French Glamour and Art: Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris

You know you’re in Paris when you munch on a Pierre Hermé croissant for breakfast, swim in a Philippe Starck-designed pool, admire artwork on a tour with a dedicated art concierge and, when it’s aperitif time, sip a Parisian Sling at the bar. Oh, and you run into a tennis star in the hotel lobby (decorated for the French Open with tennis rackets and balls strung above the flower arrangements). This is the scenario inside one address: 37 avenue Hoche, home to Le Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris. There are now 11 palace hotels in Paris, each dripping with Parisian glamour; among these ultra-luxury hotels, Le Royal Monceau has made it a quest to offer guests an immersion in art. 

What’s more, the hotel now offers additional perks with Le Club AccorHotels, as the Accor Hotels loyalty program merged with the Fairmont President’s Club in July 2018. A host of “Elite Experiences” are accessible with rewards points. On a recent stay at Le Royal Monceau, we opted to try one of these experiences: VIP tickets to a sold-out Shakira concert at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris. A personal driver whisked us to a separate entrance for quick access to Accor’s VIP box, where we were welcomed with champagne by Isabelle Birem ([email protected]), senior vice president-loyalty. Guests in the box are served drinks and a multi-course meal by wait staff. Other examples of “Elite Experiences” — available in cities around the world — include VIP access to sports events (like the French Open), fashion shows, private dinners with celebrity chefs, and backstage tours at the legendary Crazy Horse cabaret.

The Spa My Blend by Clarins has a 75-foot swimming pool that is bathed in natural light from above.

Back at Le Royal Monceau, the lobby is buzzing day and night. During our stay, fashion house Dior had booked the private cinema for an event. Parisians aren’t shy about their affection for this hotel — whether for business meetings or leisurely lunches with friends. The lunchtime bento boxes at Matsuhisa Paris — complete with the signature Miso Black Cod — are particularly popular. Don’t miss the “whisky iced cappuccino” dessert. Tip: When the weather’s nice, make sure you request a terrace table when booking. For enthusiastic cooks, Nobu sushi classes take place monthly. 

Art District at Le Royal Monceau is a contemporary art gallery that hosts art exhibitions.

There’s also fine Italian cuisine at the Michelin-starred Il Carpaccio. In the afternoon, Le Bar Long offers delicate teas and Pierre Hermé pastries, before it morphs into a cocktail bar in the evenings. Spring for a space at the (very) long luminous bar, which is positioned perpendicularly from the barman’s counter. (Philippe Stark had fun adapting “The Long Bar” concept from the original Raffles in Singapore.) Insiders tell us that a pair of guests even met and fell in love over this bar, returning to celebrate a wedding anniversary. 

Don’t skip breakfast. The lavish buffet is a star of Instagram. A rainbow of fruit, Pierre Hermé’s pastries paired with gourmet jams, and a gluten-free corner piled with madeleines, cake, and bowls of chia seeds… And if you need to take a break from carbo-loading, there’s detox water and vitamin-packed smoothies.

The 241 Presidential Suite has 3,041 square feet of space and comes with three bedrooms each with its own bathroom, a lounge and a separate dining room.

The hotel’s art concierge, Julie Eugène ([email protected]; 011-330-142-999-881), puts together a weekly newsletter called “Art for Breakfast” with Paris cultural recommendations. (Julie’s known to pull strings; she once organized a private tour of the renovated Picasso museum… on the same day it was inaugurated by the French president!) But you don’t have to leave Le Royal Monceau to get your art fix. The hotel is, in fact, a living art gallery with more than 300 works of art, including a number of statement pieces like Nikolay Polissky’s wood caribou sculptures and Stéphane Calais’s colorful painting, “A French Garden,” on the restaurant ceiling. Take a tour with Julie, browse in the cool art bookshop, then check out the changing exhibits at the hotel’s “Art District,” a contemporary art gallery. During our stay, the show was on Street Art, and Le Royal Monceau had commissioned Jef Aérosol, the famous graffiti artist behind the giant mural near the Centre Pompidou, to do stencils on the floor.  

The 85 guestrooms and 64 suites are also decorated with original artwork (and a guitar, ready to be played). There are coffee table art books and the desk is covered with a hand-drawn Paris map showing Starck’s favorite addresses (such as the Cartier Foundation for contemporary art). Luxe touches abound, but here’s what we love: The acres of marble in the bathroom with fluffy, oversized towels and Clarins beauty products. Another nice touch: All room lights can be turned off with a single switch. 

Il Carpaccio is a one-Michelin-starred restaurant that serves Italian cuisine.

The most requested room is the Suite Ray Charles (complete with a grand piano), which can be connected to the Penthouse Suite. Situated on the top floor, these suites have views overlooking the distinctive Parisian rooftops. The best rooms in the house are the Presidential Suites, sprawling across more than 3,550 square feet, and equipped with a private kitchen and personal fitness space. For VIP bookings, reach out to Candice Berger ([email protected]; 011-330-142-998-802), director of sales. Head Concierge Sayonara Juhens ([email protected]; 011-330-142-998-030) is happy to assist with special requests.

Don’t leave without getting a massage in the white-on-white spa (My Blend by Clarins) designed by Philippe Starck. To help narrow down your choices on the extensive treatment menu, contact Spa Manager Gaëlle Castex ([email protected]; 011-330-142-998-899). And here’s a hint: Request Paldon as your spa therapist.  

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