July 7, 2022
Tablet is your source for discovering the world’s most exciting boutique hotels — places where you’ll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. For over twenty years we’ve scoured the earth, evaluating hotels for every taste and budget, creating a hand-picked selection that’s proven and unforgettable. Now, we’re the official hotel selection of the legendary MICHELIN Guide.
Here are the top 10 boutique hotels in Paris.
As Parisian neighborhoods go, it doesn’t get much swankier than the Golden Triangle, that section of the 8th bounded by the Champs-Élysées and the Avenues Montaigne and George V. There’s no shortage of upscale hotels here, but the news that the Twenties-vintage Hotel Powers has been reborn as the Hotel Grand Powers adds another compelling destination to this already storied neighborhood.
As you’d expect from a combination of the Roaring Twenties and the Golden Triangle, the Grand Powers is luxe indeed, its thoroughly re-imagined interiors living up to the Haussmannian grandeur of the building’s façade. There’s a touch of Art Deco, a bit of British and Italian influence, and more than a dash of contemporary design, but overall the impression is as classic as it gets — some rooms have balconies, and some have views of the Eiffel Tower.
We’ve seen other historically inclined Parisian luxury hotels, but none that so masterfully distill the essence of this particular era. Le Cinq Codet begins with a Thirties office block, something of an early modernist monument, and the contemporary renovation stays faithful to the period. The result, thanks to the work of star designer Jean-Philippe Nuel, is something that’s as stylish as any Parisian boutique and very nearly as luxurious as any of its famous grand palace hotels.
What’s not period per se is period-inspired, the stylish seriousness of interwar modernism being very much in fashion at the moment. The rooms and suites, meanwhile, are a subtle revelation: the eccentric layouts, many split-level, make for accommodations that are nothing if not memorable, and spaces that are inspiring and efficient, even if they’re somewhat more typically Parisian when viewed in terms of raw square footage. And the overriding feeling is of a hotel whose every element is expertly selected, from the artworks to the furnishings, across a range of eras from 20th-century classics to the present day.
No relation to Degas, if that’s what you’re thinking: such a reference would be way too on-the-nose for a hipster-friendly hotel located in an old textile workshop in the quickly evolving Parisian neighborhood known as Little Egypt. Edgar is actually the name of the son of Guillaume Rouget-Luchaire, the creative visionary behind the project. After closing his restaurant on the Marais, he snapped up the dilapidated factory. But instead of hiring a design firm, he invited his friends — a mix of designers, filmmakers, and artists — to help transform the space. The result? A quirky but upscale boutique that feels like an indulgent large-scale art installation with a chic breakfast and complimentary bicycles for an impromptu spin around the second arrondissement.
To call these guest rooms “individually decorated” would be a wild understatement: each one could belong to a different hotel. There’s the sultry, almost all-black “Ebène Rock” by a Chanel designer, the childhood fantasy-like “Dream,” where the decor includes toy cars and action figures, the woodsy but minimalist “La Chambre Perchée,” put together by a treehouse designer, and more classically elegant rooms like Pierre Frey’s dapper “Black & White.” It’s all grounded by Rouget-Luchaire’s particular aesthetic: he likes color and pattern, from the tiled floors to the jade-colored walls, and mixes decorative Art Deco elements with the clean lines of modern Scandinavian design. And there’s substance to the style, too: in the end, it’s a hotel, not an art project, and guest rooms come stocked with complimentary tea and apples, plus free wi-fi. Bocce ball sets and gourmet Edgar picnic baskets, on request, help complete the picture-perfect Parisian getaway.
When we started Tablet we used to complain that all Paris had going for it was its grand old palace hotels. Since then, we’ve been forced to eat our words a dozen times over, as boutique after boutique has set up shop in the French capital. But we don’t mind — a little humble pie is a small price to pay if what you get in return is hotels like Adèle & Jules, a 60-room beauty in the Right Bank’s up-and-coming Grands Boulevards district.
It’s the youngest sister in a family that already includes Hôtel Thérèse and Hôtel Recamier, so you’re not entirely in uncharted territory. The rooms are cozy, this being Paris and all, but some come with balconies, many with Nespresso machines, and the junior suites feel like small Parisian apartments, something we’ve all been guilty of daydreaming about from time to time.
Tablet’s been online long enough to see several evolutions of Philippe Starck’s hospitality-design career, and with Brach Paris we find him in yet another mood — this hotel, in Paris’s 16th, makes an unlikely sort of glamour from the materials of the 1970s, to suit the building’s vintage. This means glossy wood paneling, leather, metal, vibrant patterns in earthy colors, and mirrors more or less everywhere.
Rooms, as you’d expect from Starck, are full of unexpected visual details, but their thoroughgoing luxury — marble basins, soaking tubs, automated blackout shades — make them feel eclectic rather than prankish. And the suites are particularly lavish, featuring terraces with 180° views of Paris, some of them facing the Eiffel Tower. In Starck’s hands whimsy and high luxury go hand in hand, which makes for a memorable stay, to say the very least.
A hotel that provides some kind of a local experience, whether it’s an artist-in-residence painting a mural in the lobby or a cocktail bar that attracts people from the neighborhood for drinks after work, is already a step ahead of the competition. That’s especially true in a city like Paris, where the line between local and tourist feels so sharply drawn. Le Roch Hotel & Spa takes care of that. The interior designer, Sarah Lavoine, isn’t just one of those intimidatingly hip Parisians. She’s a much sought-after creative who lives and works — and shops, eats, and drinks — in the neighborhood. And she’s put her heart and soul into the place. The result is a 37-room boutique hotel that embodies that seemingly effortless elegance that we we love to associate with Paris. That the hotel also has five-star comforts and an ideal location between the Place de l'Opéra and the Place Vendôme in the 1st arrondissement, well, that’s just icing on the proverbial cake.
Forget minimalist lines and all-white interiors: thanks to large windows everywhere, Le Roch is filled with natural light, but Lavoine’s aesthetic is dark and sumptuous, exuding old-world glamour with a modern edge. Think chocolate, black, and navy blue, Carrera marble and walnut flooring, sculptural lamps and large round mirrors, patterned rugs and velvet sofas you’ll be glad to sink into after an afternoon walking around the city. That’s the idea here — a home away from home, with better sheets and pain au chocolat on the breakfast table.
It would be an exaggeration to say there’s no such thing as a new building in central Paris. There are a few. But much more common are new uses for old buildings. Take the Hotel Monge, tucked into an old mansion between the Pantheon and the Jardin des Plantes in the heart of the Latin Quarter. The building dates from 1876, and for years, it was the residence of a wealthy family that played frequent host to the Left Bank’s rotating cast of artists and writers. Now, after extensive renovations, it’s a 30-room boutique hotel.
Needless to say, many of the mansion’s lovely original features remain: parquet floors, high moulded ceilings, working marble fireplaces. Even with the updates, Hotel Monge’s interiors stay very much grounded in place. That’s not just any velvet covering that pillow or loveseat, it’s velvet by Pierre Frey, the long-established Parisian purveyor of fine materials for the home — and that’s not just any old wallpaper, that’s a tropical print by Deyrolle, the whimsical shop first opened by the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Deyrolle in 1831. Guest rooms are generally petite, but elegant, with earth-toned decor, walk-in showers stocked with L’Occitane products, flat-screen TVs, and triple-glazed windows — it’s a busy neighborhood, and with good reason.
Though it’s a newcomer to the Parisian luxury-hotel scene, the Hotel Bowmann has no trouble fitting in: it’s a lively blend of classic Haussmannian architecture, modern furniture design, and contemporary decoration. The location — on Boulevard Haussmann, fittingly — is close to the Parc Monceau, and surrounded by a wealth of art galleries in the north end of the 8th. And the atmosphere, for lack of a better label, is “discreet luxury” — smaller and more intimate than Paris’s officially designated palace hotels, it’s nevertheless a thoroughly high-end experience, with no compromises made in either comfort or service.
In classic Parisian style the entry-level rooms are relatively compact, though spacious enough and more than a little bit plush. The Executives and Deluxes quickly add enough space to make a noticeable difference, and look out over either the hotel’s garden or the Boulevard Haussmann. And the suites are positively capacious, all with separate bathtubs and showers, some with Eiffel Tower views, and the top-end suite spanning 100 square meters plus an additional 100 square meters of terrace, complete with a jacuzzi and a panoramic view. To this you can add the 99 Hausmann restaurant and bar, with garden and terrace seating, and a spa by Lacure Officine.
Suffice it to say that the Saint James is anything but typical. In Paris an hôtel particulier, a freestanding house, is unusual enough — something like the Saint James, almost a country-style château, surrounded by a wall and garden, is vanishingly rare. And now that it’s open for business as a hotel, it’s almost too much to take. Our English teachers taught us that something either is or is not unique — there are no such things as degrees of uniqueness. But then they’ve never stayed at the Saint James, which is, grammar be damned, one of the most unique hotels we’ve ever seen.
It’s partly owing to the house’s situation, to be sure, but most of the place’s personality is thanks to the work of Bambi Sloan, an iconoclastic, self-taught Parisian designer whose work shows no regard at all for the uptight geometries and constrained palettes of the stereotypical “minimalist” boutique hotel. The common thread is a sensibility that’s eclectic and whimsical but never kitschy or unserious; the spaces are full of unexpected detail but sophisticated all the same.
One of the most storied Parisian neighborhoods, Le Marais is known for its aristocratic distant past, its rather more debaucherous recent history, and its current status as one of the city’s most artistic and creative districts. Hoteliers EVOK, the group responsible for Tablet favorites Brach and Nolinski, have taken inspiration from the most colorful aspects of the Marais, and the proof is in the name: Sinner evokes both the ecclesiastical orders who first established this district and the contemporary pleasure-seekers who visit it today.
Designer and architect Tristan Auer was given free rein to create a truly immersive experience, one marked by dramatic public spaces, opulent guest quarters, and a dash of the carefree optimism of the Seventies. The result is colorful, eclectic, and though tightly composed, far from minimal — less “urban zen” than invigorating sensory overload. It’s vibrant and incredibly dramatic, but elegant all the same, and as plush as can be, in keeping with its hedonistic mission.
If it’s not your first time in Paris, you might be interested in exploring other neighborhoods than the most popular ones. These are less convenient for the most touristy sites, but can feel more authentically Parisian. Check out the following boutique hotels if it’s not your first time in Paris.
Grand Pigalle Hotel
Mama Shelter Paris
Hôtel Fabric Paris
Hôtel Providence Paris
When it comes to a romantic spot for a special occasion in Paris, we would urge you to consider the following boutique hotels:
Le Pavillon de la Reine & Spa
Le Pigalle Paris
Hôtel Grand Powers Paris
La Réserve Paris Hotel & Spa