The Bel Ami hides its past as a 18th-century printing house (where the first edition of Guy de Maupassant's Bel Ami was printed) behind sleek, designer furnishings—think mid-century modern meets Pop Art—and all the latest technology. A few blocks from one of the oldest churches in Paris and just behind the Café Flore and Les Deux Magots, this location is so steeped in Left Bank lore that you could almost imagine yourself on a Paris movie set.
This five-star hotel is a Starwood property, so members are eligible for steep discounts.
Cozy rooms lean toward minimalist chic, with blond-wood accents, ultra-contemporary fixtures, and a classic fifties color scheme, which is just fine with this hotel's young and trendy clientele. Higher category rooms are worth the extra square footage. Rooms have coffee and tea-making facilities.
YOU SHOULD KNOW If you're coming during a Paris fashion week, at the end of September and February, book well in advance.
Ample, ultra-modern baths in elegant natural materials—marble, wood, ceramic tile—are spotlessly clean and offer all the upscale amenities—heated towel rack, luxe products, fluffy towels, robes, etc.
You're immediately struck by the contemporary lobby, with club music and a sleek fireplace lounge to match. There's a small library for catching up on the latest art trends or fashions, and large windows for plenty of light and a little Saint Germain people watching.
A small menu of spa rituals, from the Paris-based company Carita, is available in the Tibetan-style Wellness Center's two relaxing treatment rooms, including massage, facial and skin treatments, and manicure and pedicure.
The small fitness room's long hours—from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.—gives you plenty of time to get your workout on a standard variety of equipment in, or, better yet, use the sauna.
Breakfast is an elegant affair, with plenty of high-quality choices at the sleek breakfast bar, or you can opt for a rather steep but very good brunch (55€), which will last you the day.
The hotel offers a limited but tempting menu of room service meals or snacks.
The hotel bar offers wine, spirits and cocktails in a chic design atmosphere, including comfy lounge chairs, done up in neutrals or acid green velvet, and bubble chairs, if you dare.
A quick walk from the Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Mabillon metro stations, as well as several buses on the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Set on a quiet street just off the bustling Boulevard Saint-Germain, you're in the heart of Left Bank life, buzzing with sophisticated boutiques, cafés, and restaurants, and close to many not-to-miss sites. Within minutes of two historic churches—Église de Saint-Germain des Prés and Saint Sulpice—you're only steps from the Musée Eugène Delacroix (in the lovely Square Furstenberg), a few minutes walk to the Luxembourg gardens and museum, and 10 minutes from Notre Dame and the Louvre. It's also close to La Monnaie de Paris, the Paris mint, with a fabulous art gallery, Guy Savoy's 3-Michelin star restaurant, and a bunch new shops. Great restaurants, cafés, and wine bars abound and the flâneurs among us will never tire of the discoveries to be made on foot.
Relais de l'Entrecote Saint Germain, serving classic bistro fare—steak-frites, paté maison, copious salads, etc.—is steps away. Bistro king Yves Camdeborde's Le Comptoir du Relais is a favorite small bistro, with outdoor dining, a big mirrored menu of the day and plenty of fresh bistro salads is a short walk away. Semilla, a few minutes from the hotel, is an absolute favorite for its friendly vibe, fresh and plentiful dishes, and excellent wine list. Also minutes away, Tiny Le Timbre (the postage stamp) serves up farm-to-table fare in a charming atmosphere. For great pastry, both Mulot, a Paris institution, and rockstar pâtissier Pierre Hermé's Rue Bonaparte flagship are a short walk from the hotel.
Though not exactly a bar, you won't get a more classic—if pricey—Parisian experience than at the Café Flore or Les Deux Magots, a minute from the hotel. But if it's cocktails you're after, head to Tiger, for a truly top-notch drinks experience. We love Freddy's Wine Bar, a quick walk away, on the Rue de Seine and the Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, five minutes from the hotel, for tasting excellent wines along with a great variety of small plates.