B&R Picks:
Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Paris

In my many years of designing itineraries for France-bound travellers, I’ve found that most of these journeys begin in Paris. How could anyone resist? Aside from it being your likeliest point of arrival into the country, there’s something about the city that lures you back time and time again, even if you’ve run out of fingers to count the number of times you’ve been.

There’s still a must-see museum you can’t believe you never knew about, a restaurant taking on unheard of culinary feats and burgeoning fashion designers opening the doors of their new boutique.

One thing I look forward to on my trips to the City of Light is the excellent hotels. I have scoured endless properties in search of the crème de la crème. While there are so many options, I am drawn most to hotels that successfully capture the essence and je ne sais quoi of Paris. Here are my top picks for the best five-star hotels in the city: filled with glamour, history, impeccable service, and style.

La Réserve: The Best of the Best

Perhaps it’s the 19thC sophistication combined with a perfectly curated French decor—not too subtle, but not too stuffy, either—and the rich palette of gold, burgundy and marble touches. It could be the sight of the Tour Eiffel, piercing through the dove-grey Parisian sky, that catches the corner of my eye from the window of my room, firmly reminding me of where I am. Or perhaps, it’s the white-glove level service that comes so naturally and, somehow, without pretension.

Whatever it is, La Reserve holds a special place in my heart—and that’s why I keep sending my travellers through its crimson doors, located just off the Champs-Élysées. Equipped with everything you need for an immaculate stay, like a full-service spa, a restaurant with two Michelin stars, and a library bar (which happens to be one of my favourite spots not just in Paris, but the world over), you may find it difficult to leave. Accompanying the refined guestrooms and suiteswith their marble bathrooms, brocade walls and plush fabricsare fully serviced apartments, which are ideal for travelling in a group or with the family.

Hotel Lutetia: A Fresh Look

From its address in tony SaintGermain-des-Prés, one of the city’s most coveted neighbourhoods, the striking Art Nouveau facade of Hotel Lutetia stops you dead in your tracks. Inside, it just keeps getting better. After undergoing a four-year makeover, this historic hotel finally reopened in 2018. (For a little perspective, Pablo Picasso was once a frequent guest, and James Joyce wrote a portion of Ulysses while staying here). With its return came modernized guest rooms, a holistic wellness centre, the resurgence of its beloved jazz haunt, Bar Josephine, and the Brasserie Lutetia, helmed by the three-Michelin-star chef, Gérald Passedat.

The Ritz: Iconic Elegance 

Nothing says timeless elegance like The Ritz, the lavish hotel that served as second home to icons of the Belle Époque like Coco Chanel and Marcel Proust. This is as French as it gets, with one bistro and one gastronomic dining room, in-house wine tastings in the Salon Proust, tastefully decorated guest rooms, and an all-around sense of French flair.

Even without a reservation, you should make a point to stop by the legendary Bar Hemingway for an author-inspired cocktail in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favourite seat or to sip on the preferred drink of Hemingway himself: a dry Martini.

Hotel Le Crillon: Modern Meets Classic

The palatial Hotel Le Crillon, with its stately Neoclassical exterior, has firmly held its position overlooking the Place de la Concorde since 1758. It wasn’t until 1909 when the mansion’s owners, the Counts of Crillon, sold their private residence to turn into the exalted hotel it is today.

After closing for restoration, the hotel reopened in 2013 with a modern makeover, while still preserving its 18thC opulence through glittering chandeliers, hand-painted walls, and gold gilded finishings, playing up the theatrics of an abode that has hosted the most elite of guests over the century. New additions include the Rosewood spa and its sky-lit pool, refreshed guest rooms and their marble bathrooms and the Les Ambassadeurs champagne bar; a super-stylish rendezvous for DJ nights and live music.

Pavillon de la Reine: Country Feel in the City

If you’re partial to the countryside rather than the city, the Pavillon de la Reine could be the choice for you. You’ll find this romantic residence in the posh Marais district, mere steps away from the Place des Vosges, in an idyllic garden that sets the stage for the ivy-draped front of this former 17thC estate. Privately operated by a family, being here feels as close as you can get to being hosted in a (swanky) French homestead, with a roaring fire in the main lounge, exposed wood beam ceilings, antique furnishings spattered throughout and hospitality at its core.

Le Bristol: A Parisian Institution

A Parisian institution since 1925, Le Bristol is often lauded as one of the most luxurious hotels in the city. Built within the walls of a former palace, it’s easy to lose yourself wandering its hallways from both the sheer size and the whimsy of it all. Between the immaculate gardens that surround the terrace of the gastronomic restaurant to the rooftop pool areareminiscent of a 1920s French beach resort and with views of the city skylineto the adorable resident Burmese cat, Fa-Raon, who greets you at the concierge desk, a stay at Le Bristol is a sheer delight.

The guestrooms are dressed in a traditional but fresh look—awash in pastel hues, soft floral accents and Louis XV-inspired furnishings—and are generous in size (an impressive feat in Paris), comfortably fitting a king-sized bed and a living area in even the smallest category. As a family-run hotel, the experience at Le Bristol is just as special for your little ones as it is for you, with a kids’ club adjoined to the La Prairie spa, offering a sweet playroom to keep the children entertained while you get pampered.

 

History & Culture along the Seine

Flow along the historic route of the Seine, from dazzling Paris to the maritime traditions of Normandy. On our Seine River Cruise Biking trip, we’ll bike the gorgeous pathways through pastoral villages, past castles, magnificent ruins, all from the comfort of our luxurious floating hotel, Uniworld’s S.S. Joie de Vivre.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Nolinski: Hipster-Chic meets Art Deco

Adorned with geometric mirrors, lamps and decorative pieces and coloured in steely greys and warm taupes with pops of vibrant blues, the feel of the Nolinski hotel is high-end hipster meets Art Deco, making it well-suited for those seeking a luxury hotel with an edgy twist.

Each guest room is individually designed and offers a street-facing view that watches over the Haussmannian architecture of the Avenue de l’Opera. Culinary endeavours abound: opt for quintessential French brasserie at the artsy Réjane, go for a gastronomic experience at the one-Michelin-starred Restaurant du Palais Royal or curl up by the bronze fireplace of the Grand Salon with a book and glass of wine. The Spa Nolinski boasts a swimming pool, treatments using La Colline products from the Swiss Riviera and a fitness centre with personal trainer classes available.

Relais Christine: Hideaway on the Rive Gauche

Step away from the bustle of Paris into the impeccably manicured courtyard of Relais Christine, a charming boutique property tucked away on the rue Christine in the Left Bank. A patchwork of different eras and art styles, ranging from ancien regime to Art Deco, give the hotel a unique look that combines classic French patterns, like Toile de Jouy, and antique furnishings with sleek materials like marble and glass. Their on-site Guerlain spa is a highlight, complete with vaulted ceilings, white stone walls, potted greenery and murals of trompe l’oeil forests.

Le George V: A Culinary Constellation

A landmark on the avenue that lent the hotel its name since 1928, the George V is the epitome of Art Deco splendour, immediately remarked in its famous lobby with its tiled floors, a grand chandelier and the most extravagant floral displays you’ll ever see.

Boasting three restaurants that, together, have accumulated a total of five Michelin stars, the experience here is equally about the cuisine as it is the hotel; in particular, Le Cinq Restaurant and its impressive three Michelin stars is an institution in itself. The remaining two restaurants hold one Michelin star each: Le George Restaurant, featuring a Mediterranean menu, and L’Orangerie, complete with a beautiful greenhouse dining area. Guest rooms are just as lovely as the hotel’s common areas would lead you to believe—decorated in hushed tones of cream, pink and blue—and a five-star spa rounds out the decadent experience that a stay at the George V all but guarantees.

Grand Hotel du Palais Royal: Family-Friendly

 If you’re heading to Paris with the little ones in tow, the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal is a wise option thanks to spacious suites and connecting rooms, a playroom, a special children’s menu in Le Lulli Restaurant and its prime location, wedged between the Louvre and the Opera, making getting around a cinch.

Grown-ups will appreciate the tasteful rooms drenched in sunlight, draped in crisp white fabrics and complete with fresh flowers. There’s also the Carita Spa, with fitness centre and Turkish hammam steam room, and a cozy lounge where you can enjoy a nightcap.

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