Suite Dreams: The New Hotel Wave in Paris

Whether you’re a fashion fanatic, design devotee or history buff, Paris hotels serve up sumptuous suites to fulfill your fantasy. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to living la vie parisienne.

In Paris, hotels are destinations themselves. Hôtel Lutetia in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter on the Left Bank has served as a gathering place for neighborhood society, as well as artists, writers and musicians since it opened in 1910. 

A four-year, $235 million renovation unveiled last summer has restored the Lutetia as the quarter’s focal point across from the legendary Bon Marché department store. The Bar Joséphine draws a crowd day and night for tea, cocktails and tasty tapas. And the Brasserie reopened in February 2019 under the auspices of famous French chef Gérald Passedat, who holds three Michelin stars at Le Petit Nice in Marseille.  

Hotel Lutetia’s Josephine Baker Suite has a terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower.

The restoration by Jean-Michel Wilmotte reduced the room count from 233 to 184, including 47 suites, with bathrooms done up in exquisite Calacatta marble. You’d be hard-pressed to choose among the seven signature suites, which are located on the top floors (fifth through seventh). The Haute Couture Suite is outfitted with unique items from top French fashion houses, while the Eiffel Writer’s Suite is designed with a library and a writer’s desk in front of a window facing the Eiffel Tower. Designed with bespoke lighting and Art Deco features, the Josephine Baker Suite is named for the great chanteuse who frequented the hotel, and has a terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Take it up a notch with the Saint Germain Penthouse, which has an enormous rooftop terrace with 360-degree views over the city. Last but not least: The Presidential “Carré Rive Gauche” Suite is a palatial pad decorated with antiques and artwork supplied by the famous neighborhood galleries known as the Carré Rive Gauche. Measuring 1,819 square feet, the Presidential Suite comes with a kitchenette and a fitness room with a view.

Brach Paris’s sports club has a swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, a Himalayan salt cave and a crew of trainers for fitness and relaxation programs. // Photography: Guillaumede Laubier

For VIP bookings, reach out to Philippe Moulinier ([email protected]). Don’t miss the subterranean spa, decorated in acres of marble, with a sublime swimming pool and fitness room. Spa Director Nadia Gobert ([email protected]) is happy to assist with requests.

In the residential 16th arrondissement in western Paris, Evok Hotels made a splash with the autumn 2018 opening of Brach Paris. Designed by Philippe Starck, Brach is hip, stylish and fun. A former postage sorting center from the 1970s now houses 59 guestrooms with soaring ceilings, dreamy bathrooms and in-room “concept stores” offering pre-made cocktails and games. The restaurant buzzes with a local crowd at all hours of the day; Sunday brunch is particularly popular. But it’s the sports and health club — aesthetically inspired by a 1930s boxing club — that’s really caused a stir in this tony quarter. There’s a crew of professional trainers, a Himalayan salt cave and an indoor swimming pool with an enormous Jacuzzi that can accommodate 35 people. Up next: The terrace bar will open as an instant hot spot this spring.

The restaurant at the hotel Brach Paris that serves Mediterranean cuisine. // Photography: Guillaumede Laubier

The fifth and sixth floors house seven suites, all with marble bathrooms made for lingering and terraces overlooking the Paris skyline. Suite guests are privy to an exclusive rooftop garden landscaped with vegetable beds and a henhouse (oui, you can accompany the chef to choose your eggs for a morning omelette). Philippe Starck’s style is on full display in our favorite suite, the Suzanne, which has already served as a set for photo shoots and films. It’s a melange of modernist chairs, African art, bespoke lamps and furniture made from raw, natural materials. Walls are covered in marble and Makassar ebony wood. The best part of all? The terrace has a Norwegian wood hot tub with views of the Eiffel Tower. The Suzanne measures 1,238 square feet, while the Georges, another favorite suite, encompasses 753 square feet. For VIP bookings, reach out to Madeleine Sadin ([email protected]), deputy general director.

Brach’s Suzanne Suite comes with an 861-square-foot terrace. // Photography: Guillaumede Laubier

Live like the French aristocracy of bygone centuries at Hôtel Alfred Sommier, which quietly debuted behind Place de la Madeleine last summer. The five-star hotel occupies a hôtel particulier (or a nobleman’s mansion) which once belonged to a distinguished family of industrialists in the 19th century. The Sommier family made a fortune in the sugar refinery business, before building this grand house and acquiring the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte outside Paris. The hotel is the pet project of descendent Richard de Warren, whose goal is to welcome guests as if to a private family home.

A grand staircase is flanked by two marble statues, which give their name to the Restaurant Les Caryatides. In the dining room, under the glass atrium, or out on the terrace, refined French fare is served on Gien plates designed with the Alfred Sommier monogram. There are 50 fireplaces throughout, along with ceiling frescoes, oak hardwood floors, and gilded ornamentation in Louis XV style. The pièce de résistance is the courtyard garden, a rarity in this busy part of the eighth arrondissement.

Insider Secrets: There are 80 rooms, including 22 suites. No. 203 is a popular choice, with abundant gold moldings, while Suite Vaux-le-Vicomte is billed as the best room in the house, with a view on the garden. The biggest suite is the Alfred Sommier, which has high ceilings and a balcony. Room amenities include Guerlain bath products, Nespresso machines and minibars stocked with complimentary juices and soft drinks. Note that 14 rooms interconnect for families traveling together. Nice Touch: Each room has its own secure Wi-Fi network.

Hotel Alfred Sommier has 80 rooms, including 22 suites.

For VIP bookings, reach out to Sales Director Julia Amouval ([email protected]; 011-33-018-822-3344). Head concierge Bastien Bonvarlet ([email protected]; 011-33-018-822-3320) honed his skills on the French Riviera and in Paris, where he has a rolodex of insider addresses. Tip: For fun anecdotes and special insights into the hotel and family history, join owner Richard de Warren for an evening aperitif or hosted dinner.  

Hotel Alfred Sommier's restaurant and bar overlook a private garden. 

Dining Intel for Paris

Currently under renovation, the Eiffel Tower’s gastronomic restaurant, Le Jules Verne, will reopen in May under chef Frédéric Anton. Thierry Marx will be designing the concept for the Eiffel Tower’s brasserie. Former Top Chef champion Stéphanie Le Quellec has left the Prince de Galles hotel, just after clinching a second Michelin star, to work on a new project. The latest from Hélène Darroze is Joia, serving comfort food from southwestern France. Eric Frechon is marking 20 years at Le Bristol Paris, and 10 years with three Michelin stars, with a special celebratory menu at Epicure. Pierre Gagnaire has opened an Italian eatery called Piero TT in the space formerly occupied by Gaya. Alain Ducasse has gotten into the coffee business with a new specialty roastery, and he’s also taken over the Adjugé restaurant at the famous Hotel Drouot auction house. After leaving Clown Bar, chef Sota Atsumi will soon be unveiling his own restaurant called Maison. L’Hotel du Louvre will reopen this spring after a two-year renovation with the first Parisian restaurant for the Maison Bocuse.

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