Top small design hotels in Paris – Designed by the most talented hotel interior designers, those design hotels will awake your senses to an incredible luxury travel and hotel experience in The City of Light.
Hotel de Vendome – Place Vendome
Many people know about the legendary Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, that glamorous, just-revamped celebrity haunt on the Côte d’Azur, but its little sister, the 29-room Hôtel de Vendôme, situated in the very centre of Paris, is a better-kept secret. In a brilliant location only a short distance from the Tuileries garden, the hotel’s discreet exterior gives little away. Built in 1723 as a private mansion, the hotel still exudes old-school opulence, with oak panelling, elaborate crystal chandeliers, billowing ruched curtains and elegant antiques. Service is equally old-school and the friendly staff go out of their way to be accommodating. The one thing the hotel lacked was a great restaurant, and this has now been addressed. The brilliant new 1 Place Vendôme is tucked away on the first floor and has an exquisite, Dior-inspired black, white and dusky-pink interior by Michele Bonan (one of the most well known hotel interior designers, designer behind JK Place Florence & Capri, Ferragamo’s Lungarno Hotels) and unique, fresh, seasonal French food by the award-winning executive chef from the Michelin-starred Restaurant Le Cap.
Hotel Pavilion de la Reine – Place de Vosges
The largest of these four hotels, but so intimate that you’d never know it, the 54-room Hôtel Pavilion de la Reine, which dates from the 19th century, is situated on Place des Vosges, the prettiest square in the Marais, if not Paris. Privately owned, family-run and accessed via a leafy private courtyard, the hidden-gem stakes are high, so much so that Jean Paul Gaultier quietly checked in for a year while his place was being redecorated. The hotel has recently undergone a major refurbishment, and the result is both cosy and glamorous with a sleek contemporary look that incorporates plum-coloured walls, tactile velvet throws and historic portraits. The foyer feels like a private library and leads into a series of intimate seating areas. It’s the sort of place where people grab a drink from the honesty bar and flop in front of the fire. Other new features include the two-treatment-room Spa de la Reine by Carita, which has a Jacuzzi, hammam and gymnasium, and a series of interconnecting rooms ideal for families.
Hotel Daniel – Rue Frederic Bastiat
While the term ‘urban retreat’ is much too liberally used, the 26-room Hotel Daniel in Paris really feels like one. Tucked away between the Champs-Elysées and rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, this Relais & Châteaux hotel combines the intimacy of a private townhouse – one feels immediately at home in the reception rooms, which double as tea salons – with the sophistication of an international hotel. The interior designer Tarfa Salam has fused East and West, deliciously atmospheric 19th-century France with the very latest modern technology, decorating interiors with exquisite Asian antiques, bespoke contemporary furniture and vibrant hand-painted chinoiserie-inspired wallpaper. In classic Haussmann style, rooms on the second and the sixth floor have balconies. The hotel also has a gourmet traditional French restaurant whose menu is injected with subtle oriental influences, in keeping with the rest of the hotel (for example, honey-roasted lamb and chickpeas in Sichuan jus; Roquefort soufflé with pear and lemon thyme), and a lounge and bar offering a very good all-day breakfast.
Hotel Design de la Sorbonne – Rue Victor Cousin
One of five chic Left Bank hotels within the forward-thinking Hôtels Paris Rive Gauche group, the 38-room Hôtel de la Sorbonne is right across the street from the university and close to the boutiques of St Germain. After a major refurbishment by the owners, Pascale and Corinne Moncelli, the hotel has emerged bold and vibrant with individually decorated bedrooms, Regency-style chairs upholstered in refreshingly bright peacock blues, lime greens and silver, carpets with excerpts from classic French literature woven in and graphic botanical-print wallpaper. Every bedroom is different – some have claw-foot baths, others lavish four-posters. Each comes with its own iMac computer, which provides free access to the internet and a means to play DVDs. The hotel group has long supported contemporary artists and photographers, and the revamped Design de la Sorbonne provides the perfect gallery space for a whole new set of creatives. Themes of the work currently on display include ‘explorers and great travellers’, ‘Sorbonne University’ and ‘the passing of time’.
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