Tried & Tested

Hotel review: Pullman Paris Montparnasse

12 Aug 2023 by Hannah Brandler
Pullman Paris Montparnasse room (provided by Accor)

Background

This property first operated under Marriott International’s Le Méridien brand in the 1970s, reopening under Accor’s Pullman Hotels and Resorts brand following a four-year renovation by CUT Architectures in December 2021.

I visited the hotel as part of Accor’s annual Global Meeting Exchange conference, which had a focus on the reimagining of the Pullman brand. The Pullman brand has undergone many lives, with the brand dating back to the 1860s with George Pullman’s sleeper trains.

Accor acquired the brand in 1990 and merged it into its upmarket Sofitel brand in 1993. The Pullman brand was, however, revived in 2007 with a plan to target business travellers and by 2013 it pushed out a new concept – ‘work hard, play hard’ – to appeal to both business and leisure customers.

Since then it has opened properties around the world – there are currently over 140 properties in 39 countries – but the brand has been hard to define and identify, with Accor making little use of its historic heritage.

Fast forward to 2023 and Accor is set to boost the Pullman brand, envisaging it to become the global business hotel brand to cater to the post-Covid workforce, the new generation of business travellers, multi-hyphenates (people with multiple different jobs) and digital nomads. The MICE industry will play a big role in the reimagination of the brand, as will sustainability.

Design features will include flexible, open-plan and contemporary spaces designed to accommodate large scale MICE and social events; modern social spaces with immersive installations; contemporary restaurants and bar experiences; and planet-friendly operations and design.

Paris Pullman Montparnasse has elements of the new vision, though Accor said that Singapore Hill Street (set to open in October) will be the first to feature the reimagined MICE spaces – there is already a property in Orchard Street.

Pullman’s footprint, too, is set to increase, with 50 openings planned in the next five years in locations including Bulgaria, Nairobi,  Laos, Tokyo, Bulgaria, France’s Lyon and Sydney.

While the brand is well-known in Asia, Accor wants “all the big cities” to have a Pullman in the future, with a concerted focus on growth in Europe. There are currently 27 properties across Europe, with two in the UK – Pullman London St Pancras and Pullman Liverpool – while this Paris property joins four others in the French capital.

Pullman Paris Montparnasse view (image by Hannah Brandler)

Where is it?

In the city’s 14th arrondissement, a stone’s throw from Tour de Montparnasse and a 20-minute walk to the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg. Montparnasse Train Station, served by the TGV and suburban Transilien Line N, is around the corner and guests can also use Montparnasse-Bienvenüe metro station for the RER B and lines 4 and 6.

The property is part of the new Les Ateliers Gaîté complex, developed by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, which includes a shopping centre with a large food hall, offices, social housing units, and a seven-floor co-working space Wojo (which is also an Accor brand).

What's it like?

The 32-storey monochromatic skyscraper makes an impression in an area infamous for the high-rise Tour de Montparnasse. Thankfully this 115-metre-high striped, white tetris-like tower, designed by Pierre Dufau in 1972, is much sightlier.

Inside it is vast, with natural light seeping in through the floor-to-ceiling windows and nourishing the lush plants on display. The property feels more like a multi-use complex than a hotel, with an escalator taking guests to the lobby on the mezzanine-style first floor (there are also two lifts) and a desk where staff can guide you to the right part of the hotel.

The lobby is a contemporary space in a concentric design, with this circular feature repeated throughout the hotel, and incredibly open-plan. F&B outlets surround a large seating area draped in greenery where people can work, chat or relax, and an informal reception space dotted with standing desks for check-in (3pm) and check-out (noon).

Pullman Paris Montparnasse public spaces (image by Hannah Brandler)

Aside from refreshing greenery, the lobby has a futuristic feel thanks to neon features, 3D printed sculptures along with digital artworks on screens, and is referred to as Pullman’s Artist Playground.

Sustainability is important to the brand and there are various initiatives at play in this Green Globe-certified hotel. The hotel is equipped with a bio waste tank, allowing it to recycle 95 per cent of its organic waste into biogas, while unsold food is being donated to organisations in the vicinity in partnership with La Banque Alimentaire.

There are also collection points throughout the hotel for plastic, paper and cardboard, and rooms are cleaned with dry steam equipment to reduce water consumption.

Pullman Paris Montparnasse GME 2023 (image by Hannah Brandler)

Rooms

The hotel’s 957 rooms are located on the eighth to 32nd floors, and include 21 rooms for people with reduced mobility, while 12 suites and four apartments start from the 22nd floor.

Rooms range from a Classic at 22 sqm to Deluxe Executive at 30 sqm, with some offering views of the Sacré Coeur on the hill. My Deluxe room on the 30th floor had views of the other side of the city, including the Montparnasse Tower, Saint-Sulpice and the Montparnasse Cemetery.

Higher rooms are recommended for impressive views of the city, though with this comes some noise – I could hear the DJ sets from the rooftop bar and also people in the corridor returning to their rooms after some late-night drinking and dancing.

The rooms feel brand-new thanks to contemporary design with a yellow-ochre colour scheme, terrazzo and walnut veneer details, and art deco-style orb lights which nod to the city’s Jazz Age.

Mirrored walls separate the bathroom, which give the impression of more space, while large windows offer beautiful views of the city of lights.

As the brand is targeted at business travellers, the rooms have been well-designed for this target market and feature a spacious desk with USB and plug sockets, high-speed wifi and a tablet beside the bed with all the hotel information and possibility to WhatsApp the team if you have any queries.

Further amenities include a Chromecast-equipped TV, a safe, a kettle with Betjeman and Barton organic teas (and colourful statement mugs), a coffee machine, complimentary minibar with glass water bottles and some soft drinks, plus a bathroom with a rain shower (some rooms include bathtubs), large dispensers of lovely C.O. Bigelow toiletries, a fluffy bathrobe and slippers.

Pullman Paris Montparnasse UMAMI Burger (provided by Accor)

Food and drink

The hotel features the European debuts of two restaurant brands on the first floor: Umami Burger and Fi’lia. The former is a US venture, with locations predominantly in the US but also in Japan, while the latter is an Ennismore brand and offers Italian cuisine at SLS properties in Miami, the Bahamas and Dubai.

Both have a fun, informal feel, with flashy neon artwork, industrial copper and aluminium accents, open kitchens and orb lamps. Menu-wise, Umami Burger offers classic American burgers as well as Korean-inspired burgers and plant-based options. I watched my delicious Beyond Meat burger get assembled in the open kitchen before enjoying it at one of the long communal tables – the restaurant is well-equipped for group visits and can cater up to 280 diners.

Guests can also experience a mouth-watering breakfast buffet from 6.30-10.30am (7am-11am on weekends), which costs €32 per person – it may seem steep but there’s plenty of choice, including healthy, vegan and gluten-free options and those that cater to varying dietary requirements. The restaurant is closed for the summer period and reopens on 28 August. On the sustainability front, 54 per cent of the food is vegetarian and 56 per cent is locally sourced.

There’s also a grab-and-go counter fuelled by popular coffee brand Coutume.

The 32nd floor is home to the unmissable rooftop Skybar Paris. At 115 metres high, it is the highest open-air rooftop bar in the city and has incredible 180-degree views of the city’s attractions. The bar also serves Asian fusion small plates and signature cocktails, with a DJ set daily (note a minimum spend of €50 per person).

Pullman Paris Montparnasse skybar (provided by Accor)

Meetings

As discussed earlier in this review, the Pullman brand has a large focus on MICE spaces. Previously the brand had a “work hard, play hard” tagline, but it is now moving towards “softer productivity”, with areas called Meet & Play.

This hotel provides an excellent example of the vision, with three dedicated floors complete with 55 meeting rooms, a 742 sqm ballroom which can house 735 people and an 800 sqm terrace.

The Grand Ballroom is spectacular, with natural light, various seating configurations (ours had comfy sofas at the front, normal seating in the middle, and high-top tables at the back so you can work while watching an event), and an anodised aluminium mesh ceiling with circular light structures – we attended various events here and the ballroom was a fantastic and versatile venue.

The hotel has also partnered with Montreal-based event company C2 to create a 1,500 sqm modular, flexible and immersive event floor next door to the hotel. This has an industrial feel and can be modified for a range of events.

Pullman Paris Montparnasse meeting room (provided by Accor)

Leisure

The fifth floor has a 200 sqm fitness centre, known as Power Fitness room. This 24/7 gym is run by Les Mills and, unlike other hotel gyms, has bright, bold and fashionable design by London-based Bergman Interiors. An in-room fitness kit is available on demand.

Pullman Paris Montparnasse gym (provided by Accor)

Verdict

Pullman Paris Montparnasse is a great hotel for both large groups and individual business travellers, featuring vibrant F&B spaces, invigorating biophilic design and spacious rooms with scenic views.

FACT BOX

Best for

Energising meeting and events spaces 

Don’t miss

A rooftop drink overlooking the scintillating Eiffel Tower

Price

Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in September start from £347 for a Deluxe room.

Contact

19 Rue du Commandant René Mouchotte, Paris 75014; +33 (0)1 44 36 44 36; pullmanparismontparnasse.com

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