; which is rare enough to be mentioned.
All 458 rooms and 85 suites are stunning: including those oriented to the inner courtyards and monumental glass-roofed bar-restaurant «La Verrière», though we prefer a street view at the 5th floor with a panorama over Galeries Lafayettes and Montmartre. We stayed in room #5320. A Junior Suite which, with its plush living room separated from the ritzy bedroom by a long corridor, gave us the impression that we had been upgraded to a Senior Suite. The bedding, rich fabric, personal decoration, sumptuous bathroom with Anne Semonin exclusive toiletry, compete in term of luxury with Hotel de Crillon and Plaza Athénée, indeed. All rooms are equipped with the latest technologies: high-tech air-conditioning system, up to 100 international TV channels and VOD on large LCD screens, dual telephone line, high-speed WiFi, and Nespresso machine. Our favourite room: the"Honeymoon Suite", sumptuously decorated, equipped with a private sauna, overlooking the Opera House and the whole capital city.
We would nevertheless recommend anybody visiting the French capital city for the first time, or on a romantic trip, to straightly book into one of the rooms with a dramatic view on the Opera House. The higher the better: the InterContinental Club rooms are splendid, comparable with what one could ever expect from a more expensive palace-hotel in Paris. Well worth the EUR 150 extra charge to the room rate (it is complimentary for those with a IHG Club membership, or guests booking into some higher categories of suites), it comes with an unexpected bonus which we used very much: the classy Club Lounge, actually unique in Paris where no palace offers this treatment, is open to the guest with IHG Club privilege. The Club Lounge opens early in the morning, serving a fine breakfast which we enjoyed the first day only; alternating, the day after, with the traditional, so classy Parisian -and Japanese!- breakfast experience provided in style by Le Café de la Paix. The Club Lounge serves yummy, top quality hot and cold snacks (our memory -and scale- can't forget the delicious home-made «Foie Gras» and unforgettable, mouth watering macaroons!), fine wines ("Château des Graves", noticeable "Bordeaux B by Maucaillou"...) and Castelnau Champagne; employing a well trained, very educated and thoughtful staff, supervised by the cheerful Antonio and anticipating Gilles who served many years at Hotel Le Bristol. This is what we would call the first class section in a first class hotel. During our last stay, the Club access was EUR 150 atop the room rate; it is complimentary for those with a IHG Club membership, or guests booking into some higher categories of suites.
We loved the bar, opening onto the Verrière conservatory: a superb, ritzy and romantic winter garden with a fine restaurant.
The «Spa by Algotherm», splendid and well appointed, is the only spa in the centre of Paris to offer the benefits of thalassotherapy: revitalizing and relaxing sea water treatments, beauty care, traditional and oriental massages. The Gym features a running machine, electronic cycling machines, steppers, body-building apparatus and a sauna.
The hotel is so large that we didn't realized that the InterContinental Paris Le Grand is, first of all, a top class convention venue, with more than 21 meeting rooms and ballrooms. So many visitors, and still so much intimacy...
In the heart of the capital’s bustling business district, just a step from the main tourist sights, department stores (Galeries Lafayette, Le Printemps), and luxury boutiques, this is one of the most lovable hotels in Paris.
INTERCONTINENTAL PARIS LE GRAND: 2, rue Scribe, 75009 Paris
PHONE: +331 40 07 32 32 FACSIMILE: +331 42 66 12 51
TOLL FREE CALL: +800 80 800 800
PARK HYATT PARIS-VENDÔME (*****L): Don’t be fooled by the bourgeois Haussmann façade: this top 5 leading palace hotel in Paris has been designed by Ed Tuttle in a chic and Zen contemporary style, with that “Park Hyatt touch” which we recently discover in Saigon, and that we loved at first sight. The most exclusive brand by Hyatt since 1980, featuring luxury hotels in gateway cities around the world, it has an atmosphere of easy elegance and discreet service very noticeable in their Parisian property. Like all “Park Hyatt” hotels, it comes with a bonus: “La Terrasse”. A pleasant and unexpected private, almost secret tree-shaded patio for al fresco dining and cocktail, this is where the heart of the hotel beats in spring and summer time. The rest of the year, the action goes at “Le Bar”, where head barman Yann Daniel controls one of the best collection of prestigious spirits, and crafts extravagant cocktails paired with gastronomic tapas by one-Michelin star Chef Jean-François Rouquette. With its cigar cellar stocked with 40 Cuban cigar types, this is with Le Bristol and Plaza Athénée, the leading palace hotel bar in Paris.
We experienced “Les Orchidées” only for our early breakfast, when the hotel wakes up in style. We had only 15 minutes left from 7pm (opening time) until checking out, not to miss our morning flight: but this was a concentration of pleasure. Too short for the sophisticated “à la carte”, we rather chose from the gastronomic buffet. This is, with Le Bristol, Meurice and Mandarin Oriental, one of the most remarkable breakfasts in Paris. And the setting is gorgeous: with a bright and chic glass ceiling, in a most pleasant dinning room decorated with exquisitely arranged orchids. At lunchtime and dinner, this is, with "Pur’" and "The Chef’s Table", the gastronomic venue by Jean-François Rouquette.
We booked in a Park Suite: a best seller, at up to EUR 1,400 per night during the high season and special occasions (like the “Paris Fashion Week”). Forget the traditional “Regency Style”, characteristic of many palace hotels: our quite large (50 sq. m) suite was contemporary, high-tech, and decorated with a splendid collection of artworks and furnishings. We liked the firework in the living-room. Though the 153 rooms, and particularly the 43 suites, are all differently displayed and decorated, each comes with its personal bonus. The 160 sq. m Residence Suite, for instance, replicates a true, chic Parisian apartment. This is one of our favorites, with the emblematic Vendôme Suite”. Opulently designed over 220 sq. m of space, it has an exclusive 60 sq. m balcony with stunning views of the Vendôme column, a private bar, and a steam-room with shower. One of the most famous suites in Paris; the most booked also. Claudio Ceccherelli, general manager, explained us that due to its "business palace hotel" well established status, his hotel still keeps a high occupancy compared with the competitors targetting high-profile tourists from Asia and USA, much preoccupied by the security in Paris and preferring to chose further holiday destinations.
A piece of originality in an original hotel: Suite 601 is a nail treatment salon by Kure Bazaar.
Ladies will love the classy bathrooms at Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme: with Limestone walls, deep-soaking tub, rain shower, heated floors, and exclusive toiletries designed by acclaimed perfumer Blaise Mautin.
There is no swimming pool; which is little bit disappointing. But the SPA, decorated with Paris stone, mahogany, and an onyx water wall, is most exclusive.
The enthusiastic, top notch staff waves the stiff image of the palace hotels from yesterday, making you feel like at home within a minute.
Those who like Ritz Carlton or Mandarin Oriental top class level of hospitality should give a try to Park Hyatt. Just impressive!
PARK HYATT PARIS-VENDÔME: 5 Rue de la Paix, 75002 Paris
PHONE: +33 1 5871 1234 FACSIMILE : +33 1 5871 1235
BARRIERE LE FOUQUET'S (*****L): This classy Hausmannian dressed stone building, occupying the strategic angle of the avenue George V and Champs-Elysées, is since 2006 one the most sought after temples of hospitality in Paris. The first palace hotel in Paris which obtained a fifth star, it incidentally became world famous on May 6th, 2007, when Nicolas Sarkozy banqueted and slept his first night as a president in what is now considered by French people as a symbol of opulence. A short stay is enough to make this reputation of bling fading away. We found the concept actually rich and selective, though remaining in the strict limit of good taste; in one word, the Barrière Le Fouquet's looks more sober, definitely much quieter, than the other leading palace hotels in Paris. Like it or not -and we did- the style is totally different.
Modern and baroque, the Barrière Le Fouquet's owes a lot to Jacques Garcia. If something lacks in the entrance of the hotel to create a real, more impressive lobby, we found the all design faultless from the diamond sparkling reception desk up to the large, swank bedrooms. The 21st century comfort, high-tech, luxury, plus a tailored-made sense of hospitality are concentrated in this hotel. We didn't feel like that much in a Parisian hotel; but in one of those South East Asian five star properties, where each detail is taken under a close consideration to seduce the visitor. The personal attention starts from the first exchange of e-mails with the reservation department: we have been invited to fill up a short, well targeted questionnaire, inquiring about our taste in term of flowers, bedding, food... and temperature of the room. Opening the door of our Prestige Room Champs Elysées, it stood to reason that there are much better places like home... Large (45 sqm) and luxuriously appointed, this category of room is praised by tourists for panoramic view on the most beautiful avenue in the world. Else, it doesn't show much difference in term of design and comfort from the 81 guest rooms. A lavish selection of rich materials and fabrics (mahogany, velvet, Carrara marble, silk and leather) combines with geek technologies: such as wall mirrors that amazingly turn into televisions equipped with premium and free movie channels, both in the bedroom and in the smart bathroom, iPod dock, and complimentary wireless and wired high-speed Internet access. Few if none leading palace hotels in Paris offer free access to the Internet; a basic service anywhere in the world, it is still considered a privilege in France. This is a nice policy to offer that kind of bonus to those who like to pay the price for a five star hotel against a real five star service. The minibar, filled everyday with a selection of fine soft drinks, was also complimentary. Those details make guests come back, and the management deploys many initiatives of that kind, lifting the Barrière Le Fouquet's higher and higher in Tripadvisor since a few months. We didn't use that much our butler, but his presence must be precious to families: he introduced himself a couple of minutes after we checked in, offering his assistance to unpack our luggage, make a last minute reservation in sought after restaurants... A key man to those who don't know Paris, or need a dedicated assistance. Again, a very good mark to this hotel, distinguishing quite lot from its competitors.
We have seen only one suite: certainly the best one, called Presidential. Thought not as impressive as in the other leading palace hotels in Paris (so hard to beat Meurice or Bristol in that category), it looked indeed more high-tech, formal and finally more practical than what we used to experience in Paris. All in all, it would rather fit the tastes of a family or a businessman than honeymooners, who would certainly prefer the cozy atmosphere of an Executive room on the Champs Elysées...
The wow factors doesn't concentrate in the accommodation. We have been taken aback by the luxury of the Spa Diane Barrière, which we found more attractive than the SPA at the Ritz. A privilege of the new hotels, the concept is totally up-to-date with the 21st century norms of rejuvenation. Huge (750 sqm), it has a large swimming Pool with a separate water passage therapy called «Aqua Circuit» (our first experience swimming against streams of running water was funny and exhausting), sauna and steam rooms, fitness studio with the latest digital equipment, and luxury rooms for first class cosmetic treatments.
Home of the legendary Fouquet's brasserie, and Michelin starred Le Diane -unique restaurant on the Champs Elysées with an interior garden- the Barrière Le Fouquet's gives its guest one more privilege: the exciting opportunity to go backwards and forwards to any Paris attraction, restaurant or shop just walking a few minutes in the heart of Paris «Golden Triangle».
Rate starts from approximately EUR 1200 for a Superior Double Room, up to EUR 1700 for an Executive Room Champs Elysées, with very attractive packages available.
Owned and managed by the Lucien Barriere group of hotels, this is one of the Leading Hotels of the World.
BARRIERE LE FOUQUET'S: 46, av. George V, 75008 Paris
PHONE: +33 1 (0) 40 69 60 00 FACSIMILE: +33 1 (0) 40 69 60 05
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PARIS (*****L): The name speaks truth: this new, modern palace hotel, comes with that authentic Asian touch so many travellers, looking for a cool alternative to the Regence design and stiff ambiance of the leading Parisian luxury hotels, were expecting since at least a couple of decades.
We are quite familiar with the awards winning Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, operating 45 hotels in 28 countries. Its latest palace edition has got it all for a success story. A prestigious address, in a strategic part of the Faubourg Saint-Honoré, half way between the Opera, Louvre, Champs-Elysées and romantic Left Bank. An elegant 1930s building, next door to the showy hotel Costes and its mundane bar (the challenging competition with the Bar 8 goes in favour of the patrons of both places), one of the coolest lobby in Paris, a couple of restaurants operated by a two-Michelin star chef, a lovingly designed courtyard-garden, a large pool and one of the most attractive SPA in town. And last but not least 99 splendidly appointed rooms, plus 39 impressive suites: the Suite Royale Mandarin, fills 350 sq m on two levels. Its terrace offers a stunning view of the city, including the Garnier Opera, the Grand Palais and of course the Eiffel Tower. The top floor of the hotel may be privatized to create the biggest suite in Paris, measuring 1,000 square metres.
The hotel is new, but the service already well trained, under the supervision of GM Philippe Leboeuf (he managed the Hotel de Crillon in Paris, and Claridge's in London). Doormen actively operate in the corridor-like entrance, and it takes less than a couple of minutes to have piles of luggage picked up to the room. We have been offered a glass of chilled Champagne upon check-in: which was fine, and even astonishing as none of the palaces which we already visited in Paris complied with the tradition of the welcome drink (a standard in the Middle East and Asia). We have noticed quite a lot of Asian reception staff: anticipating and smiling. The lobby is not as large as what one might expect from a palace-hotel. Amazingly Zen, it complies with the Mandarin Oriental green and flowered concept: warm and welcoming, it opens to one of the most lovely, and certainly the best designed hotel gardens that we have ever seen in Paris. This 455 sq.m oasis is planted with trees and flowers: including the camellia, which symbolises elegance, harmony and beauty. It gives access to almost all the public areas: amongst the most spacious in the capital.
We stayed in a Mandarin Room, with a garden view. So nice and so quiet! So different from the other leading palace hotels in Paris also. What we first noticed is the “high tech” concept: a consequent budget has obviously been invested to provide the large room (approximately 47-52 sq.m) with all those technologies the young generation of wealthy travellers has already at home, and can't miss on a business or leisure trip. The large writing desks are equipped with plugs and sockets for a local (TV, Video) and external (Phone, Voice-mail, Internet...) connectivity. It took us a few minutes to get familiarized with our superb Bang & Olusfen 40'' plasma TV with 150 channels and virtual music juke box with 1,000 tracks: it goes out of the wall and, remotely controlled, orientates in all directions (bed, desk, sofas...). There was a second TV in the palatial bathrooms (well worth the stay, they are amongst the most smartly designed in the world), ideal to screen a good movie relaxing in the tub. The iPod docking station is now a standard; but the room is furthermore equipped with Playstation 3 for the kids (the Mandarin Oriental group is children friendly, indeed). We liked the Nespresso coffee machine, with complimentary refill; a generous idea, though having a cup of much better espresso in the Camélia garden is a much more exciting experience.
Camélia is the second restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental. “Second” means that the prestige -and the stars- rather goes to the “Sur Mesure”; though Chef Thierry Marx caters both places. Camélia is refined, yet more casual. We had a delicious lunch there, but our best souvenir will rather be associated with our glorious breakfast. As a matter of fact, we have often been disappointed by the not up to the mark breakfast in Parisian five star deluxe hotels. At Camélia, the ingredients were so fresh (with the best ham and sausage ever!), the fruits so tasty (we won't forget the bio-raspberries), the choice of yummy breads so rich, and the desserts from the Cake Shop so French and worth the best confectioners. Having such a high end early morning culinary experience in the terrace is certainly what would make us come back. Have a lunch at Camélia if you like, but don't miss the breakfast!
The SPA is a master-key in all Mandarin Oriental Properties. This Paradise of well being, with a 15 metre pool refreshed by a cascade of water, is so relaxing -and original- with its very unique video installation of fluttering animated figures casting images of foliage and yet more butterflies on the walls: butterfly symbolises guests’ sense of renewal following treatments. There is a steam room, and state of the art fitness centre. The SPA is equipped with seven completely private treatment suites: including a couple suite, with a large mosaic vitality pool for two.
The SPA experience can be totally -or partly- included, via a daily credit featured in some extremely attractive packages and offers, unfortunately not available all year long. The “Luxury Break” and “Delight Rate” packages start from EUR 765 per night, and feature EUR 150 daily credits guests can use in the restaurants, for room service or at the SPA.
The Mandarin Oriental Paris celebrates its first anniversary in summer 2012, and it is quickly reaching a cruise speed which will hopefully make it as perfect as the legendary Mandarin Oriental Bangkok (which all fans still call “The Oriental”) in a near future. This is already one of Paris pre-eminent luxury hotels.
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PARIS: 251 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris
PHONE: +33 (0)1 70 98 78 88
PLAZA ATHENEE (*****L): More glamorous than the Crillon, more “bling” than the Bristol, more distinguished than The Peninsula and cooler than the Ritz, the recently reopened Plaza-Athénée goes on with its fame since 1913: established on the avenue Montaigne, in the heart of Paris “Golden Triangle”. Following Marlene Dietrich, Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Jackson or the Maharadjah of Jaipur's footprints, let's puttin' on the Plaza!
The spacious “Regency” rooms and suites, which we enjoyed during our previous stay, have all been fancily restored by Marie-José Pommereau. Those who loved the hotel in the past should still love it now, after what we would call a global upgrade to the design and comfort of the 154 rooms and 54 suites. Timeless, supremely elegant with a timeless luxury, recreating the atmosphere of an elegant apartment from the 18th century, paying tribute to the finest French arts and crafts, the Plaza keeps with that touch of class which attracts more than even the world elite. Privacy and munificence arise from a range of warm tones for the walls including peony, sun-infused yellow and silver as well as using materials such as damask, embroideries and plain silks from top couture houses to adorn the windows, armchairs and beds. Many of the bathrooms have been restored in a most classy way: focusing on the lighting, Marie-José Pommereau used luminous “Calacatta” grey-veined white marble, sourced from Carrara, to adorn the walls, and new mirrors to reflect the light. Converting the ritzy bathrooms into boudoirs of our time.
The 8 new suites, with their splendid 3.5m high ceilings, located right above the Harry Winston jewellery store and “Le Relais Plaza”, overlook avenue Montaigne. While the two Prestige suites, situated in the corner of the building, are bathed in natural sunlight, the two Junior suites are equally as charming with their little medallion windows.
The guestrooms also offer new services and technology which will be more practical and efficient for guests’ use. In addition to the existing special services (the pillow menu and the John Lobb shoe polishing service), the Hotel has equipped every room with an iPad to introduce the array of room services, and the telephones are now tactile. In addition, electric sockets have now been integrated in the furniture.
The service is run with discretion and high efficiency by 400 staff, in charge of 208 apartments only. While most of the Parisian palaces lend to be empty on business hours, the Plaza Athénée still survives as the ultimate high-tea time for the rich and famous invading the “Galerie des Gobelins” from 4pm: elegant gossips, renowned stylists, famous actors and further peoples like to see and be seen in this sanctuary of the Parisian social life. The “Bar du Plaza”, a night extension to the “Galerie” with a lounge atmosphere, is the slap-up night-owls favourite meeting point.
We experienced with much satisfaction the 3 Michelin starred “Alain-Ducasse au Plaza-Athénée” a couple of years ago: totally redesigned, this is more than ever one of the best gastronomic restaurants in Paris, though naturally quite overpriced. The Art Deco “Le Relais Plaza” is actually attractive, with its revamped 1930's decoration: this is a very Parisian brasserie hosting popular jazz nights. A haunt for famous journalists and politicians, it is much frequented by American and Japanese tourists, looking for the posh remains of a vanishing Paris beautified by the camera of Vincente Minelli.
There is no swimming-pool, but Europe’s only Dior Institute, offering exclusive spa treatments, steam-room and sauna, in a stylish setting including a specialist manicure and pedicure area.
We indeed felt like in the a dreamed France. While the competitors are focussing on intriguing Zen and high-tech concepts, the Plaza preserved its dazzling and unique signature which makes it the “Haute-Couture hotel in Paris”. Booking a suite at 25 avenue Montaigne is a must; proceed in advance if, like us, you would prefer to peacefully relax in a room with a view on the green patio: a delicious privilege for the most faithful guests, it comes with the only complimentary bonus in this very expensive hotel (with attractive packages and special offers available): the song of the best-fed birds in the capital city.
The Plaza Athéne Paris is affiliated to the Dorchester Collection of hotels.
PLAZA ATHENEE: 25, avenue Montaigne 75008 PARIS
PHONE: +33 1 53 67 6500 FACSIMILE: +33 1 53 67 6666
RAPHAËL (*****L): Owned by the same family since 1925, the last 100% French palace-hotel in Paris didn't change since our first stay... in the 1990s. We always travel back in time just stepping into the lobby: designed into a large and long wood-paneled alley, parsimoniously lit by the wide stained-glass window overlooking the imposing “Belle Epoque” concierge desk. General Eisenhower (the hotel was his HQ during the “Libération”), Roberto Rossellini and his wife Ingrid Bergman, virtuoso pianist Vladimir Horowitz, French actor Jean Gabin and many others made it their home away from home. More discreet than the leading Plaza Athénée, Ritz, or Bristol, it keeps on attracting since decades the elite of the planet: in quest for such a discretion, that we would hardly divulge the names of the CEOs, novelists, actors and political leaders who turned the Raphaël -and principally its bar- into an annex of the Jockey Club or Interallié. An address recommended from mouth to ear by the happy 1%, still reluctant to advertising, and let's say a bit old school, the Raphaël is the leading and most iconic five-star boutique hotel in Paris...
We arrived at a peak hour, with so much traffic jam that we preferred to use the metro to gain time. The doorman, who knew us from previous visits to the bar, saw us immediately, and crossed the street to carry our luggage. Of course, he remembered our name... From this simple detail, we knew that our stay would be superb!
It took only a few minutes to check-in at the discreet desk, situated at the end of the lobby, next to the vintage iron-cast elevator (there is alternatively a modern, glass-back lift, which we rather used to get to the panoramic terrace). The reception looks modest compared with the impressive concierge desk, at the left of the entrance. This is the place to book a table in a 99% full Michelin star restaurant, or in a private supper-club. Tours, location of a limousine, transfers by taxi-motorbike or...private jets. Everything can be managed by those experts, a bit severe and impressive in their uniform, who know Paris better than everyone. They rank since decades amongst the top 10 best Clefs d'Or in Paris, and are a bit of the soul of the capital.
The rooms didn't change at all since our visit in the previous century, when we occupied a 50 sq.m “Junior Suite” relatively similar to the one in which we booked that time. The 47 rooms and 36 suites are all different in term of decoration. All tastes can be satisfied: some guests want to feel like into a cocoon, with a limited view but a most intimate ambiance. There tailored-made ultra-cozy rooms for them. “Superior Rooms” , for instance: ideal for a discreet romance, they are the ideal option for artists escaping the spotlights. We definitely prefer the well-lit rooms, with a view on the next door Peninsula hotel, or avenue Kleber. The higher the better, with Eiffel Tower and Arch of Triumph exceptional panoramas. We closed our eyes over the plain carpet covering certainly awesome parquets, and explored our suite with the immediate satisfaction of being “somewhere”. Away from a chain hotel, indeed! Spacious, under high ceilings, we noticed three important details, recurrent in many other rooms: the boudoir lounge, the original mosaics quite unique in Paris, and the bed with copper bars... so inviting for much more than a deep sleep... It would need a little extra touch of class to make our bathroom on par with the rest of the room. But some other suites, which we could inspect with the hotel manager, have classy bath facilities with a vintage touch.
Our heart beated for the 62 sq.m “Suite Tour Eiffel”, with its circular 70 sq.m terrace. And the 65 sq.m “Suite Arc de Triomphe”, with ivory and gold tones, extending to a smaller (60sq.m), yet lovely terrace. The rate for suites is value for money: our suite costs a bit more than EUR 500, and a “Prestige Suite” less than EUR 900. “Classic Rooms” start from approximately EUR 360.
The Raphael hides two treasures: “Le Bar Anglais”, and the summer terrace.
Like French singer Serge Gainsbourg, a legendary patron of the bar, we spent a few minutes standing in front of the imposing turn of the XIXth Century William Turner's painting. The rarest of those artworks exhibited a bit everywhere, transforming the Raphaël into a museum without the crowd.
We tried to strategically sit at the angle table, next to the counter. Referred as the VIP corner, it is usually reserved for regular guests. Depending on the time, this might be a group of plotting philosophers, bling TV or movie stars, or discreet politicians. This a bit austere club atmosphere is pleasantly balanced by the presence of international top models and Paris most glamorous women. The cocktails are amongst the best in town, though we noticed a little “faux pas”: our “Singapore Sling” was mixed without Cointreau nor Benedictine: the place -and the barman- can be somehow eccentric. Don't forget that it is supposed to be the most British bar in Paris. The average bill for a glass of “cru bourgeois” or a cocktail is absolutely fair (EUR 20 – 30).
Next room, “Le Restaurant” is a splendid place for one of the best breakfasts in Paris. A tip: do like us and ask the waiter to grate some black truffle over your scrambled eggs. It costs a EUR 18 little extra but you get into the 3D gustatory experience!
We reached cloud nine visiting the seventh floor “La Terrasse du Raphaël”, opened between April and September. A haven of peace, with a lushly and fragrant vegetation, it would totally make us forget that the Champs Elysées is located 200 meters away if it weren't surrounded by a 360° panorama over the magnificent landmarks of the capital city. The view beats L'Oiseau Blanc at the Peninsula! You'd rather book much in advance to experience Chef Francisco Merino's inventive light cuisine with a Mediterranean accent. This would be, with the Le Bristol summer garden, our favorite place for a romantic dinner or simply a breathtaking and so-Parisian sunset cocktail.
There is nothing missing to make this tremendously traditional hotel one of our favorites in Paris. Except a swimming pool. But guests can use the one at the prestigious and most pleasant Hotel Majestic SPA, located next bloc.
RAPHAEL: 17, avenue Kleber 75116 Paris
PHONE: +33 1 53 64 32 10 FACSIMILE: +33 1 53 64 32 01
SOFITEL PARIS LE FAUBOURG (*****L): The ghosts of Pirandello, Jean Cocteau, Francis Picabia, haunt the Hôtel de Vouillemont, quoted by Marcel Proust in “Un amour de Swann”, in which one of the most refined Sofitel in the world has been implanted. Incorporating also another mansion, once Marie-Claire magazine’s headquarters. Intellectual life and fashion still elegantly highlight this fascinating property, ideally located in the chic and secure Faubourg Saint Honoré. A stone's throw from Place Vendôme and Rue de La Paix, with all the fashion shops and jewelry all around, we discovered a pearl of traditional hospitality in an appealing case. Tastefully designed by Didier Gomez, who created stores for everyone from Louis Vuitton to De Beers and Kenzo, restaurants for the late Joël Robuchon, and private residences for Harrison Ford and further actors, his artwork features a lot of black, white and beige. The colors of Parisian fashion. Making us feel like more in a luxury private home than visiting a cookie-cutter chain.
The lobby is luminous, attractive with regular exhibitions related to art and fashion; yet, it remains intimate enough to contrast with a grand-hotel. Making us feel like in an upscale boutique hotel, homey and exclusive, catered by a most welcoming young staff. Much action goes in the direction of the ritzy Bar du Faubourg. It has nothing to envy to the legendary Bar Hemingway, at the nearby hotel Ritz; though its direct competitor is the opposite Buddha Bar. We visited both, and found Le Bar at Sofitel more distinguished, with its Ruhlmann-style wood-panel walls, featuring deep sofas, warm colors, brilliant gold, graphic patterns, and fashion photos. The selection of cocktails and liquors is definitely worth the label “palace”. That was our second enthusiastic visit to this so-Parisian lounge, and surely not the least.
Next to Le Bar, the new Blossomrestaurant already captured its regular patrons. The cuisine, by Chef Alexandre Auger, is genuine, light, simple... yet “haute couture”, thanks to the alchemistic use of organic vegetables pairing juicy meats and aromatic fishes. We had a fantastic lunch, which only our scale will easily forget. Light like a cloud! And actually reasonably priced. Should you stay in the hotel or not, we recommend the breakfast: one the best, and most attended in Paris. The buffet is even more attractive and inventive than at Epicure (Le Bristol): our ultimate reference, with Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme and Mandarin Oriental, serving the best gastronomic breakfasts in the capital city. Everything comes with a high degree of sophistication: even the bio-farm eggs, boiled in Darjeeling Tea instead of plain water! What a treat!
The room rate goes also relatively fair. We booked a second category accommodation, “Luxury Room”, at approximately EUR 500. Cheaper than at Buddha Bar, which is according to us one step at least bellow the Sofitel Le Faubourg. It was relatively small (25 m²), but so wisely and elegantly designed that we loved it at first sight. Couture and Parisian, supremely elegant, it is surprising to get such a “sur-mesure” room in a chain hotel.Precious mirrors reflect the glossy ball dresses in Cecil Beaton’s photographs for Vogue. Light plays over crystals and luxurious materials. We liked the amazingly comfy MyBed, which are actually unique, LCD Sat TV television linked to the Bose sound system, and the complimentary WiFi. The tiny bathroom concentrates the five-star comfort that we would have found in a palace hotel. We noticed immediately the Hermès toiletry (usually only available in suites at Sofitel overseas), plush towels, and an engaging atmosphere.
Though the Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg was on a peak occupancy during our visit, we could peep into the "Faubourg Suite", which was on-pair in term of luxury with the leading palace-hotels all around. With a boutique note, making the guests feeling like living in his private “hôtel particulier” in the heart of the Golden Triangle of the nicest city in the world.
Another bonus at Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg, it has a glamorous SPA, very couture also, with a luxurious hammam, decorated with black and white mosaics, and dotted with gleaming 24-carat gold squares.
SOFITEL PARIS LE FAUBOURG: 15, rue Boissy d'Anglas, 75008 Paris
PHONE: +331 44 94 14 14 FACSIMILE: +33 1 44 94 14 28
HOTEL DE CRILLON (*****L): Nowhere else in Paris will you find such a physical and human proximity between palace and hotel. Part of the background of the most beautiful square in the world, the former property of the distinguished Counts de Crillon was converted in 1909 into a very plush palace hotel emphasizing the best of the best in French style. The official guests of the French President are traditionally accommodated in the totally refurbished Hotel de Crillon, and therefore it shows its merits better than any press inspection. This may be a paradox: this jewel on the Place de la Concorde doesn't offer many rooms with a view on the obelisk of Luxor. Guests should previously be informed about this characteristic of the Hotel de Crillon; else they might feel somehow disappointed. Though the 163 rooms and suite are ALL extremely pleasant, luxurious and spacious, this is obvious that only the top prestigious "Grands Appartements" (Grand Deluxe and Presidential Suites) open on this dramatic panorama on the City of Lights. They are of course sublime, and above all extremely cozy with their pale wood panels, and also their elegant wall and roof paintings ( just like in the suites 158 and 101, called "de l’Empereur" and "Royale"). On the rich marble fireplaces are displayed original –and therefore precious- clocks and candelabras. Impressive indeed: even for palace hotels addicted.
These much requested "Grands Appartements" are decorated with sumptuous period carpets from La Savonnerie, equipped with a long tail piano, while flowers are dispatched on any table, desk and gueridons.! The "Standard Rooms" –can something actually be standard in theCrillon ?- are simply luxurious and palatial. The guest may decide to pay for the lowest rate: he will get much for his money. The beautified "Deluxe Rooms" (EUR 850 / 1,000) are huge, with a separate sitting room: practical for discreet or intimate meetings. A "Grand Appartement" will cost much more, as a matter of fact. There is a wonderful restaurant, "Les Ambassadeurs", and a fashionable piano bar. The service anticipates with omnipresence and discretion: this is certainly the very best in Paris.
is is a Rosewood hotel.
HOTEL DE CRILLON: 10, Place de la Concorde 75008 PARIS
PHONE: +331 44711500 FACSIMILE: +331 44711502
NAPOLEON (*****L): Located one minute away from the Arch of Triumph and the Champs-Elysées, this prestigious hotel was build in 1928 in a splendid Art Deco style. It became quickly the home away from home for celebrities like Errol Flynn, Jean Gabin, Orson Welles, Joséphine Baker and many others. This is nowadays a favourite for the Central and South American potentates, plus the traditional clientele from the Middle-East..
Combining charm and character, the Hotel Napoleon is one of the very few deluxe hotels in Paris remaining independent from international chains. Still the property of a private family, it offers a very dedicated service in a very intimate atmosphere. The lovely interior design features Directoire furniture, Napoleonian artworks and rich fabrics. This typically Parisian elegance emphasises in the 102 personalised rooms and 34 top deluxe apartments which are similar to the ones we could see in the larger -and more expensive- major palace hotels in the capital city of France or in the Riviera. Some, with balconies or terraces, have a breathtaking view on the Arch of Triumph or the Eiffel Tower. Far from being standardised, richly decorated with period furniture and items, they are fully air-conditioned and soundproofed for the highest wellbeing. The Superior Bedrooms include a sitting area: which we found most convenient to receive our guests. The lovely Junior Suites feature separate sitting room. We had our last stay there in Summer 2016, in the sumptuous new Suite Youssoupoff (composed of two connecting suites 603-605). A superb bathroom with incrusted marble, a flat plasma TV and the most precious fabrics and furniture you will find in Paris makes it a dream come true for the most demanding traveller. It term of luxury and elitist design, it is on the same level like the Suite 618 (called Suite Josephine): this lavish, large, quiet and private one-bedroom suite is decorated in typical Napoleonic style. 80m2 in size, it overlooks the inner courtyard. A large and independent lounge area is equipped with an executive bureau and seats 6 people. A dinner table can be arranged. The bedroom features a king-size tester bed and there are two marble bathrooms with L'Occitane toiletry and a walk-in closet. It has, among multiple facilities, a bed-side room control panel, two TV with satellite and cable channels (plus Internet accessible via the TV Network or the broadband WiFi network), personal bar with courtesy tray, hair dryer and bathrobe (with the coat of arms of the Emperor!). The best suite in the hotel remains the remarkable Two Bedrooms "Suite Imperiale", inaugurated in 2009: this luxurious, spacious and sunny apartment, decorated in typical Napoleonic style, displays 130m2 of luxury, and offers spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe from a private terrace-deck where you can enjoy your breakfast or lunch! Upon request, the main living room can be converted into one the most pleasant meeting rooms available under the Paris roofs, hosting up to 20 peoples.
Note that the suites, like the other rooms, are sold out at very competitive rate, much variable depending on the period of the stay. Expect to pay from EUR 300 for a Classic Room. Junior Suites start from approximately EUR 440. Attractive offers are available.
Multiple attentions awaits guests in the room: potpourri on the desk, bedside and bathroom, chocolates and small cakes which are a good and elegant alternance to the too often flavourless fresh fruits displayed in most of hotels worldwide. Plenty of little details like those make this hotel actually engaging.
The hotel offers an efficient concierge service, which can deal with any requirement: from last minute restaurant reservation (a couple of 3-Michelin star operate a short walk away), to scheduling business appointments or more personal services. Almost everything is possible for the communicative friendly concierge, with a 15 years experience in Paris.
Good 24 hours room-service. Rich buffet-breakfast (one of the best we have ever enjoyed in a five star hotel in Paris), served at the private-club like Bivouac Café: with unmatchable crunchy "Baguettes", great French cheese selection, and a generous selection of high quality cold/hot meals. The Bivouac Café operates as a restaurant from midday to 3pm, Monday to Friday. His chef, Olivier Le Gentil, specialises in Mediterranean cuisine, using herbs, seasonings and olive oil. He has worked in 2 restaurants in Normandy awarded with the Michelin star. Mahogany and marble bar, deep armchairs and sofas, plus a very chic outdoor terrace, make the Bivouac Café one of the most attractive lounges in Paris.
business center "Le Bureau", and extremely smart
Napoleonian executive meeting
rooms and lounges ("Les Salons de l'Etoile")
are fully equipped
with the latest modern communication
sound system, simultaneous translation, computers, etc. The new
Club, equipped with the latest equipment on the market and a
massage room for SPA
treatments, offers a captivating view over the rooftops of Paris.
The Hotel Napoleon has recently completed a millions dollars refurbishment, with a beautified façade, revamped rooms, and has been awarded a fifth star: making it now one of the most lovable small palace hotels in Paris.
HOTEL NAPOLEON: 40 Avenue de Friedland 75008 Paris
PHONE: +331 56684321 FACSIMILE : +331 47668233
PARIS AVENUE MARCEAU (*****L): The smallest, most boutique InterContinental
property in the world, once the private mansion of Lord de Breteuil,
looks like all but a chain hotel. Five star, like its sister hotels, it
has the particularity of not offering
usually makes us book with
that brand: a Club InterContinental Lounge. But we promptly realized
that the VIP “Club” service was offered to all guests, indeed. With
only 55 rooms
and suites, the hotel, a plush “Maison Parisienne”,
is as refined as cozy. Providing a proximity to the client which comes
like a signature.
LA TREMOILLE (****L): Still a secret hotel, like a jewel in its case, protected by a couple of elegant doormen, this beautiful property distinguishes itself at first sight by a certain chicness. Once attracting musicians (this used to be Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington haunt in Paris), producers and actors, La Tremoille is now very much sought after by fashionists finding here the «blue note» missing in larger and more impersonal hotels.
The well trained staff made us feel like comfortable as soon as we had stepped inside the cozy, elegant lobby. We had arrived from New York, early in the morning; our room was ready yet, six hours before the normal check in time... though the hotel showed a very high occupancy. We have been hosted in suite # 405; a good choice. Like many other rooms -including smaller Superior Rooms- it has a little balcony and a lovely marble fireplace. We liked the contrast between the wall moulded, very Parisian, architecture, and the fashionable, trendy furniture standing miles away from Ikea type stuff commonly displayed in so many «modern» hotels nowadays; rich materials, fabrics and linen provide an authentic four star deluxe comfort. The bathrooms are magnificent: alternating mahogany and black marble, and displaying separated tub and rain shower with large bottles of Molton Brown toiletries. The lightening is adjustable, there is a plasma TV set with plenty of channels, high speed Wi-Fi is complimentary (when most of first class hotels in Paris still overcharge guests for this facility), an iPod-base, surround sound HiFi music in the room and in the bathroom, and Ladurée «Macarons» (the best butter-cream cookies in Paris) displayed in their elegant violet box as an ultimate touch of style ... Let's say that we felt like in a boutique hotel with a palace hotel comfort and exceptions: like the «hatch»: a wonderful invention, allowing room service to deliver your meal into your room, without the need to step foot inside it. We saw similar facility only once in our life: in the Peninsula Bangkok, where «hatch» was used for shoe-shine service only.
A 42 – 62 sq. M. suite would cost from EUR 680 till EUR 1100, with many special offers and packages available. The Standard and Deluxe Rooms are also quite large (about 35 sq. M) and almost as comfy as the suites. We like the Deluxe Room # 515 (rack rate EUR 560), with 4 windows allowing a lovely luminosity, and quite a large balcony: this is a much wanted room, booked far in advance by regular guests.
There an intimate, smart and well equipped fitness center & SPA, with a sauna.
The buffet breakfast, served in the classy restaurant "Le Louis II"and lounge bar, is generous: featuring smoked salmon, fine French cheese, a crunchy baguette and pain Poilâne. It costs EUR 38, which is not that cheap, but comes included in many packages.
hotel comes ideally nestled between the Seine River and the
Right in the middle of the "Golden Triangle". A stone’s throw from the
cream of the crop avenue Montaigne. With the most prestigious shops,
restaurants and tourist attractions on the doorstep.
LA TREMOILLE: 14, rue de la Trémoille 75008 Paris
PHONE: +331 56 52 14 00 FACSIMILE: +331 40 70 01 08
CHAMPS-ELYSEES (****L): Modern
and stylish, with an upscale lobby recently refurbished by
world-famous designer Pierre Yves Rochon, bathed in soothing light and
decorated in natural tones inspired by nature, this luxury hotel
managed by Warwick welcomes
international business and vacation travelers alike.
(****L): Considered by many
the crown jewel of authentic, historical Paris hotels, this utterly
sophisticated property had been named after the Duke of Westminster,
who resided in this sumptuous property in the 19th Century.
RENAISSANCE PARIS VENDOME (****L): In the very heart of Paris, this new boutique hotel is located between the ritzy Rue de Rivoli and Rue Saint Honore. The Tuileries and Place Vendome stands a two minutes walk only.
The 97 upscale, air-conditioned rooms and junior suites are decently sized. Designed in a smart contemporary style with a 1930's influence, they feature king-size bed, plasma sat-TV, DVD/CD player, mini-bar and safety box. We like the lovely marble bathrooms, with separated toilet, displaying Bulgari amenities.
There is high-speed Internet access in the rooms, and WiFi in the cozy, very intimate lounge with a fireplace, flanked with the much pleasant and well-famed « Bar Chinois » (decorated in the Mandarin style, with some fine antiques): where sophisticated cocktails and splendid snacks are served. This is the place for an aperitif, before trying the already much reputed Pinxo » restaurant (managed by two star Michelin consulting chef Alain Dutournier).
Besides its elegant concept -attracting many fashion designers visiting Paris- the second factor making this hotel a good choice for the tourist and business traveller alike is the SPA. Exclusively for hotel guests, warm and pleasant indeed, it provides a 40-foot long pool (few hotels in Paris have this facility), a workout room with brand new equipment, sauna, steam room as well as a private massage room.
Rate starts from EUR 330 for a Deluxe Room, and from EUR 470 for a Junior Suite.
multilingual lobby staff. Safe parking in the close vicinity.
RENAISSANCE PARIS VENDOME HOTEL: 4, Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001 Paris
PHONE: +331 40202000 FACSIMILE: +331 40202001
MARRIOTT PARIS CHAMPS ELYSEES (****L): The world famous Champs-Elysees are struggling nowadays to renew with their legendary past: very much spoiled by invasive fast-food restaurants, cheap stores, and shabby night-clubs which are still attracting a very ugly suburban crowd to the once "most beautiful avenue in the world". This unique grand hotel on the "Champs" –since the legendary Claridge went bankrupt more than three decades ago- looks a wonderful challenge for Marriott. The Art Deco building used to be the Louis Vuitton’s head quarter: from outside it has now the perfect appearance of an old fashioned palace hotel. Nothing like a modern American style bunker. The Marriott Paris Champs-Elysées is the main element in a general remodeling of the image of the avenue: God bless such a great initiative!
The Marriott Paris Champs-Elysées is a jewel of the traditional hospitality, in the heart of the capital city of France "Golden Triangle". So Parisian with its high and straight wrought iron entrance door, covered by a glass roof, and severely kept by a doorman in a blue uniform with red cape, it suddenly becomes incredibly cosmopolitan after you had climbed the monumental stairs and reached the main lobby. You are transported far away from France, in a sort of an Oriental tale: marble is everywhere, and this looks so flashy that you feel like in a day dream. Once in this incredible universe, you may realize there are actually TWO hotels: the one you see from the street, and the second one curiously built with its façade on the lobby.
Most of the 192 rooms and 18 suites, palatial, warmly and richly decorated, don’t have a view on the Champs-Elysees: they are obviously match executive businessmen, to whom offer a very good address and a distinguished service. The Marriott Paris Champs-Elysées we DO like is the one we tested, in the romantic and ritzy atmosphere offered by the 16 "studios" with a dramatic view on the avenue and the Arc de Triomphe. These palatial top deluxe rooms are sound-proofed by thick windows and heavy silk curtains: you may listen classical music while looking the night traffic on the "Champs", drinking a glass of well chilled Champagne, and feeling that good in your protected five star deluxe heaven that you don’t even consider dining out. Strange feeling while, usually, an hotel room is that kind of place you just like to escape from. We actually forgot the Champs-Elysees and its crowd, and preferred to relax in the ostentatious marble bathroom, equipped with Hermes perfumes and soaps. Like in a palace hotel, nice bunches of flowers bring to the room a distinguished fragrance. A panoramic screen TV set brings news from all around the world, by satellite. There is individual air-conditioning, voice mail telephone, and a socket for your laptop computer. Of course, there is safety box in each room. The fitness center is fairly well equipped, but too small. And there is no swimming pool: a pity in such a new and top luxurious place. This is actually the only critic we may express on the hotel.
"Le Pavillon", with classic frescoes covering the walls, elegant decoration and anticipating staff aims to become one of the best restaurants on the "Champs". "La Terrasse", with a pleasant view on the courtyard, already rivals with the Fouquet’s: more and more business people like to enjoy brasserie-type meals in that casual restaurant.
MARRIOTT PARIS CHAMPS ELYSEES: 70, avenue des Champs Elysées, 75008 Paris
PHONE: +331 53935500 FACSIMILE: +331 53935501
VERNET (****L): Its location in a quiet street parallel to the noisy –and let’s say quite spoiled !- Champs-Elysees makes the Vernet a perfect hideaway. You will decide whether this is a palace or a charming hotel: may be both? Actually, since renovated in 1990 by the group managing also the Royal Monceau, this 1913 building is one of the nicest places to be accommodated in Paris. There is only 54 rooms and 3 suites: all of them are huge, decorated with romantic and precious fabrics, period furniture and smooth king size beds, and all –we say ALL !- equipped with a jacuzzi. They are extremely quiet, including the one with a view on the street. Guests will find a box of excellent Boissier fudges on the table, together with some cakes, a basket of fruits, and a very generous bunch of fragrant and colourful flowers: the management knows how to treat the very important –but also very famous- guests of this urban Eden.
The staff is so discreet you don’t feel like its yet permanent presence. The six floors are served by an antique "Stigler": with its glass and copper structure, its smooth and silent mechanism, it is compared to the lifts what a Rolls-Royce is compared to the cars. This top luxurious refuge looks like the ideal place for a romance, or for the discreet signature of an important contract: as a matter of fact, the Vernet is a bourgeois counterpart of the legendary left bank L’Hôtel.
Guests names are top-secret. Both the concierge and manager consider this matter as sensitive. But the rich and famous don’t hide anymore, when time comes for an unforgettable dinner at the "Elysees": the international show business, movie stars, and ministers like to enjoy two star Michelin specialties, under a superb Art Deco glass roof. The "Elysees", we didn’t test yet, is considered as one of the most reputed tables in town.
VERNET: 45, rue Vernet, 75008 Paris
PHONE: +331 44319800 FACSIMILE: +331 44318569
LOTTI (****L): One of the most faithful guest of this small palace was the Duke of Westminster. He assisted its grand opening in 1910, and had been follow in his wake by HH the Begum, HRH Paola of Belgium, or political leaders like Winston Churchill and Richard Nixon. Now, it seems the Lotti turned into a top luxury business hotel, dropped by the famous for the rich only. Still, the hotel is great, extremely comfortable, far cheaper than the Ritz; even if rooms are somehow too small (while the apartments remain palatial.
sophisticated; but could it be more friendly? A charming and discreet
fitted to enjoy the whole hearth of Paris, with the glamorous
of the Tuileries and Vendôme square a few meters away.
(****L): A providential response to
our readership claiming that our selection of hotels concentrates on
the international and touristy “Golden Triangle”, this former bawdy
house, located in a picturesque working class area now 99% gentrified by yuppies
(“Bobos” in French), will please those looking for great
comfort in style, anticipating service with a sincere smile, and the
feeling to stay in a dreamed Parisian village little bit reminiscent of
Amélie Poulain. With all the spices and music of Turkey or India coming
from the Porte Saint-Denis. Canal St Martin, one of the most romantic
parts of the city, and Beaubourg / Pompidou Center are a 10 minutes
walk away. The rest of Paris is accessible by the metro: the station
Strasbourg Saint Denis, located at the street corner, hubs lines 4, 8,
of the Hotel Providence is not only strategic but also esthetically
perfect. On a cobbled walking street, quite reminiscent of Soho by
least in summer, when the streets are crowded with hipsters heading to
funky pubs and restaurants. In the morning the atmosphere is
so-Parisian, with the terraces oriented to the sun, invaded by colll
patrons only distracted by
the bells of the bicycles. Those who like relaxation and picturesque
will like René Boulanger street.
hotel is intimate. You couldn’t make it look more luxury
boutique: its concept attracts the new generation of travelers.
The concept is so-French in
appearance, though it reminded us quite a lot of the Manhattan, Bowery
or Meatpacking boutique hotels. The service to the 18 rooms
successful bar/restaurant is spontaneous, friendly and simple.
Delphine, the general manager, is often on duty at the reception. This
makes the contact so direct and easy. From the moment we stepped into
we already felt like at home. Shouldn’t it be the refinement of
the design, with vintage 1940's - 50's furniture, precious items
(beautiful lamps by Hugues Rambert), and rich fabrics tailored made for
the hotel by The House of Hackney, you could feel like in one of those
provincial hotels dedicated to traveling salesmen.
The real sensation of luxury and distinction pops up once in the room. Small and cozy, they are all different. What we shall look for, when we come back, is a one of those seducing rooms with a balcony: if possible with a view on the stylish Theatre de la Renaissance located just across the street. We spent the whole day with open windows, sitting al fresco: working, drinking coffee, watching complimentary VOD movies on the Apple TV, or simply contemplating the street life. That was fantastic. The design of the room could be described as precious, but always with a perfect taste. It looks like a little bit the legendary L’Hôtel, rue des Beaux Arts. We loved the wooden floors, the precious designer’s fabrics, the vintage furniture and the private cocktail bar featured in each room. A masterpiece of furniture and a totally new concept, certainly unique in the world, it features a selection of alcohols and juices, plus all the ingredients and recipes to prepare your personalized cocktail. This anti-minibar brings a note of fantasy and elegance. Bathrooms are definitely smart; the toiletry is a unique brand for Hotel Providence. Windows are soundproofed, and the rooms individually air-conditioned. Those who like spacious accommodation will prefer the 2 junior suites, or the actually Parisian Suite, much used by models, pop and movie stars for TV interviews and photo shootings. It has a nice bathroom with an antique tub.
We liked the already mentioned complimentary VOD TV filled with the latest blockbusters, the high-speed WiFi (complimentary too, it can be used on the Apple TV network), and the convenient bedside multi-media USB plugs.
We had a so-French breakfast at the bar / restaurant. Though the room is supremely designed, we rather used the terrace to enjoy the best Financier-Cake in Paris, freshly squeezed orange juice, and a strong, richly blended espresso.
HOTEL D'AUBUSSON (****L): Restaurants, nightlife, luxury shopping plus intricated streets, lanes and courtyards driving to historical sights make Saint-Germain-des-Prés one of our favourite areas in Paris. There are plenty of nice hotels; though the top class hospitality segment remains quite unexplored. Located in a nicely refurbished 17th Century stately mansion, the D'Aubusson remains one of the most lavish, real four star hotels in the yet chic and expensive Paris 6th district. The 49 rooms and suites are actually spacious compared with the Left Bank standards. We booked a “Grand Luxe” room. A perfect choice. Quiet, with a view either on the indoor patios, either on the rue Christine, it was as large (about 30 sq. m) as comfy. Displaying original beams and an elegant period design, with a suede head-boarded king-size bed, broad mahogany work desk, flat screen LCD satellite television and a DVD player, plus an ipod dock-station. We have well noted that broadband Internet WiFi was provided free-of-charge: not only in the rooms, but also in the public areas. Which is very fine in Paris: where most of the luxury hotels generally apply a hefty charge for this service. We also loved the Hermès toiletry in the large, classy bathroom (equipped with a hot tub Jacuzzi), and the gourmand gifts delivered to the guests as soon as they have stepped into their room. If home is where the heart is, the hotel d'Aubusson is actually a beautiful one.
Connoisseurs will feel amazed by the breathtaking beauty of the reception rooms: a unique, museum-like atmosphere, with stone walls patinated by the centuries, Versailles parquet floors, beams, antique furniture, and a monumental fireplace made of Burgundy stone. We had our breakfast (excellent, by the way!) in a “petit-salon”, featuring a rare, genuine 17th century Aubusson tapestry. Except a couple of palace-hotels on the Right-Bank, there is no hotel in Paris displaying such a treasure to please the guest's eyes.
After dark, the Café Laurent, flanked by the so pleasant inner courtyard, echoes the babbling of a discreet water feature and, each week-end, the rhythm of sophisticated jazz live melodies.
The Hotel d’Aubusson stands just a stone’s throw from Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Orsay museum, and the Luxemburg Garden. The Latin Quarter is a five minutes walk. One would hardly find a better location to explore the romantic Left Bank. Warmly recommended to those looking for a smart romance in Paris, this is a second to none boutique hotel where guests -many Americans- like to come again and again.
Rates start from approximately EUR 305 for a “Classique” room, till up to EUR 515 for a “Prestige” room. A “Junior Suite” suite costs EUR 625. Our “Grand Luxe Room” was charged EUR 475 (plus EUR 75 for one extra bed) in peak summer season, and the full-buffet breakfast costs EUR 25. Very attractive promotions and Internet rates are available all year long.
HOTEL D'AUBUSSON: 33, Rue Dauphine, 75006 Paris
PHONE: +331 43 29 43 43 FACSIMILE: +331 43 29 12 62
RELAIS CHRISTINE (****L): The most famous hideaway hotel in Paris, with a well established reputation amongst travellers worldwide, stands in a XIVth century mansion located at the top end of one of those lanes which still make Saint-Germain-des-Près one of the most picturesque area in the capital city of France. In the whole heart of the romantic left-bank of the River Seine, a short walk away from prestigious fashion and antique shops, famous cafés where the intelligentsia like to join night and day, and worth the trip monuments (like Notre-Dame and the Louvre), the Relais Christine offers a dreamed location.
With its lovely courtyard, flowering private garden (which is a real luxury in Paris), the hotel is loveable at first sight. First step inside shows a cosy wood-panelled lounge with open fireplace and smooth sofas, next to a somehow secrete bar. Secrecy resumes on the upper floors, in the quiet and well-fitted 51 rooms and suites. Different one from another, they are bright and cosy. Wooden beams, toile de Jouy, Louis XIII antique furniture are in line with the left bank spirit. This is the place for romance: with a level of intimacy and graduated luxury one just can find in that kind of well managed historical residence. The XXIst century only knock at the door with its advantage: air conditioning, direct dial-phone, minibar, cable TV, safety boxes, round the clock room service, laundry and parking are completing the four star comfort of the Relais Christine.
Having breakfast in a vaulted cellar from the 16th century, flanked by a genuine well and fireplace, remaining witnesses of the time when this room was the kitchen of the Abbey founded by Saint Louis in the 12th century, is a pleasure one can find nowhere else but at the Relais Christine. Where the past shows his real operative face and unmatched style. Even business discussions go with style: in the 13th century vaulted meeting-room, which can accommodate up to 20 people around an oval table. It is equipped with air conditioning, an overhead projector, a screen, a TV/VCR unit, and a paperboard.
start from about USD 236 for a single room, till a maximum of
USD 580 for a suite in the peak periods. The lovely Deluxe Duplex start
at USD 450, till USD 513. An interesting winter package (accommodation
in a double room, buffet breakfast and museum pass for two) is also
RELAIS CHRISTINE: 3, rue Christine 75006 Paris
PHONE: +331 40516080 FACSIMILE: +331 40516081
L'HOTEL (****L): This is the definition of the romantic boutique hotel in Paris. In this four stars deluxe house, there is no magnetic pass to open the doors, but a good old key attached to an heavy bronze medal representing Oscar Wilde. Here died, in 1900, the famous Irish writer and playwright: "-Over my means !", he used to tell his last visitors, leaving his last "bon mot" to what was then a third class hotel. His room (number 16) is a reconstitution by Guy-Louis Duboucheron, who relaunched L'Hôtel in 1968 under a new top luxury version, which has been recently re-designed by Jacques Garcia.
This is a real success: the vaulted cellars -built up by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux- become the most elegant rustic reception room in town, the celebrities like to have a cocktail in the bar on the ground floor -note the piano is small, but this is a Steinway- while the stars like Elisabeth Taylor, the Beatles or, more recently, the writer and "fugitive" Salman Rushdie, hide in the rich and original rooms: number 36 allows you to sleep in Mistinguett's Art-Deco bed, number 25 is an apartment with living room, American kitchen, and terrace with a view over the legendary roofs of Paris... and don't forget number 18, a psychedelic delirium for pop art eccentrics. We booked in room 22, and it was the good choice: classic and romantic, with a nice bathroom made out of venetian marble.
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