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The Best Luxury Hotels in Paris: From Classic to Contemporary

Experts + Insiders | France | By Kathy Stewart

A trip to France inevitably includes spending time in Paris. Aside from it being your likeliest point of arrival into the country, there’s something truly awe-inspiring about the city that lures you back time and time again, no matter how many times you’ve been.

There will always be 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.

Any trip to Paris needs a perfect stay to match.

Here are my top picks for the best hotels in the city for every taste, from classic to contemporary: filled with glamour, history, impeccable service and style.


THE CLASSICS

La Réserve: The Best of the Best

Perhaps it’s the 19th c. 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.

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.

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.

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 18th c. 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.

Hôtel d’Aubusson: Perfectly Preserved Opulence

Right in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Hôtel d’Aubusson is ideally located between Ile de la Cité and the Luxembourg Gardens, in an esteemed area known to play a central role in the intellectual and artistic development of the city. Each of its 50 newly-renovated suites offers elegant period furnishing against the backdrop of cozy cream-coloured palettes—all while preserving the charm of centuries past. With its Versailles parquet, exposed beams and antique-filled lobby perfectly complimenting the buzz of its weekly literary talks and live jazz music, Hôtel d’Aubusson embodies an elegant and intellectual Paris experience that you’ve probably dreamt about at least once in a lifetime.

Hotel d'Aubusson ParisSaint James Paris exterior

Saint James Paris: Classic Art de Vivre

Known as the only château-hôtel in Paris, The Saint James is set in a pristine location next to Avenue Foch and just a five-minute drive from the Arc de Triomphe. This grandiose Relais & Châteaux property is surrounded by 5,000 square metres of verdant green garden—a true pastoral rarity in the city that combines classic Parisian charm with a unique poetic atmosphere. The hotel’s dedication to preserving the area’s biodiversity is illustrated through its on-site beekeeping practices as a means to provide an organic habitat for Earth’s pollinators and harvest fresh honey for their palatable dessert menu.

Each nature-inspired guestroom in The Saint James combines art deco with geometric patterns and floral accents—the brainchild of interior designer Laura Gonzalez. And when you’re not taking in the beauty of its poetic greenery, stop by the Guerlain spa (opening in September 2021) for a signature treatment or to stock up on the exclusive perfumes and cosmetics on offer.

Saint James Paris


THE CONTEMPORARY

Le Roch Hotel & Spa: Cool Contemporary 

Casual-chic meets five-star elegance at Le Roch Hotel & Spa, a 37 room boutique hotel ideally located between the Place de l’Opéra and the Place Vendôme. Just a 10-minute walk from the Louvre and Palais Royal, Le Roch’s supreme location in the Saint-Honoré district means there’s no shortage of renowned restaurants and Parisian brasseries within walking distance, but we recommend indulging in some typical Parisian cuisine in the hotel’s minimalistic restaurant or on the terrace.

Parisian interior designer Sarah Lavoine blends elegance with simplicity through glossy walnut flooring, minimalistic art with pops of colour and cozy accents. And the warm and welcoming vibe is illustrated in everything from its homey fireplace to the books that line its lobby shelves.

la roche hotel and spa

brach paris hotel lobbyBrach Paris: High Society’s Playground

Brach Paris is located well off the tourist track in the 16th arrondissement, an iconic bourgeois residential area home to Parisian high society’s most prestigious schools, museums, sporting venues and trendy restaurants.

Houses in a former 19th c. postal sorting centre, this five-star hotel offers an enchanting atmosphere with its unusual works of art, warm colour palettes and raw materials. Each suite is decorated with wood, glass and leather accents, and some of the terraces are complete with stunning 180° views of the Parisian skyline. The perfect setting for sipping one of the hotel’s signature cocktails while witnessing the Eiffel Tower light up at night.

Brach Paris Hotel

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 3-star Michelin chef, Gérald Passedat.

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 17th c. 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.

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 2 star Michelin 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, gives 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.

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 a fitness centre and Turkish hammam steam room, and a cozy lounge where you can enjoy a nightcap.