WHAT’S IT LIKE? Like a cross between an art gallery and a spa, where impossibly beautiful and elegant people (almost certainly French) try not to rub shoulders with the rest of us. The hotel opened in 2002 having converted five buildings from the Hausmanian period into a single hotel. Corridors sometimes rise in a gradual slope or drop a few steps showing when you are passing from one building to another, but on the exterior it’s hard to notice – the lowest façade was detached and raised in order to align the different façades, and you almost have to stand directly outside the hotel to find the entrance – I walked past it twice, and that was after checking in and then going for a stroll.
The hotel is centred around two internal courtyards and the interiors by Ed Tuttle of Amanresorts fame are understated while somehow always fighting for your attention. You can never forget you’re in a Park Hyatt, what with the art collection featuring originals by Ed Paschke, Sam Gilliam, and French Sculptress Roseline Granet, whose work is found throughout the hotel starting with a large bronze sculpture entitled “Le Grand Couple en Marche” in the foyer, but also bronze door handles and lamps, and other fixtures in the public spaces and bedrooms.
The entrance to the hotel may be very discreet, but with the number of celebrities you’ll probably find a pack of paparazzi (not sure of the most appropriate collective noun – a huddle of paparazzi, a hysteria?) outside the door. Once inside the limestone foyer has a concierge desk to the left but then you walk down a few stairs past the first of the courtyards – Les Orchidées, the restaurant-lounge – to where reception faces out onto the second courtyard – open-air called La Terrasse.
WHERE IS IT? On the Rue de la Paix, one minute from Place Vendôme and close to the Opera House and the shopping on Faubourg St. Honoré.
ROOMS The 162 rooms including 36 suites over six floors are both traditional and modern, with mahogany panelling, yet new Samsung flat screen TVs. The rooms are relaxing and understated on the eye, have walk in closets, Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems, satellite television and high-speed Internet access (€19 per 24 hours). Despite the modernity, they seem older than the public areas – not worn, but a little less anxious to get your attention, which is all for the better. The bathrooms have two sliding mahogany floor-to-ceiling “disappearing doors” and once inside there is a separate French limestone rain shower and bath with sinks for in-shower shaving and heated floors once you are out. Toiletries are by the in-house parfumerie Blaise Mautin. Note that some rooms are noisier than others, and those overlooking Rue Volney can be quite noisy in the morning when the bins are emptied – I was already awake, but if I hadn’t been, this 0730 crashing would have had me hiding my head under the pillows. There are rooms overlooking the courtyard, which is probably a better bet, although since we sat outside in one of them (La Terrasse) until 0200, perhaps avoid that one as well.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS For buffet breakfast there is the Les Orchides, a covered courtyard where you can spend anything from €30 to €50 each on Continental or American-style options. La Terrasse is the other courtyard, open air, and open all day (and into the early hours), and behind that is the bar, which is darker and all the better for it, with two large candelabras by Granet, black glass tables with bronze trim, and mahogany wall panels to contrast with the limestone’s light, sandy-beige tones. For dinner the Michelin-starred Le Pur seats 50. You enter along a glass wine wall for a menu by Executive Chef Jean François Rouquette, with French “terroir” menu of fresh seafood and grilled meats (Charolais, Angus, French lamb) served on Jaune de Chrome’s Christian Lepage china. There is a small chef’s table by the kitchen which can be screened off from the rest of the restaurant by a surrounding curtain (€300 per person and a minimum of four people).
BUSINESS CENTRE AND MEETING ROOMS Park Hyatt isn’t a meetings hotel but the lower floor has five and there are two more boardroom style meetings on the first floor. It’s classily done, with one room having oak floors, mirrors, bronze fixtures, and gold- and silver- leafed cornices and ceiling.
LEISURE ACTIVITIES Le Spa on the lower ground floor is exclusively for hotel guests and has a small gym, limestone steam rooms, a whirlpool bath and a sauna as well as four treatment rooms including one for couples with wood floors, mahogany walls, stone showers.
VERDICT Fabulous, with a price point to match, but if you are staying here you probably aren’t looking at the bill too closely (its competitive set is the Nearby Ritz and Le Meurice). The suites range from spacious to magnificent, the service is impeccable and the interiors are French-inspired but international and very classy.
- HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 162 rooms, including 36 suites.
- ROOM HIGHLIGHTS All have separate rain showers and bath tubs, but really it’s the unique style of the rooms – Park Hyatt minimalist chic with French touches like the dark wood panelling.
- PRICE Internet rates for a mid week stay in October in a Park Deluxe King rooms cost from Euro760 per night, room only.
- CONTACT 5 Rue de la Paix, +33 1 5871 1234; paris.vendome.hyatt.com