This story originally appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of Elite Traveler.
When a hotel opens in Paris, it needs to be pretty special to stand out. Hôtel de Berri does just that. Behind a deceptively understated facade, just off the Champs-Élysées, maximalist interiors house an extraordinary collection of sculptures, paintings and antiques.
The 1970s office building sits on a storied site formerly occupied by the townhouse residences of Parisian elite—notably, Princess Mathilde and fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. When the Dokhan family, noted Parisian hoteliers, acquired the property, they set about creating a celebration of this history through classical and French decorative arts.
Renowned designer Philippe Renaud led the hotel’s contemporary design, and the Dokhan brothers filled it with their private art and antiques collection. After placing their late grandmother’s Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos clock on the restaurant fireplace, the brothers decided they needed one by each chimney, so they scoured antique shops across France. Now, they have more than 40 of these valuable timepieces.
You might have an Atmos clock, or artwork by Picasso, in your room, but it’s the panels of ancient Greek relief and Roman statues decorating the hotel that first grab your attention.
Vibrant shades of emerald green, gold and magenta are playfully paired with splashes of leopard print, stripes, swathes of marble and a fascinating mix of antique furnishings in each sprawling suite. The 1,237-sq-ft Parisian Suite has a more muted color scheme than most, with shades of taupe, oyster, gold and navy blue, and a skylight and garden-view windows. You can control almost everything through your suite’s tablet, from the lights and curtains to the Apple TV.
Le Schiap As its name suggests, this Italian restaurant led by Tuscan chef Michele Dalla Valle is a nod to the designer who once called this address home. It is dedicated to the food of Schiaparelli’s home country, and the restaurant’s mural by renowned French artist Hippolyte Romain illustrates fashion society. Spot famous faces like Karl Lagerfeld in the colorful artwork while dining on seafood pasta or asparagus risotto.
Flooded with dappled light from windows facing onto the hotel’s private garden, the intimate spa offers the kind of tranquility that can be hard to come by in the city. Soak up the restorative heat of the two hammams, refresh in the tropical shower and try Carita therapies in the two treatment rooms.
Follow a couple of hours unwinding here with an aperitif in Le Bizazz bar. The oyster, dark wood and marble-columned cocktail bar also looks out on the enclosed garden, which, altogether, covers more than 32,000 sq ft of ancient trees and rambling ivy. Try the innovative cocktails created by the talented bartender, Delphine.
Spend Sunday morning browsing the boutiques of the antiques market, Les Puces de Saint-Ouen — it’s a favorite of the Dokhan brothers. Hôtel de Berri’s concierge can arrange a tour of Les Puces with Paul Henri, the founder of ultra-exclusive tour provider Paris Addict — Henri knows the area inside out and can introduce you to individual antiques dealers. Refuel with brunch at the Philippe Starck-designed restaurant, Ma Cocotte.
If you’re inspired by the hotel’s collection of Atmos clocks, visit the Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique on Place Vendôme.