The Paris hotel scene just keeps on giving, and the latest palaces to pop up are nothing short of exceptional. Best part is, the City of Light has been off limits thanks to our old foe Covid, so there’s even more reason to visit than ever to check out what’s in and what’s not en vogue.
Yes, there are your iconic grand dames from Le Meurice to The Ritz and everything else in and around Place Vendôme, but thanks to raw new talent, cool new chefs like Jean Imbert spicing up old bird Plaza Athénée and the Italians (we all know they’ve got unbeatable style), Paris is having somewhat of a hotel renaissance.
In other words, old city grandeur is getting a much-needed injection of new world energy, and these are the latest kids on the block that are breathing life into the once tired walls of the Belle Époque.
Hotel Madame Reve, 1st arrondissement
What can I say about Madame Reve? She likes to party, and hard; has a soft spot for all things ultra-slick, alternative; and simply just wants to show the middle finger to every single hotel within a mile of her. She’s a witty, unstuffy French girl who has no time for BS, which is part of her charm. This philosophy is well engrained into all that work in her. Think sexy, to-the-point concierges, and waiters and barmen hell-bent on showing you what Paris is all about: laugh-out-loud gratuitous fun. Alors.
As soon as you enter the place – once a former post office – you’ll be put under her seductive spell. Everything is draped in a luminous halo (fallen from grace, obviously), from the high columned ceilings, ornate gothic-esque chandeliers and deliciously golden oak panels. The suites are an absolute knockout with unique, Disney-esque Ratatouille movie views over the chimneys and rooftops of central Paris.
Tip: get the Eiffel tower pad to bare all in the tub and shower. Your non-bashful neighbors are the Louvre and the Bourse de Commerce, so you are in good company. The hotel’s top-story restaurant La Plume offers good schooling in French Asian fusion cuisine and is a prime date night spot come sundown. And don’t miss the rooftop, a great big, green open space to take in the views from your very own la dolce-style sunbed.
Bulgari Paris, 8th arrondissement
It’s Bulgari, so you know extreme decadence is on the cards. Close to Parisian hotel icons Plaza Athenee and Le Bristol, the new kid on the block is injecting a bit of much-needed cool to the well-heeled folk of the so-called Golden Triangle. Ten years in the making, Italian (naturally) architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel were tasked with sprucing up the former 1970s post office over two floors and creating the façade with the same and instantly recognizable pale ashlar masonry you see decorated over all the other palaces (including the Louvre) in town.
Rooms and suites look on to either George V – the hotel’s home – or towards the pretty courtyard. Everything is on the muted side with a dash of color here and there, thanks to pop-fresh furniture from Maxalto and bling jewelry prints from the Bulgari archive. Parquet floors, plush linens, and bathrooms complete with dual headed showers and roomy tubs are also part of the deal.
Who stays here? Very swish corporate types and the fashion conscious who swan in all their Prada and Gucci to toast out the day come aperitivo hour. It’s maximalism, but on the demure chic, which, in English, basically means minimalism done good and tastefully, too.
JK Place Paris, 7th arrondissement
Italy meets Paris, la dolce style in the ever so trendy Saint-Germain. What could go wrong? Well, in the case of this Rue du Lille sweetheart, nothing actually. The work of celebrated Florentine designer, Michele Bönan, this dreamy (it really is) boutique might just be the chicest of Ori Kafri’s growing JK empire.
His first venture outside of Italy – you’ll find the other two in Capri and Rome – has been an instant hit among the high-flying alt set in search of something away from the grandeur of Paris’s mighty grand dames. With just 29 rooms, the arty maison delivers with all its chic, cozy corners filled with coffee table books, art pieces, African chairs, canvases, and classical Italianate busts. Oh, and let’s not forget those gorgeous Balmain and Hermès sketches, too.
The whole thing is spread over five floors connected by a rather grand and ornate staircase that slithers up the heart of the hotel. Rooms are dressy, but not over the top and are decorated in soft creams and the odd dash of beige. Color pops are largely thanks to the mountain of Assouline books (Capri had pride of place in our room) and preppy Ralph Lauren-esque stationary. Bathrooms are mammoth and well-lit; the restaurant serves excellent al dente pasta, and it’s well worth checking into the spa for a pamper session with celeb-favorite Barbara Sturm.
Chateau Voltaire, 1st arrondissement
For those that really want to be in the middle of it all, this new number slap bang in the middle of the 1st arrondissement is where it’s at. Unveiled during the heat of Fashion Week, Chateau Voltaire is the baby of the co-founder of cult fashion label Zadig & Voltaire, Thierry Gillier, and in its former life was once the brand’s uber-chic showroom.
Elegance is the theme that runs throughout, and thankfully, it’s not in any shape or form, gratuitous maximalist luxe. Rather, home-style comforts reign supreme with spaces draped in prints, take-home totems and theatrical ornamental busts. It’s suspiciously fluid, in an unforced, unstuffy kind of way. Somewhat refreshing for Paris city hotels in our books.
Thirty-two rooms are up for grabs, the most impressive of all is The Apartment hidden away on the fourth floor. The plant festooned terrace is the main showstopper with boulevard views under the choked Parisian skies. Dusty pink or mellow yellow velvet sofas are perfect for relaxing the tushes post a busy day of exploring the sites and the roomy beds are deliciously comfortable.
The GM’s bulldog Bobby is also super cute and worth meeting if you’ve got the time after a scrumptious, and very good, breakfast in the brasserie-style restaurant l’Emil.
Soho House Paris, 9th arrondissement
It’s been the talk of the town for quite some time now and around the world and has been perhaps the most-awaited of the Soho Houses to open its doors in the last few years. Set in the heart of gritty Pigalle between the 9th and the 18th arrondissements, the vibe is 19th century townhouse meets every Parisian stereotype imaginable: sprawling garden courtyard, arty rooms and over-the-top boudoirs, sexy dim-lit bars and a cabaret space set to a roster of saucy shows and house meet-ups.
The whole thing is the result of a four-year renovation project that saw French poet Jean Cocteau’s former home transformed into a buzzing, intimate speakeasy for the creative glitterati (the house already counts Dua Lipa and more as fans). Thankfully, all the fab Art Deco details remain, alongside all the intricate wall paneling, hand painted lampshades and luscious, almost naughty, tasseled velvets.
Rooms vary from ultra cozy (especially up in the attic) to grand boudoir featuring original raftered ceilings and probably one of the sexiest bathtubs we’ve ever seen. The crew that man the ship are cheeky and playful, so you’re guaranteed to have a good time here, especially when the sun sets.