Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Hotel Montalembert

24 Nov 2007 by Mark Caswell

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Built in 1926, the boutique Hotel Montalembert has a long-standing and well-deserved reputation for discreet luxury. Renovations in 1990 and 2005 have brought the décor and facilities up to date, but managed to retain the hotel’s essential art deco elegance. The Montalembert rightly prides itself on its service, which is both relaxed and efficient. On arrival, I asked the concierge to reserve me a table at a popular restaurant – when I came downstairs 15 minutes later, my taxi was waiting, and I was handed a card with details of the reservation and the restaurant’s address, and a map with the location highlighted. The Montalembert is a member of Epoque Hotels, an international group of boutique and design properties.

WHERE IS IT? In a quiet street off the south end of Rue du Bac, in Saint-Germain-des-Prés on the Left Bank.

HOW MANY ROOMS? 56, including ten Standard (15sqm), nine Superior (18sqm) and 28 Deluxe rooms (22sqm), as well as eight suites.

ROOM FACILITIES Thanks to the recent renovations, most of the rooms now have modern décor in warm shades of brown, although if you want something more classic the Deluxe Traditional rooms are still in Louis XV style, with moulded ceilings and beautiful inlaid wooden beds and wardrobes. All Deluxe rooms have small balconies looking on to the street, while Superior rooms have views onto a large courtyard. Room sizes are small, but this is more than compensated for by the extremely comfortable beds and the well thought-out amenites – all rooms come with minibar, safe, workdesk, hairdryer, umbrella, dressing gown and slippers, and bottles of water are left beside the bed at turn-down every night. Deluxe rooms and suites have flatscreen TVs and DVD players, and will soon all be equipped with Bose iPod speakers (docks are currently available from reception) and CD players/alarm clocks. The bathrooms are also on the bijoux side but have plenty of mirrors to give a feeling of space, and are equipped with showers over the bath and Molton Brown toiletries. The only negative is the difficulty of operating the room keys – it took me quite a while to enter my room every time, but these are due to be replaced next year. Wifi is available throughout the hotel, charged at €8 for 20 mins, €12 for one hour and €29 for 24 hours.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS A quiet and relaxing area to the left of the lobby serves as both bar and restaurant. Breakfast is served here from 7-10.30am, after which there is continuous service from the fine-dining menu from 12-11.30pm (the kitchen is open 24 hours for room service). In summer tables are also laid on the terrace outside, which is screened from the street by leafy plants in pots. Behind the restaurant is a cosy “chimney corner”, with leather chairs and a real log fire in winter, and at the back is a curtained-off private dining room for small functions (book well in advance, as it’s very popular with local politicians). The hotel also works with L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon next door, and can sometimes arrange bookings despite the no-reservations policy.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The business centre is housed in the basement, and comprises a small workstation with one PC (free internet access) and an elegant conference room. The latter has no natural light, but is well-equipped with state-of-the-art technology and can hold up to 20 boardroom-style (30 theatre-style).

LEISURE FACILITIES None, but guests can grab one of Paris’s new city-wide rental bikes from a stand in front of the hotel.

VERDICT An absolute gem of a hotel, even by Parisian standards. The rooms are small but outstandingly comfortable, the public spaces are perfect for smaller business or social meetings, and the staff are young, friendly, and superbly helpful.

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in early January (room-only) started at €335 for a Standard room (24-hour cancellation).

CONTACT Hotel Montalembert, 3 Rue de Montalembert, Paris; tel +33 1 45 49 68 68. For more information on the hotel, go to montalembert.com; bookable through epoquehotels.com.

Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker

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