Insider’s Paris

 

Paris
Photo by Vladimir

 

 

Commanding a prime location in the chic 16th arrondissement, La Réserve Paris attracts in-the-know jetsetters to an unmarked door off the Place du Trocadéro. Inside, a private realm of 10 residential apartments serve up an exclusive guest experience bordering on the sublime. Within a stone’s throw of the Eiffel Tower, your clients can play house on the Trocadéro while reaping the benefits of hotel-style services, including a 24-hour concierge team which can handle any manner of request—from the simple cigarette runs and airport pickups to hiring language teachers, locating the perfect babysitter and arranging a 27-night gastronomic journey to all the hottest tables in town.

We checked out Apartment 1, the only one with a private entrance. Talk about luxury of space! At 3,230 square feet, this is the largest of La Réserve’s 10 apartments. It’s often booked for press junkets, films and product launches. Sleek, contemporary interiors by Rémi Tessier create a home-away-from-home feel. Before a guest’s arrival, the kitchen is stocked with staples and favorite food items. There’s also a wine fridge filled with bottles from the owner’s Bordeaux estate. Even if your clients don’t want to whip up their own feasts, they’ll appreciate the fully equipped kitchen. Every morning the housekeeper prepares a Continental breakfast, and private chefs can be arranged for the other meals. In fact, insiders tell us that one of the final contestants on the premiere season of Top Chef (France) cooked for a family at La Réserve.

What we loved about this three-bedroom spread: the private garden and sunken terrace decorated with sculptures, where guests can recline in lounge chairs in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, completely hidden from the street. We were also seduced by the technology. The flat is fully wired: flat-screen TVs beaming satellite channels in every bedroom, secured Wi-Fi, a private phone line, separate fax line and a sophisticated iPod stereo system.

Each of the bedrooms has a large dressing room and private bath. Like a luxury hotel, all bathrooms come with plush robes, slippers and delicious bath amenities. Welcome gifts are personalized for each guest. For the American design duo Kaufman and Franco—frequent guests who have staged a fashion show in the apartment during fashion week—the staff picked up chocolate shoes from a fine chocolatier.

Tips on booking: A three-night minimum stay is required, and the average stay is two-three weeks. For assistance with reservations for your VIPs, contact Director Stéphanie Billat ([email protected]; 011-33-153-705-370).

Tucked away in a flowering courtyard, Hotel Pavillon de la Reine is the only luxury hotel of its kind in the fashionable Marais quarter. Indeed, the hotel has a coveted location directly off the Place des Vosges, the oldest public square in Paris, oft described by locals as the city’s prettiest. Built by Henry IV in the early 1600s, the square is perfectly symmetrical around a central, gated green; 36 brick houses with slate roofs rise above a vaulted arcade. Strolling along the galleried walkways, rubbernecking at art galleries and boutiques, you could almost miss the courtyard entrance to the Pavillon, housed in a 17th-century hôtel particulier. The property’s discreet address in the historical heart of Paris is just one of the reasons it has cultivated a loyal following of repeat guests, ensuring its status as a cult favorite for rock stars and fashion designers.

 

The Victor Hugo suite
The Victor Hugo suite at Hotel Pavillon de la Reine is often used for photo shoots.

 

We recently stopped by this intimate pied-à-terre to check out the buzzed-about makeover by interior designer Didier Benderli, a protégé of Jacques Garcia. Since our last visit, Benderli has refashioned this Marais jewel with sumptuous textiles, updating it with a contemporary look. Over the course of the 18-month renovation, the total room count was reduced to 54 rooms, a library was added near the reception and a spa was unveiled on the lower floor where the breakfast room used to be. The Spa de la Reine by Carita is a chic space with just two treatment rooms. Instantly calming, the spa—designed in Portuguese Cascais stone—is marked by a wall of cascading water at the entrance. Using Brigitte Bardot’s favorite spa products, the Carita-branded treatments run the gamut from jet lag massages to rice milk facials. There’s also a Jacuzzi, hammam and small fitness room where private trainers are available.

The library also channels a contemporary vibe. Brushed with red, gold and dove gray, the room is backed with shelves full of books and objets d’art. At the aperitif hour, guests can sink into the plush velvet chairs and help themselves to wine or cocktails from the honesty bar. In the morning, breakfast is served here. But even after the hotel’s renovation, historical touches remain. Beneath the timbered ceiling in the reception area, splendid contemporary canvases hang on the walls, thus marrying the old and new. Similarly, some guest rooms play up the hotel’s history (canopied beds, ancient wood beams), while others are done up in a playful present-day palette. No expense was spared in the room redo; management spent as much as $156,000 per bedroom. All boast Molton Brown bath products, Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.

 

Pavillon de la Reine’s Suite de la Reine
Pavillon de la Reine’s Suite de la Reine. The hotel has a team of Clefs d’or concierges at guests’ disposal.

 

For your VIPs, consider the magnificent Victor Hugo Suite, where Jean Paul Gaultier bunked down for a year during his house renovation. It’s a sought-after space; the bedroom’s toile-covered walls have served as the backdrop for recent photo shoots for Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. Because it has a kitchenette and can connect to another Deluxe Room, this suite is perfect for long-stay guests or families. Another favorite? The Suite de la Reine, where a giant Baudelaire text—artistically transcribed in elegant, flowing letters—hangs above the bed. Nice Perk: VIP guests are spoiled with welcome gifts: sweet treats, a red leather notebook, Carita amenities, or Esteban perfume. For clients traveling with Fido in tow, the hotel will provide a special doggie bowl and treat. For VIP bookings, contact Sales Director Karol Lor ([email protected]; 011-33-140-291-919). Need to set up special arrangements? Guests sing the praises of Concierge Jonathan Buckles, who has planned and executed perfect marriage proposals for exacting clients.

Just steps from the Jardin des Tuileries, adjacent to the Westin Hotel, the new Six Senses Spa provides a world of relaxation for tired urbanites looking to unwind. A darling of the French press since its debut, this city sanctuary is the Bangkok-based brand’s first foray into France. This is the place to indulge in a little guilt-free hedonism. Your first clue to the spa’s eco-chic philosophy? The hanging vertical garden visible from the street. Designed by famous botanist Patrick Blanc, the two-story wall of green isn’t just a symbol; it serves a utilitarian purpose as well, sucking the pollution out of the air.

 

La Réserve Paris’ Apartment No. 4
La Réserve Paris’ Apartment No. 4 has a fully equipped Varenna kitchen. The hotel has 10 apartments, each with a distinct design.

 

Descending the stairs to reception, we marveled at the spa’s design. Instead of treatment rooms, there are six “cocoons” built from oak and paper. It took local craftsmen six months to fashion these soundproofed spaces. Running the length of the spa, a projection of the Paris cityscape streams from video cameras placed on the roof. The screen—showing the choreography of cars and people in front of the Eiffel Tower—is visible from inside the cocoons. As explained by Holistic Advisor Clare West, the concept allows clients to achieve harmony and healing by remaining 100 percent grounded in their setting, viewing Paris through a lens of detachment.