Luxury Travel Advisor recently stopped by the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris to check out the newly renovated interiors. The palace hotel on Avenue Montaigne reopened in August after an expansion project added three adjacent buildings to the property, increasing the room count by 14 for a total of 154 rooms and 54 suites. The project’s goal was to preserve the Parisian soul of the century-old landmark, while affirming its position as the capital’s haute couture hotel. (In complementary fashion, sister hotel Le Meurice is devoted to art, and takes seriously its role as patron to young contemporary artists). The Plaza Athénée has a long-time relationship with Christian Dior, and the first thing guests notice upon arrival is the maîtresse de maison, wearing a stunning red gown, welcoming visitors to the lobby.
Designer Marie-José Pommereau waved her wand over the Plaza Athénée’s new rooms; we particularly liked the elegant suite that’s situated directly above the avenue’s Harry Winston boutique. Nice touches include embroidered pillows by Lesage and Calacatta marble bathrooms with excellent lighting.
The redesign of Alain Ducasse’s signature restaurant was entrusted to design duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku. The theme, like the new menu focus, is naturality, so tables have been stripped of tablecloths, and the curtains removed from the ceiling-high windows. A cascade of crystals hangs above banquettes that resemble the silver bells used to serve food in fine restaurants.
Jouin and Manku also did a gorgeous job on the bar. From the ceiling, midnight-blue fabric resembles billowing clouds, while the bar counter itself, crafted from transparent resin, appears to have wisps of smoke within it, an homage to the smokers (who can no longer smoke inside in Paris). Bar Director Thierry Hernandez has created a knock-out menu of creative cocktails. Scan the drink coaster on your bar table and you’ll get the menu directly on your Smart Phone. (Otherwise, a bartender will bring you an iPad to make your selection.)
Drinks are served in fabulous new tumblers, crafted from custom Murano glass and topped with edible “lids” made of marshmallows. One of the most popular drinks is the Rose Royale, made with Champagne and raspberry puree. We also like Master #2- a potent potion of Hendrick’s Gin, elderflower, cucumber, lime, and aloe vera. After 11 pm, the bar morphs into a happening hot spot for the young and branché crowd. Live DJs spin the soundtrack. A glamorous soirée, indeed. For more information, visit www.dorchestercollection.com/paris/hotel-plaza-athenee
Photos courtesy of the Hotel Plaza Athénée