Three suites are named after iconic Paris sites, including the Seine, the Eiffel, and the Notre Dame.
It appears the Paris hotel industry has strongly heeded the iconic Audrey Hepburn quote “Paris is always a good idea,” with a spate of unparalleled hotel openings in the past 18 months. We have curated a list of our favorite, new hotels base on specific factors that make each hotel unique, including a hotel with over-the-top opulence, a family owned, passion project in a non-tourist arrondissement, an exclusive townhouse in the gay Marais, a fabulous Art Deco makeover next to the Opera Garnier, and understated luxury in one of the most beloved Paris neighborhoods.
LE CHEVAL BLANC PARIS
Probably the most anticipated hotel launch in Paris in the past year is Le Cheval Blanc. Part of the small, exclusive chain owned by the LVMH group, with locations in the top playgrounds of the rich and famous, including St. Barts, the Maldives, St. Tropez, and Courchevel, the newest addition is the first foray into a major city.
Just a stone’s throw from the Louvre, Le Cheval Blanc, is housed in the former celebrated La Samaritaine department store, an Art Deco stunner from 1928. The eminent New York architect Peter Marino, who is responsible for the worldwide design of many French fashion boutiques, including Chanel and Louis Vuitton, has transformed the building into an extraordinary showplace for the fine art of living. He takes the meaning of luxury to a whole new level by honoring the quality of the Art Deco elements of the original building and using dozens of materials, such as 20 types of marble, woven metal textiles, leather, parchment, and hand painted patinas. Artists and artisans also play a major role in Marino’s design process with a collection of Sonia Delaunay lithographs, marble and plaster lamps by Philippe Anthonioz, an enormous canvas painted by Georges Mathieu, a centerpiece chandelier designed by Laurence Montano, and sculpted furniture from André Dubreuil. The essence of the hotel is summed up in these words by Marino “At Cheval Blanc Paris, you’ll feel the energy and dynamism of the present, living the moment intensely”.
With 72 rooms, Le Cheval Blanc embraces its status as the only hotel in Paris directly overlooking the Seine, and the rooms facing the river have floor to ceiling bay windows. Three suites are named after iconic Paris sites, including the Seine, the Eiffel, and the Notre Dame. The other two are the Ravel, named after the musical genius, which has a grand piano, and the Quintessence, a sprawling, duplex suite measuring over 7,000 square feet, with a staircase inspired by the legendary artists and sculptors Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne.
Earning three-Michelin stars for his dazzling cuisine at La Vague d’Or in St. Tropez, Arnaud Donckele, recreates his three stars in Paris with Provencal and fermented specialties in a deluxe, petite dining room at Plentitude. Look in awe at the gasp-worthy Paris skyline and the Seine from the seventh-floor terraces at Le Tout-Paris while enjoying an aperitif, classic brasserie fare, or a late afternoon crepe or gateau. On the other side of the seventh-floor, Milanese chef Enrico Buonocore, makes seafood the star of the menu, with all ingredients sourced directly from local producers.
To extend your Le Cheval experience, head next door to the newly renovated La Samaritaine department store to shop for the top European fashion brands, and don’t miss the largest beauty and cosmetics department in Europe on the lower level. 8 Quai de Louvre. Tel: +33-1-4028-0000. chevalblanc.com/en/maison/paris
KIMPTON SAINT HONORE
In a parallel move to Le Cheval Blanc, the recently opened Kimpton Saint Honore, across from the Opera Garnier, has refurbished a prized Art Nouveau building which was at one time a branch of La Samaritaine. Constructed in 1916, La Samaritaine de Luxe was expressly opened to attract the wealthy patrons of the arts who attended the opera, dined at Café de la Paix, and stayed at Le Grand Hotel.
The Paris hotel industry has strongly heeded the iconic Audrey Hepburn quote “Paris is always a good idea,” with a spate of unparalleled hotel openings in the past 18 months.
Interior architect Charles Zana has strived to maintain the Art Nouveau elements of the building by restoring the façade of windows embossed with gold, architectural lines, iron balconies painted turquoise, and decorative mosaic flowers. Zana carries it through to the lobby with the original marble and wrought iron staircase and the wood and cast-iron elevator cage, contrasted with sculpted velvet couches, marble coffee tables, and tufted club chairs.
The 149 rooms and 26 suites are done in an Art Deco reboot style, with curved and rounded edges on the custom designed furniture, using a palette of muted pink and taupe, with splashes of burgundy and mustard. The sumptuous bathrooms feature Carrara marble, while the shower and toilet doors are adorned with blue and green stained-glass panels. An espresso machine and electric tea kettle, yoga mats, Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth speakers, bottled still and sparkling water, and a mini bar with gourmet and healthy treats are standard amenities in every room; we wish all hotels did the same. Other pleasing hotel services include a cocktail hour at the bar with complimentary drinks, express check in and out, same-day dry cleaning and laundry service, around the clock concierge services, and complimentary standard and electric bike rentals.
The cuisine by French chef Nicolas Pastot and American Carrie Solomon at the Montecito restaurant is inspired by the healthy lifestyle of southern California with dishes such as San Francisco Cioppino with lobster, seasonal shellfish, and chorizo, scallop ceviche with clementines and radishes, and a passion fruit, American-style cheesecake. A steal of a deal is the three-course lunch menu of an entree, main, and coffee for only 39 Euros
For a cocktail and/or a nosh, go to the Sequoia Rooftop bar, which has knockout views of the city, and where you can practically touch the outside of the magnificent Opera Garnier.
When it comes time to relax and rejuvenate, the Codage spa on the lower level will customize a regiment of skin care products based on your skin type to go with any of their signature treatments. Afterwards, enjoy the heated swimming pool, a compact workout room, and steam room and sauna. 27-29 Blvd des Capucines. Tel: +33-1-8040-7610. kimptonsthonoreparis.com
COUR DES VOSGES
Discreetly hidden behind the doors of a former royal palace constructed in 1605, Cour des Vosges is an unassuming hotel gem. Located on the historic Place des Vosges, the first public square of Paris and lined with formidable brick and limestone townhouses, Cour des Vosges is the first five-star hotel in the central Marais.
With only 12 rooms, this hotel feels more like a luxurious townhouse. The smartly appointed accommodations combine a mix of ancient architectural details with contemporary design, and each room is individually curated by the young and dynamic team of Yann Le Coadic and Alessandro Scotto. There’s also three curators who attended to the art and objets, books, and music for each room. The almost 600 square foot, deluxe suite on the third floor has towering, beamed ceilings, a king-size, stainless steel four-poster bed, two flat screen televisions, and a compact kitchen overlooking the canopy of sculpted trees and the stone fountains of the King Louis XIII Garden.
Tantalize your taste buds with the scrumptious pastries by the award-winning pastry chef Yann Brys at the tearoom on the inviting arcade of the Place des Vosges, along with tempting lunch and dinner dishes such as a turkey and truffle croque-monsieur or classic beef bourguignon.
The hotel is in an ideal spot to discover the treasures of the Marais, including the Picasso Museum and the newly renovated Musée Carnavalet, the museum about the history of Paris, as well as shopping for the latest designer clothes at Sandro and the concept boutique l’Eclaireur. Nearby dining options include neighborhood bistros Chez Janou (famous for its divine chocolate mousse), and the gay owned Des Gars dans la Cuisine. For nightlife, the Marais is the premiere district for gay bars, cafes, and clubs, all clustered on or near the rue des Archives, which is a ten-minute walk from the hotel. 19 Place des Vosges. Tel: +33-1-4250-3030. courdesvosges.com