Tried & Tested

Hotel review: Hôtel de Berri

14 Dec 2018 by Becky Ambury
The lobby at Hotel de Berri

Background

Part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, Hôtel de Berri, opened in May 2018 on the site of what was once fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s home and behind the protected facade of a 1970s office building designed by architect Maurice Novarina. The hotel is owned by the Dokhan family, who also own the famous Le Dokhan’s hotel.

Where is it?

In the heart of Paris, just off the Champs Élysées. As such it’s well connected, equidistant between Metro lines 1 and 9, with Saint-Philippe-du-Roule and George V stations a five minutes’ walk. The business district, La Defense, is just over ten minutes on line 1 and most of the city’s most famous sights are within walking distance — the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Musée de Orsay are around 30 minutes.

Sculpture at Hotel de Berri, Paris

What’s it like?

Though Hôtel de Berri’s exterior has a restrained, elegant modernity, there is a change in tempo once you enter, akin to Alice stepping through the Looking Glass. The lobby verges on the surreal in its flamboyance, with black-and-white chequered floor, pillars, and marble, both fake and real. An eclectic mix of furniture is classic in silhouette but with marvellous fabrics, from leopard print to brick and beyond.

Art, particularly sculpture, is a hallmark of the hotel’s interior design (there is even a Sculpture Court) and replicas of classical works abound, some from the Louvre’s cast workshop itself. Everyday it is not, glamorous it is.

Junior Suite at Hotel de Berri

Rooms

There are 85 guest rooms and 35 suites in seven categories: Superior (Queen bed), Deluxe (king bed), Junior Suites, Signature Suites, Prestige Suites, Berri Suites and the Parisian Suite. Superiors start at 22 sqm, Deluxe at 32 sqm, going right up to the 115 sqm Parisian Suite.

All of the rooms have an individual look that is striking but also conducive to rest and relaxation. My Junior Suite (55 sqm) is cosseting and luxurious, with plush carpet and embroidered wall coverings in blues and greys and greens. While colours don’t entirely coordinate, the room has a harmonious feel; designer Philippe Renaud’s eccentric approach reaps rewards and even the leopard-print furniture feels right at home, giving a lived in air.

Embroidered wall coverings at Hotel de Berri

The main space is long and narrow-ish, with a large window at one end, which means there there isn’t much natural light in parts. However, that suits the opulent, decadent decor. There is a handsome desk next to the window, then a living space, followed by a king-size four poster bed, which also means it is near the room’s entrance. While I could occasionally hear noise from the corridor, it wasn’t particularly intrusive and the bed was incredibly comfortable.

Mirrors help to boost the feeling of space and reflect light around the room. They also hide a secret, with one above the faux fireplace and the mirrored wall at the foot of the bed also smart TVs – the screens only become visible when switched on. An iPad controls both TVs, the sound system in here and in the bathroom, the blinds and the lights (there are three brightness settings). Newspapers and other publications are also available via this free of charge.

Bathroom Hotel de Berri

The splendid marble bathroom also holds some innovative features – a Japanese-style toilet (once experienced never forgotten) and pods of essential oils that can be fitted to the handheld shower for an aromatherapy wash. More traditional elements are a large double vanity and deep freestanding tub, with toiletries from Diptyque. Both the toilet and shower are in their own compartments with doors and the bathroom has a heated floor.

Other features include a well-stocked minibar and tea and coffee-making facilities. Good quality wifi is free throughout the hotel.

The Bizazz Bar, Hotel de Berri

Food and drink

While cocktails are taken seriously in the glamorous, Twenties style bar, Bizazz, the mood is light-hearted with renowned mixologist Christopher Gaglione responsible for the creative menu. Despite the bar’s reasonable size, it has an intimate, fun feel, especially when there is a performance on the grand piano. The bar looks out onto a 3,000 sqm garden, which is still in the process of being finished, and which will be a boon in summer.

The Schiap restaurant, Hotel de Berri

Schiap, the restaurant, is a complete contrast to the rest of the hotel, with a fresher, lighter look featuring emerald green velvet seating and an extensive wall fresco of Parisienne street scenes. Chef Michele Dalla Valle is responsible for the menu of updated Italian classics, with a focus on excellent produce – the burrata I try as part of an antipasto is sublime, as is the vitello tonnato (veal with tuna sauce).

Leisure

The hotel has a small spa, with tropical shower and hammam, and a 24-hour gym. All guests can request that a rowing machine or treadmill is installed in their room for their stay. The 3,000 sqm garden will also provide a place to relax when it opens next spring.

Meetings

There is a meeting space that can accommodate around 60 people in a theatre set up. The hotel can supply equipment.

Verdict

A world away from the everyday, this luxurious option offers both classic glamour and the latest technology. The bar and restaurant can stand alone as places to visit while in Paris and the soon-to-open garden is a rare find in this location. Staying here feels very special, but, of course, this level of design and detail doesn’t come cheaply.

  • Best for An indulgent stay in a unique, eclectic setting
  • Don’t miss The 3,000 sqm landscaped garden when its finished – a rare find in this part of Paris
  • Contact 18-22 Rue de Berri, 75008 Paris; +33 1 76 53 77 70; marriott.com
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