On The Road
The Top New Hotels In Paris
Seven places to lay your head in the City of Light
The Courtyard at Hôtel de Crillon. Photograph courtesy of Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel
No one could claim that Paris has had the easiest few years. The City of Light has experienced more than its fair share of traumas recently and yet, today, the French capital seems to be experiencing a revival. For years, much of its youth ebbed away to London and New York, and the city seemed to wither. Nothing new seemed to be happening. It was the same old bars and nightclubs, the same old restaurants and hotels. But no longer. Paris is experiencing an innovation boom. Its mayor has set up business incubators and is at the forefront of the battle against climate change, having launched electric car-sharing service Autolib’ and increased the number of green spaces in the city. The Olympics are on their way (in 2024) and it has one of the most attractive tech scenes in Europe. Plus, there is Mr Emmanuel Macron, its new, young president asking France’s most talented to come home. Hand in hand with all this, new hotels are opening all over town. To help you sort the diamonds from the zirconia, we have toured the city to find the seven best new openings.
Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers
Cicchetteria National. Photograph courtesy of Hôtel National des Arts & Métiers
Tempura de légumes et herbes, pesto de roquette at Ristorante National. Photograph courtesy of Hôtel National des Arts & Métiers
Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers' chunky concrete tables, heat-blackened bookshelves and washed velvet sofas make us very pleased. It is, as close as anything, the MR PORTER aesthetic. But the fact that amid this jungle of modishness there is a rather Ancien Régime cashmere shop makes us absolutely delighted. Most of the rooms have balconies or terraces and one suite has an outdoor sitting area and glass-roofed atrium. After taking the air, descend to either La Cicchetteria National, which serves Italian small plates and spritzes, or head to Le Ristorante National for the full pasta/pizza experience. If you are minded to leave the hotel at all, the fleshpots of the Marais lie on one side, while on the other is Rue Montorgueil, known for its burgeoning foodie credentials. We prefer to pull up a seat, order a speciality herb cocktail and while away the evening in the Herbarium bar.
What to pack
The Restaurant and Lobby at Hôtel Bachaumont. Photograph by Mr Paul Bowyer, courtesy of Hôtel Bachaumont
The old Hôtel Bachaumont was a grande dame that fell on hard times and closed in the 1970s. Today, after an Art Deco facelift, she is very much back in business. It's located in the Marais, so many of the great sights of the city are within easy reach, Notre-Dame and the Louvre being but two. The interior was done by Ms Dorothée Meilichzon and takes all the attractions of the Jazz Age – the vast roll-top baths, the subdued palette picked out by jet black – and modernises them. The rooms are not the largest in the city, but the Pierre Frey fabrics used in them are perhaps the softest. The bar and modern brasserie, which serves a pleasing côte de boeuf, are run by the buzzy Experimental Group, which first brought craft cocktails to Paris in 2007, so, as you might expect, the Night Flight Bar is pretty swish. What makes this hotel particularly interesting, though, is that it is so firmly rooted in its milieu that it attracts both residents and locals, which gives the place a pleasing buzz.
What to pack
Triple room at the Hôtel Panache
A suite at the hotel. Photograph courtesy of Hôtel Panache
If you’re looking for gyms and pools and other assorted chain-hotel bells and whistles (electric curtains, anyone?), then Hôtel Panache may not be for you. If, however, you want atmosphere and good design and a certain amount of Parisian chic, then get booking. Housed in a 19th-century edifice on the corner of the busy Rue du Faubourg Montmartre in the 9th arrondissement, the hotel is enviably placed, surrounded as it is by the auction house Drouot, the Folies Bergère and the rue Cadet food market. Within, the 40 rooms are all different, the product of the corner plot and the creative frenzy of interior designer Ms Dorothée Meilichzon, who is responsible for the covetable marble bedside tables, Art Noveau headboards and vintage Bakelite telephones that you can quite imagine Dick Diver, the great Mr F Scott Fitzgerald character, nattering away on. The restaurant, too, is something of a boon. The veal carpaccio with salicornia is not to be missed.
What to pack
Biggy sized bedroom at The Hoxton. Photograph courtesy of The Hoxton, Paris
The Paris outpost from the London-based Hoxton group – its fourth, joining Shoreditch, Holborn and Amsterdam – has already established itself as an Instagram darling. The 172-room hotel has variously been a private house for one of Louis XV’s ministers and a clothing warehouse before getting a new lease of life as a Soho House-designed pleasure palace. The best rooms, or at least those with the freestanding baths, are on the ground floor, which is also handily close to Jacques’ Bar, which combines the service nous of Soho House with a certain Gallic know-how much in evidence on the Moroccan-themed cocktail list. Rooms are spacious and well-appointed and what it lacks in pool it makes up for in hobnobbing spaces. The double-height, glassed-over courtyard is particularly Insta-worthy.
What to pack
Spa Nolinski by La Colline. Photograph courtesy of the Nolinski
The Nolinski was designed by Mr Jean-Louis Denoit as if it were the house of a wealthy traveller, Mr Nolinski – grand, comfortable and never dull. It succeeds on all those scores. For those keen to visit the Palais Garnier opera house or Galeries Lafayette, it is enviably placed in the centre of the 1st arrondissement. It’s well-appointed, too, with the swishest pool we have ever come across in Paris, 16m long and cocooned and enhanced by a mirrored ceiling and low lights (to say nothing of the equally attractive sauna and hammam). The rooms are equipped with smartphones with unlimited internet access and free international calls and a range of French and English books on fashion and design, which, it is hoped, will whet guests’ appetites and encourage them to visit the in-house exhibition space. After which, it would almost be impolite not to adjourn to the Brasserie Réjane, which dispenses “traditional French dishes with a modern twist”. The steak tartare is a particular favourite of ours and no worse for its largely undetectable modernity.
What to pack
Le Roch Hôtel & Spa
Le Roch Restaurant. Photograph by Mr Francis Amiand, courtesy of Le Roch Hotel & Spa
“Natural” cocktail. Photograph by Mr Francis Amiand, courtesy of Le Roch Hotel & Spa
The first thing to say about this hotel is that it is pronounced “rock”, not “rosh”, and the second is that it is incredibly chic. Being a mere moment’s walk from the Tuileries and Rue Saint-Honoré, it has to be. Aside from its perky staff, its Codage spa and pool, the thing we particularly like about this 37-room hotel is that it manages to be grand but also quite homely, a feat much aspired to but hardly ever achieved. Perhaps it is the velvet (yes, that again) used so liberally throughout by designer Ms Sarah Lavoine or the deep, multi-hued Moroccan Berber rugs. Whatever it is, we like it very much. As, indeed, we do the concierge, Mr Benjamin Camus Durand, who at 25 was the youngest person to be awarded the Clefs d’Or, the concierge’s Oscar.
What to pack
Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel
The Pool at Hôtel de Crillon. Photograph courtesy of Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel
The reopening of Hôtel de Crillon was greeted with the same enthusiasm usually reserved for a movie premiere or a royal state visit. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise, given that the gold-stoned edifice on Place de la Concorde was under dust sheets for four years as £400m was spent on coaxing one of Paris’s most famous palace hotels into the 21st century. Since it opened as a hotel in 1909 – it was previously a private house where Marie Antoinette took her piano lessons – it has hosted everyone from George V to Ms Jackie Kennedy, Mr Sergei Diaghilev to Sir Winston Churchill. Today it is modern royalty the Crillon is after – the billionaires and the superstars. And with its 124 newly refurbished rooms, it is likely to be successful. Each room is arranged in a remarkably simple fashion. You don’t need an iPad to close the curtains, light switches are labelled and all rooms have a butler assigned to them. Along with the splendid courtyard bar and large indoor swimming pool, there are two restaurants, the best of which is Mr Christopher Hache’s tiny 26-cover L’Écrin, which specialises in tasting menus (plump for the one with tomato bavarois on it) and is a likely candidate for the next Michelin guide. A palace in every sense.