Those with an eye on the Paris hotel scene have watched its luxury segment go through a pretty radical upgrade over the better part of the last decade.
Traditional Palace hotels – Hotel Ritz, Hotel de Crillon, Royal Monceau, the Plaza Athénée and the Lutetia – closed their doors for multi-year transformations. New brands joined in – Mandarin Oriental on Rue St. Honoré, The Peninsula on Ave Kléber, and Shangri-La on Ave d’Iéna to name a few. Others – Four Seasons George V, Park Hyatt Vendome – renovate and refresh piece by piece while keeping doors open.
Whether Louis XV, Art Deco, or Starck’s whimsy is your style of choice to wake up in, if budget isn’t a consideration anything is possible.
There are new options in other price brackets too: The Hoxton, just over six months old, seems to have caught on with Parisians just as much as with the Dutch, judging by how packed the restaurant, bar and public spaces are at any time.
Not even a five-minute walk away, Experimental Group opened its second hotel, Hotel des Grands Boulevards, with 50 rooms, a restaurant and roof terrace. Micro ‘budget-chic’ hotels aren’t available in quite the same way as in a city like New York, but there is some progress to note. We take a look at the latest in Paris hotel news.
Starting with the last of the Palace hotels still under reconstruction, Hotel Lutetia still has June 2018 as reopening on its website, but reservations have been pushed back into July, starting a shade under the magic €1,000 a night for a Superior Room under its opening offer package.
Having had a chance to peek inside ourselves, we wish opening in a month or so is in the cards, but it wouldn’t surprise us if a little more patience is needed. Expect a variety of restaurants and bars within a completely reconfigured ground floor, 184 rooms and suites with clean lines and, similar to sister hotel Café Royal in London, striking light-marbled bathrooms. Courtyard-facing rooms contrast dark wooden floors with whites and pale greys while those looking out over Boulevard Raspail add a rich blue on some of the walls and in the furniture.
Multiple stories were excavated underneath the hotel to make room for an Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre, with treatment rooms and a 17-meter pool.
Tempting us with reservations from June 28 for its 128 rooms and suites in the 8th arrondissement is Maison Astor Paris. Once open, the hotel – originally built by John Jacob Astor IV (also behind the St. Regis Hotel and the Astoria Hotel [now Waldorf-Astoria] in New York) – will be the second hotel of Hilton’s Curio Collection in the French capital.
The first is Niepce Paris, so new the paint has barely dried. It takes its name from Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, a pioneer in photography, and Janine Niépce, who was a distant relative and celebrated French photographer and journalist. Its 52 rooms are set in a row of townhouses in the 14th, near Montparnasse.
With another property under development in the 7th due to open sometime next year and its hotel near the Opéra, Hilton will have gone from no central Paris properties (there used to be the business hotel in La Défense, an airport hotel, and Trianon Palace in Versailles) to four in half a decade.
Moving on to another major hotel chain, Hyatt has been working across Paris on revamping its portfolio. Park Hyatt Vendôme – its contender in the Palace bracket – is quietly touching up its 153 accommodations.
Only a few minutes away on Rue de Rivoli, Hotel du Louvre will reopen in September as part of the group’s Unbound Collection (rather than becoming Andaz Paris), with 165 rooms and suites, a new lobby, bar and restaurant. Hyatt Paris Madeleine comes in at about half that size, with 85 refreshed rooms including 14 new suites.
On a completely different scale at 995 rooms and suites, and attached to the Palais de Congrès, Hyatt Regency Etoile has finally scrubbed all memories of the old Concorde Lafayette with a complete renovation.
There is a new lobby, restaurant, Regency Club lounge, and the 34th floor panoramic bar – long an eighties throwback – will follow this month. If that isn’t enough, a dual-branded Hyatt Place and Hyatt House property will open at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in 2020.
Jumping into the autumn months of this year, in September we’ll be finding out luxury grocer Fauchon’s interpretation of hospitality, with the arrival of Fauchon L’Hôtel Paris – like Maison Fauchon itself on Place de la Madeleine in the 8th arrondissement.
The original 1886 headquarters of the company has been converted to house 54 rooms and suites, all with bold Fauchon pink accents. Café Fauchon has both indoor and outdoor seating and serves food and drinks from 7am to midnight. Plans still call for multiple Fauchon hotels around the world.
By late September, Evok Hotels Collection is planning to open Brach Paris, in the 16th near the Bois de Boulogne. A glass façade includes trees and hanging foliage, with inside 59 rooms designed by Philippe Starck. A rooftop garden will offer views across the city; rates quickly race past the €500 mark for a classic room with breakfast.
Another hotel will follow in the first half of 2019 on one of most beautiful squares in the city: Place des Vosges. With only twelve apartments and a ‘tea room’, Cour des Vosges will offer ‘a mixture of 17th century splendour and 1970s design’ and can be rented by the day or by the week.
We said micro ‘budget-chic’ hotels weren’t available in Paris in quite the same way as they are in New York, but Dutch brand citizenM is intent on doing its part to change that. Right now, you have a hotel at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, in the business district of La Défense, and next to Gare de Lyon.
That already comfortably gives the group 500 rooms in Paris, but another three hotels are planned: near Opera, at Porte Maillot, and at an as-yet undisclosed central location. Expect that to take room count over the 750 mark, with expansion elsewhere just as aggressive.
Walking down Avenue George V from the Champs-Elysées, you have three luxury hotels within spitting distance from each other: Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet, Prince de Galles, and Four Seasons George V (the last two actually being neighbours).
By the start of the next decade, a fourth will join the fray, diagonally across the road from the George V: Bulgari Paris. Work is in full swing, with eventually there being 76 rooms (the majority of which will be suites), a courtyard garden, restaurant and bar, and spa with pool. Later this year, Four Seasons George V should reveal the work that has been ongoing on its spa and pool.
Another major arrival in the same bracket is Cheval Blanc Paris, the conversion of department store La Samaritaine, right on the Seine at Pont Neuf. The mixed-use complex will have a 72-room hotel under LVMH’s luxury hotel brand (the three current Cheval Blanc hotels are in Courchevel, St. Barths, and the Maldives) along with all the facilities you’d imagine, due sometime towards 2020.
Around that time, Kimpton Hotels will open its Paris property on Boulevard des Capucines in the Opéra district, with 122 rooms and 27 suites. Remaining in a more distant future are the skyscraper hotels part of Hermitage Plaza, Tour Triangle, and Tours Duo.
Paul J DeVries