Paris: Hotel Guides

Natasha Edwards

Travel writer and editor

Paris hotels have been going through an incredible renewal over the past few years, not just at the grand hotels with the arrival of international groups, but also smaller more modest establishments, many adding designer décor, bars, lounges and spas

Best for… Spa: Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris

Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris

This grand 1920s hotel between the Arc de Triomphe and Parc Monceau has been ingeniously revisited by Philippe Starck, with slightly naughty touches like the red lanterns along the street and cascade of chandeliers in the stairwell. Without doubt the city’s preferred pampering spot, the huge maze-like all-white Clarins spa and fitness complex combines a glorious spa with a large indoor pool and high-tech fitness rooms. Expert staff provide an extensive range of body treatments (people rave about their massages), but pride of place has to go to the My Blend facial treatments, where electric probes are used to analyse the skin and come up with customised treatments. The hotel also declares itself an art hotel, with original artworks and a guitar in every room, even a movable recording studio, gallery and in-house cinema. The ground-floor works particularly well, with its seating corners, illuminated cocktail bar and Italian and Japanese restaurants.

37 Avenue Hoche, 75008


Best for… Budget: Hôtel Ekta

Htel Ekta

Following a 1960s and ’70s black and white fashion theme in tribute to the minidresses of Courrèges, this cleverly converted 1969 office block offers fun accommodation and bargain prices for its prime position on a side street off the Champs-Elysées. Framed fashion photos taken for the hotel by Benjamin Deroche adorn the landings and bedrooms, which feature wraparound bedheads and vintage style lamps, while in-suite artwork see fashion models emerging from mirrors. Breakfast is eaten in a first-floor lounge, there’s a tiny hidden roof terrace garden at the rear, while some of the fifth-floor rooms have balconies with slinky white furniture overlooking the street.

52 Rue Galilée, 75008


Best for… Luxury: Saint James Paris

Saint James Paris

You almost feel as though you’re staying in your own château in this mansion, built in 1896 by the widow of former president Alphonse Thiers and still home to a private members’ club. Rare for a luxury hotel, a sense of humour wafts from the “crazy chic” décor by Bambi Sloan, where cases of butterflies and fleamarket finds meet leopard prints, chinoiserie and tartan fabrics, a black and white grand stairway that could have come out of My Fair Lady and references to its past as a hot-air ballooning airfield – complete with two balloon-shaped tents on the garden terrace and ballooning wallpaper on the landing. There’s a Moorish-style basement spa and a grandiose portrait-hung gourmet restaurant, under acclaimed chef Virginie Basselot, with less formal dining in the library.

43 Avenue Bugeaud, 75116


Best for… Romance: Hôtel Maison Souquet

Htel Maison Souquet

This historic stone mansion in Pigalle, which was briefly a house of ill-repute, is a perfect setting for the romantic, with welcoming staff and the intimacy of just 20 rooms, each different and each named after a courtesan. Seductive décor by star decorator Jacques Garcia are a feast of luscious fabrics and subtle lighting. Add the appeal of a Moorish-style ceramic tiled lounge with plush Napoleon III-style velvet chairs and appropriately chosen period portraits, plus a wooden panelled bar for relaxing over cocktails and a superb choice of cognac and calvados. The miniature swimming pool and hammam in the cellar await reservation just for you.

10 Rue de Bruxelles, 75009


Best for… Food: Plaza Athénée

Plaza Athne

No less than five restaurants and a bar make this star-studded hotel a foodie destination amid the couture houses of Avenue Montaigne. Alain Ducasse has kept the three Michelin stars at his gastronomic restaurant, despite daring to go without meat, privileging the healthy and “natural” and bringing fish, vegetables and cereals to the fore. On the corner, the 1930s Relais Plaza brasserie grill has long been a favoured haunt of politicians, the Cour Jardin provides outdoor dining in summer under a cascade of flower boxes and the tapestry-lined Galerie provides all-day meals and cakes. Then there’s the streetside Terrasse, prime for snacks and cocktails, and the Bar to sample inventions by cocktail maestro Thierry Hernandez. 208 rooms and suites go from large to giant, decorated in classical or Art Deco style, warmed up with peony reds and splashes of yellow.

25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008


Best for… Family: Le Meurice

Le Meurice

Reigning over the Rue de Rivoli since 1815, Le Meurice of all Paris’s palace hotels wins out for children, with its ideal position just across the street from the Tuileries gardens, with its playgrounds, pony rides, gravel paths and statues. After long putting up with Salvador Dali’s pet ocelots, courteous yet witty staff are ideally prepared for children, can organise treasure hunts around the hotel and provide a little “passport” encouraging kids to discover the city. The bedrooms are suitably lavish with acres of pastel-coloured satin and gigantic walk-in wardrobes. There’s a Valmont spa and the Alain Ducasse restaurant, joined by chef Jocelyn Herland and new Philippe Starck design in 2016, while the more casual Dali restaurant is great for afternoon tea.

228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001


Best for… Business: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel

Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel

The Pullman has 23 well-equipped modular meeting rooms, right up to the Orsay Ballroom, capable of hosting events for up to 400 people, and top-floor conference room gazing over the Eiffel Tower. Originally the ’60s Hilton designed by Raymond Loewy, the French-born designer behind many classic American locomotives, cars and fridges, and redone by Christophe Pillet in 2014, the hotel has 430 spacious, comfortable bedrooms, which is giant for Paris but doesn’t feel too large. Don’t think it’s all about business either. The Eiffel Tower is virtually next door, Franco-American FR/AME restaurant has diverse seating areas, a wine bar and its own vegetable garden – complete with rare breed chickens that may have laid some of the eggs for Sunday brunch.

18 Avenue de Suffren Entrée au 22 Rue Jeany Rey, 75015


Best for… Design: Hôtel Vernet

Htel Vernet

Recently redecorated by François Champsaur, this Belle Époque hotel just off the Champs-Elysées is a sophisticated blend of contemporary style and period Parisian character. The relaxed lifestyle approach can be seen in the lobby-cum-lounge where the reception is discreetly hidden, and in the comfortable bedrooms and suites with massive solid curved oak doors, a feast of cushions and graphic mosaic bathrooms. Champsaur worked with French craftsmen and artists for numerous made-to-measure pieces, such as copper wall sconces, the two long curved blue and green banquette sofas in Restaurant Le V, where excellent modern cuisine is served under a glazed verrière by Gustave Eiffel, and the bar with sculpted wavy grey marble counter and a ceiling painted by artist Jean-Michel Alberola.

25 Rue Vernet, 75008


Best for… Cool: Seven Hôtel

Seven Htel

This Latin Quarter hotel is refreshingly cool and quirky. Different designers were allowed to carry out their fantasies in the seven individually designed suites, from the James Bond themed Agent Secret, complete with giant screen and the DVDs to watch, and Lovez Vous with cow-skinned bath and circular bed, to Eden, where the décor transforms at the flick of a switch. Even the far from standard classic rooms, with floating underlit beds and transparent bathrooms, transport you to another world. There’s a lounge bar for Champagne or cocktails amid a sea of suspended glass bubbles, and a small wood-decked interior courtyard.

20 Rue Berthollet, 75005


Best for… Views: Shangri-La Paris

Shangri-La Paris

This grand residence on Chaillot hill was originally built by Prince Roland Bonaparte, eccentric voyager, botanist and great-nephew of Napoleon, and retains a series of beautifully restored reception rooms awash with imperial monograms and bees. As Gustave Eiffel was a neighbour, the view to the Eiffel Tower was preserved, and some rooms have balconies so close you almost feel you can touch it across the river. Run by the Shangri-La group, it mixes top-hatted doormen and cheongsam-clad receptionists, yet remains definitely Parisian, with gastronomic L’Abeille restaurant overlooking the garden, Shang Palace Cantonese restaurant, and the Bauhinia all-day restaurant serving French and Asian fusion dishes. The former stables contain the CHI spa and a beautiful day-lit swimming pool.

10 Avenue d’léna, 75116


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