From Backpacker Budgets to Princess Prices: New Hotel Finds in Paris
So you are finally going to Paris. But where to stay? Picking the wrong Parisian hotel can put a damper on your entire experience. On a recent trip I visited a number of new or redone hotels, from budget to green to luxury. In one way or another these Paris hotels inspired me, and I hope they will capture your imagination and motivate you to plan a trip to Paris in 2011.
For the babe on a budget
Located in the 15th Arrondissement, the Sublim Eiffel Hotel boasts a room rate that hovers around 100 euros a night,* which is a stone-cold bargain in this expensive town. The decor is decidedly modern and hip and the rooms are Parisian small—which is to say VERY small—but the quirky, fun design and the smart use of space make up for the tight squeeze. I particularly enjoyed the Paris map that adorned the carpet in my room, and the clever shower and tiny desk/office room. The lobby is also (you guessed it) small but features a café for drinks or breakfast (not included). This isn’t a full-service hotel—there is no concierge or gym or spa—but the lobby staff can guide you around the area. The 15th is somewhat unremarkable but does enjoy a nice shopping/market street in rue du Commerce, which is about a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Plus, you aren’t terribly far from the Eiffel Tower, or from some good dining spots: here are some our favorite restos in the 15th.
For the girl who loves green
If you are coming to Paris and want to keep your eco-conscious values intact, I suggest you check out one or two of the green-certified hotels in Paris. This is a movement in its infancy, but kudos must go to Hôtel Gavarni for being one of the early adopters. In a spectacular location in the 16th, just around the corner from rue Passy and all of its shopping glory, sits Hôtel Gavarni on the street of the same name. In my humble opinion the lobby really needs to be redone, and it is indeed scheduled for a makeover. But today you can enjoy the fourth floor, which has been finished to reflect the company’s environmental concerns; in fact, the entire hotel has been eco-certified. They’ve gone much further than the little sign we see in so many hotels that asks us to hang up the towels if we don’t want them washed. There are no little plastic bottles of shampoo or conditioner; rather, you must use the pumps in the shower. The showers on the fourth floor (and soon in the rest of the building) clean, recycle and reuse the water, so you can sit under the nozzle for hours and use only a gallon or two! The decor has been updated to a much more modern, fun, lively look than that of the other floors. I can’t wait until the whole hotel is finished. The breakfast is completely organic, as are all the juices and drinks in the minibar. Do remind the the staff, though, that you need real espresso if you like your coffee strong. Somehow they think all Anglophones enjoy very weak café. For those keeping track, one other green hotel is Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière on the boulevard George V, but oddly they don’t really target the green crowd. The decidedly more luxurious Fouquet’s is in a different price category, whereas Gavarni’s rates begin at just over 100 euros a night and go up to 300 for a suite. Plus, they have a special offer on now that sets the euro and dollar on equal footing—i.e., if your room is 200 euros a night, it will cost you $200. That’s a 30 percent savings, which means you’re going green to save green… Bonne idée.
Living it up
If money is no object and you demand excellent and attentive service, head to the newly opened the Shangri-La Hotel, also in the 16th. Painstakingly restored to its original splendor, this former hotel particulier was once home to Prince Roland Bonaparte, grandnephew of Napoleon. Traces of art deco and Art Nouveau as well as the classic style blend harmoniously with the grace of Pierre-Yves Rochon’s interior design. A swimming pool and spa just for hotel guests is opening this year, and there are many rooms in which to sit and sip tea, enjoy a glass of champagne or take a meal. There will be a Chinese restaurant opening in the summer (the Shang Palace), and the haute cuisine French resto L’Abeille, headed up by chef Philippe Labbé, has recently opened. The chandelier in La Bauhinia (the main dining room) was discovered during the renovation and is a dramatic thing of beauty. The room I was shown, at 600 euros a night, was comfortable and beautiful in an understated way. On the other end of the spectrum, the duplex suite with a million-dollar view of the Eiffel Tower is what dreams are made of. The cost for a night is a 5,000 euros. I actually found myself contemplating how that could be a good price. If you were traveling on business and entertained clients on the terrace with the view, surely you’d land some kind of huge deal. La tour is literally on your doorstep, and the terrace could seat 20 for dinner, so consider it next time all the stars align. If Shangri-La is beyond your budget, why not take tea in the glorious La Bauhinia room?
*The rates quoted are the best deals I could find. You’ll often pay more in high season.
Editor’s note: The Girls’ Guide to Paris has more than 90 hotels that you can book directly through us. Whether you’re on a budget or craving luxury, you can find something on our site that will suit your pocketbook and your dreams!