s the famous Audrey Hepburn quote goes, ‘Paris is always a good idea’. She’s right, but she also never said that. Just over two hours from London – thanks Eurostar – the home of Haute Couture, with gourmet food, world-renowned art, incredible live music and a rich cultural heritage awaiting around each and every Haussmannian corner, makes a beautiful destination for weekend breaks and romantic jaunts alike.
But when you’re done strolling the Champs Elysées and you’ve had your fill of vin rouge and pommes frites, you need somewhere to rest your weary head, and why settle for anything less than pure Parisian luxury? From charming chȃteaus to palatial residences with unbeatable views, these are ten of the best luxury hotels to book in the City of Light.
Bulgari Hotel, 8th arrondissement
Set in a decommissioned 1970s post office on Avenue George V at the heart of the Golden Triangle – Paris’s answer to Mayfair – the Bulgari Hotel is an elegant high-end hideaway just steps from the Champs Elysées. Housing 76 tech-forward rooms and suites – plus a vast €35,000-per-night penthouse, complete with panoramic city views and its own private roof terrace – each decked out in a signature blend of Franco-Italian glamour, this family- and pet-friendly palace is also home to a swanky state-of-the-art spa and capacious 25-metre underground swimming pool.
Cuisine at the hotel’s Il Ristorante - Niko Romito is, as expected from the eponymous Italian chef, a celebration of authentic Italian flavour, cut with a contemporary edge that epitomises the notion of ‘Made in Italy’. Design by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel is oozing with Italianate sophistication. Think sprawling marble surfaces, rich jewel tones and vintage portraits of Sophia Loren. This relative newcomer (doors opened in December of 2021) is quickly becoming one of the city’s hottest new hideouts.
Rooms from €991/night
Cheval Blanc, 1st arrondissement
Another recent opening in the City of Light, luxury lifestyle conglomerate LVMH launched its latest Cheval Blanc outpost late last year, slap-bang on Pont-Neuf, facing the artsy Left Bank. The former home of luxury Art Deco department store La Samaritaine, each space has been painstakingly redesigned by Peter Marino with a restrained luxury that epitomises the notion of Parisian elegance, with LVMH megabrands everywhere from the sharp Patou-designed uniforms to the blissfully serene Dior spa on the hotel’s ground floor.
Home to four restaurants, including Plénitude – helmed by three Michelin-starred chef Arnaud Donckele, the first Langosteria to open outside of Milan, an all-day cocktail bar-come-brasserie aptly named Le Tout-Paris, and a Rossano Ferretti Salon, guests may find it harder than expected to leave this well-appointed haven.
Rooms from €1,150/night
Four Seasons Hotel George V
With Eiffel Tower views, a five star spa and a stellar location just steps from the Arc de Triomphe, the Four Seasons’ flagship George V hotel is one of Paris’s most spectacular stays. Each of the hotel’s lavish rooms and suites is decadently furnished with elaborate chandeliers, gold-embroidered drapery and plush, swirling carpets, while grand marble bathrooms bathed in light hint at the sumptuous basement spa complete with two hammams and a tranquil swimming pool.
And while hotel eateries can occasionally leave a lot to be desired, with five Michelin stars between three restaurants, the Four Seasons is tough to beat when it comes to dining in-house. Guests can find fine French cuisine at three Michelin-starred Le Cinq, tuck into an Italian-Mediterranean feast at trendy spot Le George, or partake in plant-based plates at the light and airy L’Orangerie.
Rooms from €1,196/night
Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal, 1st arrondissement
Situated just across the street from the offices of fictional marketing firm Savoir in Netflix’s Emily in Paris, the Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal takes its name from the former royal palace that sits just a stone’s throw away. Providing a sanctuary away from the throng of tourists that flock to the Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries nearby, each of the hotel’s 68 bright and airy rooms welcome guests with soft hues and beautiful views across the city’s charming rooftops.
The hotel’s Holidermie spa, which also houses a swanky fitness centre, Star Hammam and hair salon, offers an extensive array of holistic treatments, including a signature rejuvenating facial and tailor-made massage. Food at the Maxime Raab-helmed Café 52 is a refined affair with a staunch focus on seasonality and balance of flavour. Ever-evolving must-try dishes include the seasonal gardener’s plate and the Smorrebrod: gluten-free bread from Chambelland bakery, accompanied by organic quail eggs or trout from the Pyrenees, and Corsican avocado and grapefruit.
Rooms from €447/night
Hôtel Plaza Athénée, 8th arrrondissement
Eagle-eyed fans of Sex and The City might already recognise Hôtel Plaza Athénée as the backdrop of Carrie Bradshaw’s short-lived Parisian adventure in the final two episodes of the series, but this romantic retreat has been playing host to the Paris elite since it opened in 1913. Set on the tree-lined Avenue Montaigne, mere steps from big-name boutiques including Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Prada, this Haute Couture haunt regularly welcomes the well-heeled denizens that descend upon the city for fashion week.
Adorned with thousands of ruby-red geraniums and with interiors decked out in an eclectic, contemporary mélange of classic Parisian elegance and Art Deco splendour, the hotel is home to five restaurants and bars offering up everything from afternoon tea soundtracked by a live harpist at La Galerie to al fresco French fare with a side of people watching at La Terrasse Montaigne.
Rooms from €890/night in low season and €1,180/night in high season
L'Hotel, 6th arrondissement
Nestled in the city’s creative Latin Quarter on the Rive Gauche, boutique bolthole L’Hotel exudes all the bohemian opulence you would expect of the former home of Oscar Wilde (and then some). On ascending the famed spiral staircase of the world’s first boutique hotel, guests are welcomed into one of 20 unique rooms, each resplendent in lavish velvet and silks, with original artwork and breathtaking bathrooms to boot.
A favoured haunt of artists, film stars and plugged in Parisians, cosy cocktail bar Wilde’s Lounge, located on L’Hotel’s ground floor, offers up an elegant array of Franco-Mediterranean fare – perfectly in tune with the bistro’s Empire-inspired design – and, each Thursday, hosts a roaring evening of cocktails, art and live jazz. Need to unwind after a long night of revelry? Book into the hotel’s private spa, complete with subterranean Hammam pool and steam room. This is truly the destination for those looking to live la vie bohème.
Rooms from €370/night
Le Bristol, 8th arrondissement
The first hotel in France to be awarded esteemed Palace status, Le Bristol, built in 1925, is a bastion of discreet French luxury. Housing an impressive 190 rooms and suites in the heart of Paris’s 8th arrondissement, and with five Michelin stars under one roof – including the four awarded to quintessentially French eatery, Epicure – this palatial retreat makes an ideal base from which to discover the city’s many cultural and culinary delights.
Pampering and relaxation await at Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie, where guests can indulge in a range of revitalising treatments, including a luxurious white caviar facial and Sensorial Resets by Tata Harper. Kids in tow? They'll be well cared for at Le Bristol’s swish kids club while you enjoy some well-deserved down time in the hotel's spectacular rooftop pool, complete with sun deck and views across Montmartre. Elsewhere, pet-owning guests can rest assured that furry friends will be welcomed with open arms – for over a decade Le Bristol has been home to Fa-Raon, a friendly Birman cat, whose position was recently succeeded by his son, a charming, blue-eyed kitten named Socrate.
Rooms from €1,220/night
Le Meurice, 1st arrondissement
18th-Century splendour meets contemporary surrealism at Le Meurice. Dubbed a modern-day Versailles, this palatial residence overlooking the Tuileries Gardens is a true testament to the deep cultural heritage of Paris, and the artists and creatives that have called its hallowed halls home, since it opened in 1815 (Pablo Picasso chose the hotel for the venue of his 1918 wedding to Olga Kokhlova, and Le Meurice also counts Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan among its clientele).
Guests here are guaranteed to eat well with all food overseen by the eminent Alain Ducasse, from the fare at his eponymous two Michelin-starred restaurant, to the complimentary chocolates that await your arrival. Downstairs, Le Meurice is home to Paris’ only Valmont spa; a sanctum of beauty, wellness and relaxation, complete with a beauty laboratory, open air terrace and intimate treatment spaces.
Rooms from €750/night in low season and €1,050/night in high season
Saint James Paris, 16th arrondissement
Tucked away in Paris’s 16th arrondissement, this charming chȃteau-meets-family estate feels more like a private members club than a fully-fledged hotel. Designed by Laura Gonzalez, each space is ornately decorated with a modern yet romantic take on Napoleonic French opulence. Expect clashing fabrics, patterns and colours, soaring ornamental frescoes and beautiful decorative objects covering every surface.
A recently-relaunched spa and wellbeing area, resplendent in Greco-Roman marble details with high, vaulted ceilings welcomes guests to check in and check out, while luxuriating in indulgent treatments provided by Guerlain. Helmed by chef Julien Dumas, Michelin-starred Le Bellefeuille – decked out in romantic, hand-drawn panoramas, light woodwork and soft green textiles – specialises in seasonal, artisanal cuisine with a focus on sustainability, while the Terrace, set under the sprawling Versailles-green pergola, offers a light menu to guests throughout the summer months.
Rooms from €540/night
Shangri-La, 16th arrondissement
Home to France’s only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, Shang Palace (which was recently re-awarded for the tenth year running), the Shangri-La seamlessly blends old-school European splendour with traditional Asian hospitality. Overlooking the River Seine and the Eiffel Tower and mere moments from Place du Trocadéro, the former home of Prince Roland Bonaparte is a fittingly palatial retreat, bathed in a soothing Rococo-inspired palette of duck-egg blues, muted golds and cream.
Set in the palace’s former stables, Chi, the Spa at Shangri-La provides guests with a welcome escape from the rush of the city outside, with all-natural treatments courtesy of the Organic Pharmacy. And once you’ve finished pampering, take a seat under La Bauhinia’s expansive glass roof and indulge in a delectable afternoon tea, topped off with champagne and a curious confit duck foie gras-flavoured Lapsang Souchong tea – if you’re brave enough, that is.
Rooms from €1,000/night including breakfast