Insider's Glimpse: Mandarin Oriental Paris

You can’t open a hotel on rue Saint-Honoré—in the galactic center of the fashion world in Paris—without recruiting star talent to orchestrate it. Such is the case with the brand new Mandarin Oriental, Paris —from the dream team behind the haute couture interiors to the kitchen where avant-garde chef Thierry Marx reigns supreme. Smack dab in the center of the chic first arrondissement—within walking distance to the Louvre, the Place Vendôme, and the majestic Opéra Garnier—the Mandarin Oriental is sublime from head to pedicured toe. Luxury Travel Advisor was on the scene just as the new “palace” opened in late June, and we found that it’s already giving the city’s established luxury hotels a run for their money.

Behind an Art Deco facade, an entirely new building was constructed to strict environmental standards. Sought-after designer Sybille de Margerie dressed the lobby, spa and guest rooms with a glamorous feminine aesthetic, while power duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku imagined the interiors for the two restaurants and bar. They enlisted the finest artisans to lend their talent to the three-year project. Ateliers Gohard, the gilders famous for restoring the Statue of Liberty’s flame, covered the lobby ceiling in 17,000 leaves of 22.5 carat gold. In Bar 8, embellished with Lalique crystals and cascades of Murano glass, the bar itself was hewn from one gigantic nine-ton slab of marble. To cover the walls of the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, where seven private spa suites circle the swimming pool, craftsmen assembled hundreds of origami-style flowers by hand. Throughout the hotel, a butterfly motif—found on embroidered cushions and fluttering across a 3-D video projection in the spa—adds a touch of poetry.

The 138 guest rooms are among the largest hotel rooms in Paris. Some face the fashionable rue Saint-Honoré, while others have terraces overlooking the indoor garden, shaded with trees and fragrant with camellia blossoms. With a nod to the 1930s, reproductions of Man Ray’s photographs allude to the hotel’s Art Deco facade. Luxurious materials (silk, marble) and attention to detail (freshly cut flowers, his and her bathrobes, a Nespresso machine and teapot by Mariage Frères) create a refined Parisian ambiance. In a first-ever collaboration with a hotel, Diptyque provided the bespoke bath amenities.

Of the 39 suites, seven on the 7th and 8th floors are duplex. When it opens this summer, the 350-square-meter Suite Royal Mandarin will be the largest, boasting a terrace with stupendous views over the city. Tip: The top-floor suites can be configured into the biggest suite in all of Paris (a whopping 1,000 square meters). For VIP bookings, contact Assistant Director of Sales Alexandre Michaud ([email protected]; 011-33-1-7098-7025). 

From securing tables at the city’s hottest restos to arranging after-hours appointments at Saint-Honoré’s luxury boutiques, the well-connected concierge team is adept at pulling strings. Head Concierge Julien Brunel ([email protected]; 011-33-1-7098-7073) and Assistant Head Concierge Adrian Moore ([email protected])—previously at the Four Seasons George V—ensure that each guest experiences Paris as an insider.

Haute cuisine: The debut of Sur Mesure has been the talk of French gourmands for months. You can trust that Michelin-starred Chef Thierry Marx, a Top Chef judge and champion of molecular gastronomy, has fashioned an inventive menu after much experimentation in his Paris Food Lab. (Menu items like the Œuf éclaté (“broken egg”) are genius works of art.) Swathed in white fabric, Sur Mesure was designed as an unpretentious, cocoon-like space to underscore the experiential quality of the dining. Needless to say, the resto’s booked solid a month in advance. Go with an open mind and surrender to the chef’s whims. Tip: While the 12-course tasting menu costs $256, a four-course lunch menu is available from Tuesdays-Fridays for $107. The hotel’s Camélia restaurant also has garden seating, including the exclusive La Table du Jardin in a birdcage-shaped arbor in the garden.

The icing on the cake: The sweet delicacies on display at Le Comptoir des Pâtisseries. Choose a pastry from Thierry Marx’s signature cake shop to savor at teatime. We suggest Le Saint-Honoré, a recreation of the classic dessert named for the hotel’s street (and patron saint of bakers and pastry-makers). Cakes can also be packaged in pretty boxes for the ultimate hostess gift. “Let them eat cake!”