A spate of new hotel openings makes Paris the hottest city this season
We all know the beauty of Paris. Gorgeous architecture, a walkable size, world-class museums and oh-so stylish shops. And that’s before we mention the incredible restaurants and mouth-watering patisseries. But over the past year, we’ve noticed that something’s afoot in the City of Light. Not only do we see new concept shops and cocktail bars, new hotels are cropping up apace – there’s now more fodder than ever for the aesthete. We’ve chosen three properties that not only boast design cred by the bucket load, they also have a rich history to match. The Peninsula is an old-school hotel that’s been given new life; the Molitor is a former public swimming pool that’s now an achingly well-crafted hotel; Les Bains was once a raging night club frequented by the likes of Mick Jagger and Kate Moss.
The lowdown Old-school extravagance near the Arc de Triomphe.
Best for Glamour pusses eager to retrace the steps of Picasso or Proust.
Pack your finest for a trip to The Peninsula; from the moment you step into its wonderfully over-the-top lobby, with its bespoke installation of 800 hand-blown crystal leaves, you’re in the land of luxe.
It first opened in 1908 as The Majestic and played host to high society for several decades (including a famous party with Stravinsky, Proust, Joyce and Picasso in attendance) before falling into government hands during the war.
Restoration to its former glory took four years and 40,000 pieces of gold leaf. Every detail was painstakingly considered and each room features both sumptuous interiors in greys and creams and super-smart technology; there are even personal nail-varnish dryers in the dressing rooms.
Secure the Katara suite with its private rooftop garden and you’ll really be living la vie en rose…
Book it: Double rooms from €795 a night.
The lowdown An Art-Deco lido that’s now a hotel and members club.
Best for Design lovers who are partial to a dip.
The Molitor Lido has been a 16th-arrondissement establishment ever since its 1929 opening, when it quickly became a hotspot for bathing beauties (Johnny Weissmuller of Tarzan fame was lifeguard for a while and the bikini made its first appearance here). But the architectural masterpiece fell into disrepair in the Eighties and graffiti artists and ravers took over.
There has been a reincarnation; the venue now offers a high-end hotel, sports club and Clarins spa, complete with a restaurant and rooftop bar. Once likened to a cruise liner, the structure is an exemplar of Deco design. The sensitive restoration incorporates the original stained-glass porthole windows and mosaic floors, and these are teamed with concrete walls and exposed industrial fittings for a modern twist.
Shapely Twenties-style furniture and icy blue accents complete the look of the public spaces, while the 104 rooms and 20 suites display sleek monochromes. Our insider tip? Request one of the rooms looking onto the outdoor pool (46m and heated all year round). And even if you visit during winter, be sure to pack your swimming gear – for the softies, there’s a 33-metre indoor pool as well.
Book it: Double rooms from £158.
The lowdown Five-star luxury rooms on the site of a famed night club.
Best for Night owls looking to stay in a hipster part of town.
The Haussmannian building that now holds this 39-room hotel has a wonderfully colourful story. A few steps from the Centre Pompidou in the vibrant Marais quarter, it used to be the most famous thermal bathhouse in the French capital before being transformed in the Seventies into the most notorious nightclub – considered Paris’s answer to New York’s Studio 54 and with A-listers such as David Bowie, Karl Lagerfeld, Naomi Campbell and Andy Warhol as starry regulars.
The club closed in 2010, but it wasn’t long before the new owner, filmmaker Jean-Pierre Marois, made the move to create the chic boutique hotel you find today. The bar and restaurant remain a highlight, a wonderfully moody, blood-red space with a curved ceiling.
It’s dripping with references to its heritage, from floor tiles that chime with the bathhouse theme to framed fluoro posters of Eighties gigs. French elegance best describes the bedrooms, which, with their distressed carpets and walls, have a timeless appeal.
Will Les Bains the hotel have as starry a guestlist as the club had? We reckon so.
Book it: Double rooms from £275.