Destination: France: Paris
Once a private residence in the 1890s, the Hotel Lancaster is a boutique alternative to neighboring palaces George V and Le Bristol. Located on a side street off the Champs-Élysées, this eight-floor mansion houses fifty-seven sophisticated rooms and fourteen suites appointed with French antiques and original artwork collected in the 1930s by the former owner. For a “town house” hotel, rooms are shockingly spacious, offering lots of light, and many are connecting making the Lancaster a great option for families.
January 2012 saw the completion of a yearlong refurbishment of the accommodations. Rooms were outfitted with modern amenities like plasma TVs, and furnishings were updated in cheerful pastels resulting in a modern twist on its formerly traditional aesthetic. The hotel’s one Michelin starred Asian-French restaurant, lobby and salons will undergo a full renovation in early 2013.
Mandarin Oriental Paris
The Mandarin Oriental opened its Parisian property on the corner of Rue St-Honoré and the Place Vendôme, right in the heart of the city’s best shopping. The eight-story building, boasts 138 rooms and suites situated around a large central courtyard.
The room décor consists of a single signature color (ranging from magenta to neon yellow) as well as lots of natural light and the Asian aesthetic the Mandarin Oriental brand is known for. Common spaces are adorned with original art—the work made completely of Swarovski crystals in the hotel bar is a sight to behold.
Michelin-starred Thierry Marx’s Sur Mesure restaurant, on the hotel’s ground floor, draws crowds, as does its underground spa, which boasts high ceilings, a large swimming pool and treatment areas with their own steam rooms.
WHO IT’S RIGHT FOR: Those who value light and space above all else and are not concerned with traditional decoration or a strong sense of place.
WHO IT’S NOT RIGHT FOR: Those who love traditionally decorated French hotels might be happier down the street at Le Bristol or the Ritz. The rooms, while bright, are modern and tend to feel more classically Asian than Parisian.
Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme
Hyatt masterfully created this luxurious hotel steps from the Place Vendôme. The sweeping lobby is one of the more inviting hotel public spaces in the city, and Ed Tuttle, the Paris-based American architect of many of the Amanresorts, designed the room with polished tropical wood, beige and cream fabrics, and bronze-silk curtains. Jean- François Rouquette does a brilliant modern grill menu in the Pur’Grill, and there’s a pleasant and well-equipped workout room with steam and sauna downstairs. But the X factor is the hotel’s toiletries, created by Parisian perfumer Blaise Mautin (my favorite of those at any Paris hotel). An excellent choice for singles (service is top-notch) and couples enjoying a long weekend in Paris. Rooms from $687.
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