Paris: New and Unique

The Paris hotel scene has never looked better. The ultra-luxe category of palaces — now a dazzling dozen — continues to raise the plush factor. Case in point: Hôtel de Crillon’s new Nonos et Comestibles restaurant by top chef Paul Pairet, and at the Ritz, the reimagined spa unveiled last summer. What’s more, a new crop of design-driven properties with personality are enlivening diverse districts. Here’s a look at a trio of new neighborhood gems. 

The Maison Proust opened at the end of 2022 and it’s a stunner. Years in the making, the hotel is the latest passion project for Maisons Particulière, founded by Sylviane Sanz and Yoni Aidan as a collection of intimate luxury hotels (also including the Maison Souquet in Montmartre and Maison Athénée near the Place Vendôme). The location couldn’t be better: The Upper Marais draws the cool crowd for its cafés, galleries and boutiques—and the hotel is directly across from the Carreau du Temple, a historical covered market converted into a cultural space. Step inside the hotel and you’re immersed in the sumptuous, art-filled world of the Belle Époque. In an homage to Marcel Proust, arguably one of the 20th century’s greatest writers, star designer Jacques Garcia recreated the celebrity-frequented Parisian salons that featured in the masterpiece, “In Search of Lost Time."

Take, for example, the library, stocked with classic volumes and showcasing an original letter, acquired at auction, from Marcel Proust to Princess Soutzo. Here, the dome ceiling is the pride of the maison. Painted with gold leaf, it’s a reproduction of the Rotunde du Soleil at the Palais Garnier opera house. On the ground floor, you’ll also find a bar and jardin d’hiver, decorated with Venetian mirrors, exquisite Cordoba leather and a wall painting under glass using 19th-century techniques.  

Charles Baudelaire Suite.
Maison Proust has 23 rooms and suites, each devoted to famous figures from Marcel Proust’s time. Shown here is the Charles Baudelaire Suite. (Maison Proust)

The 23 rooms and suites are spread over six floors, each devoted to famous figures from Proust’s time, channeling the person’s spirit in unique décor and Pierre Frey fabrics. The fourth floor is named for Impressionists, while the fifth floor is inspired by authors, and the top floor reimagines Proust’s private apartments. Combined, these rooms (Nos. 601, 602, 603) create a three-bedroom Executive Suite of 1,292 square feet with a pleasant view over the Parisian rooftops. In all the rooms—whether the Charles Baudelaire Junior Suite (No. 501) or Sarah Bernhardt Junior Suite (No. 304)—we love the writing cabinets, hidden behind curtains in alcoves, and the custom lamp shades adorned with Proust quotes. 

Nice Touch: The hotel has a rare art collection of museum-quality pieces by period artists like Léon Bonnat, whose oeuvre is part of the Orsay’s permanent collection. You can book a room based on the exquisite painting that adorns it. For VIP bookings, reach out to Yves Le Guern ([email protected]), assistant hotel manager.

What we love: The subterranean spa, inspired by the Orientalist décor of Aunt Léonie’s house where Proust spent his childhood. A team of specialist artisans who work on the Moroccan royal palaces was enlisted to create this bijou space, complete with Zellige mosaic tiles, fine plasterwork, and carved wood paneling. The 33-foot pool is alone worth a trip, but there’s also a hammam and treatment rooms. The spa is fully privatized for one hour a day for each client as part of their hotel stay. 

The Soa at Maison Proust
The Spa at Maison Proust showcases Orientalist décor. It has a 33-foot swimming pool with elegantly tiled columns, a steam room and three treatment suites. (Maison Proust)

Across town at the eastern edge of the 13th arrondissement, the TOO Hotel presents a contemporary vision of Paris from its vertiginous perch atop one of the new Tours Duo. Designed by famed architect Jean Nouvel as a distinctive landmark on the Parisian skyline, these skyscrapers are the third tallest in the city after the Eiffel Tower and Tour Montparnasse—and anchor a vibrant new business district. Entrepreneur Laurent Taïeb made waves with 2021’s hot addition, Hôtel Madame Rêve, with its postcard panoramas of classical Paris, and his latest pet project is a cutting-edge take on the city of tomorrow. Insiders refer to the hotel as Madame Rêve’s “crazy little brother,” dishing up the same cool approach to hospitality, at a more affordable price. 

Designer Philippe Starck sought to create a warm and welcoming vibe that contrasts with the soaring futuristic space. There’s a playful contrast of textures in the 139 guestrooms, including 22 suites: Leather, wood, soft wool throws atop the beds. Yet it’s the view that steals the show. The hotel occupies Floors 17 to 25 of the tower, and from wherever you are—the city’s highest rooftop bar, your guestroom, even the corridors—the windows frame never-ending vistas of Greater Paris, studded with both familiar landmarks and new Manhattan-style architecture. Fun Perk: Every room comes with binoculars and Starck-designed fitness weights. The smallest room category (around 260 square feet) is large by Paris standards, but the suites (such as Nos. 2208 and 1908) are sublime because of the deep soaking tubs from where you can watch the sun set over the city. For VIP bookings, reach out to Caroline Orsini ([email protected]), reservations manager. 

While a lot of hotel spas are situated underground, the TOO spa takes a different approach. Here, it’s all about maximizing the view, whether you’re soaking in the jacuzzi on the landscaped spa terrace or practicing yoga in the sky. Treatments run the gamut from facials by French organic brand Ulé to deep-tissue massages. To assist with spa bookings, reach out to Elise Ferrand ([email protected]), rooms division director.

TOO Hotel
TOO Hotel is a four-star property offering rooms with spectacular views over Paris. (Jérôme Galland)

The restaurant, magnificently designed with large-scale artwork and high-backed leather chairs, has been packed with Parisians since the day it opened. Top Tip: Choose table 27, which has the best city views—the Eiffel Tower glittering just in front of you—from its corner spot. Less formal than the restaurant, the rooftop bar even has an outdoor terrace where you can feel the breeze with all of Paris at your feet. And if you’re keen to get a taste of this innovative quarter, TOO is developing relationships with some of the 13th’s major players to show off the destination, whether it be street art or architecture tours.

Calling all fashion fans. In a world first, the ELLE media brand has opened a boutique hotel channeling the pages of ELLE magazine. Maison ELLE is a chic and cozy address, conceived as a comfortable “maison d’ami(e)s” where guests feel at home in stylish surroundings. For example, in the kitchen, you can help yourself to an array of drinks at all hours of the day, the friendly staff even preparing hot milk with crushed Oreos as a before-bed treat for tweens. In fact, a real focus of this new hotel concept is the warmth of the staff, overseen by General Manager Marie Pinatel ([email protected]). Whether it’s a restaurant reservation, taxi service or sightseeing recommendation, the team—dressed in chic ELLE stripes—is attentive and helpful.

There are only 25 guestrooms, decorated by the Parisian design team Laurent & Laurence to channel the 20th century’s great couturiers (like Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent) with a variety of fabrics, like the stylish tartan curtains. Framed prints from the ELLE archives complement the coffee table books on fashion and ELLE’s history. The top rooms are the two suites: Accessed from the ground floor, the Suite Atelier (No. 1) is a duplex with an enormous glass skylight, artificial fireplace, and a lovely bathroom with a double shower and Japanese toilet. Suite No. 25 comes with a terrace.

A highlight of the hotel is the small spa, privatized for each guest for 45 minutes. Here you can enjoy the sauna and hamman or follow one of the ELLE yoga or meditation videos in the work-out room, equipped with a pink quartz wall and ELLE yoga mats. Spa treatments are with Dr. Hauschka products. Upstairs in the concept store, you can buy Maison ELLE branded clothing, striped bath robes, and the signature scented candles. The adjacent library is stocked with fashion books and magazines.  

Maison ELLE is in close proximity to the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées, but it still has a distinct neighborhood feel reflecting the residential 17th arrondissement. Just a quick walk away is the open-air street market on rue Poncelet, a beloved Paris institution that’s straight out of centuries past, with singing butchers and joke-telling green grocers creating a convivial scene.

Maison ELLE Paris
Maison ELLE’s tearoom offers teatime treats byPastry Chef Nicolas Paciello of the CinqSens patisserie. (Christophe Bielsa)

Nice Touch: The buffet breakfast is served until noon, a rarity at Paris hotels and a boon for night owls wanting to sleep in. If you’re craving an afternoon goûter, the traditional French afternoon snack, the hotel offers teatime treats by Pastry Chef Nicolas Paciello of the CinqSens patisserie. 

ELLE was launched in 1945 as a women’s lifestyle magazine and has evolved today to be the world’s largest fashion media brand, recognized in all four corners of the globe. The aspirations for ELLE hospitality are similar, with a strategic global expansion of hotels alongside the existing ELLE cafés. Another hotel project is already in the pipeline in Bangkok. 

The year ahead in Paris will bring a number of hotly anticipated hotels to the scene. On our radar: Le Grand Mazarin, opening in early 2023 in a coveted Marais location near the Hotel de Ville. This will be the first Parisian address for Maisons Pariente, the family-owned hospitality group (Patrick Pariente was the co-founder of the Naf Naf clothing brand) whose portfolio comprises the Crillon Le Brave in Provence, Lou Pinet in Saint-Tropez and Le Coucou in Méribel. Top designer Martin Brudnizki styled the interiors, including 50 guestrooms and 11 suites. Also expect a spa and pool. Called Boubalé, the Mediterranean restaurant will be overseen by Assaf Granit, the Israeli chef behind some of the city’s hottest restaurants (Shabour and Tekés). For bookings, luxury travel advisors can reach out to Stéphanie Lancien ([email protected]), the collection’s sales director .

In March, Hotel Dame des Arts aims to shake things up in the Latin Quarter. The concept? A lifestyle hotel branded by Studio Saint Lazare (also behind the Nomad Hotels) with a rooftop bar and resident DJ. The hotel was designed by Raphael Navot, awarded Maison&Objet’s Designer of the Year for 2023. Drawing talent from hot spots across the capital, the experienced management team includes Matthieu Alfrandari (formerly at The Experimental Group) overseeing F&B and Matthieu Bernard (ex-Hoxton) as the general manager. 

Spring will also see the talked-about debut of La Fantaisie on rue Cadet in the 9th. The hotel’s garden theme stems from neighborhood history: Jean and Jacques Cadet were renowned gardeners who supplied the 16th-century royal court. Not only will the hotel offer a secret garden, but there will also be a garden-inspired spa by Holidermie and a landscaped rooftop bar. The 63 rooms and 10 suites will also draw from the nature theme in design by Martin Brudnizki. In big food news, La Fantaisie will be home to the first Paris restaurant by Dominique Crenn, the first and only female chef in the United States to hold three stars (Atelier Crenn in San Francisco). Crenn has made her career in the U.S. and the return to her native France is the talk of the town. Designed with a greenhouse-style glass roof, the new Golden Poppy restaurant will champion a zero plastic and zero-waste approach. 

City of Light: Events and Exhibits in 2023

As a world culture capital, Paris puts on a thrilling events calendar and 2023 is no exception. The Musée d’Orsay will stage the “Manet / Degas” exhibit in March, while in the autumn, the Louvre will present “The Treasures of Notre-Dame”—featuring relics and treasures from the beloved cathedral prior to its 2024 reopening. There’s also a lot of buzz about the traveling exhibit, “Ramses and the Pharaohs’ Gold,” opening at the Grande Halle de la Villette on April 7. In terms of 2023 museum openings, the Musée National de la Marine will reopen after a big renovation in the Palais de Chaillot atop the Trocadéro. And the Maison Gainsbourg will open as a cultural center in the home of legendary musician Serge Gainsbourg in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district. 

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