Amid the hustle and bustle of the Grands Boulevards may not seem like the most serene or desirable place to lay your head, but it turns out this Revolution-era sanctuary tucked back off the teeming street is an island of calm, and a very chic one at that. One of the city's first openings of 2018, we take it as a sign that this vibrant, off-the-radar neighborhood is finally getting its due.
Summer is the time to take full advantage of the hotel's outdoor nooks. Fewer than a quarter of the rooms have balconies, but there some in every price range. We love the soaring ceilings and boulevard-facing balconies on the second floor mezzanine rooftop, but a tiny courtyard garden terrace is just too adorable.
With saturated jewel tones, huge mirrored TVs, classy furniture, and marble accents, even the smallest of these minimalist rooms feels elegant, and tall draped headboards add a Marie-Antoinette-worthy flourish. Windows range from floor-to-ceiling (as on the second floor mezzanine, where you can step out onto your own rooftop patio) to smallish with classic wood shutters in sloped top-floor rooms with hand-hewn ceiling beams restored by a team of artisans. Everything here has been "sourced," from the Swedish Sjostrand coffee makers you've never heard of and coffee pods from London to the cocktails in your minibar.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Balconies on the mezzanine are noisy, since they face the Boulevard Poisonnière. But they're so cool who cares?
Airy, sherbet colored bathrooms hew to the hotel's "indoors-meets-outdoors" theme, with pristine white tiles and vintage-inspired fixtures. The larger suites have both a bath and a giant walk-in shower, though mid-sized and smaller rooms come with one or the other. Bath products are a mixed bag, literally, of sought-after artisan brands and if there's one prefer you can request the whole line.
There really is no lobby, but the cobbled reception area leads to an intimate bar, an indoor-outdoor terrace bar with a retractable glass roof, and a comfy-chic restaurant where you're welcome to lounge anytime during the day.
Overlooking the patio, the upbeat restaurant serves three meals a day (including an à la carte breakfast) from a semi-open kitchen. The menu was designed by Giovanni Passerini, one of Paris's favorite pioneers of the bistronomy movement, in keeping with this hotel group's vested interest in top-notch food and drink (the Experimental group is behind a handful of the city's chic hotels and cocktail bars).
YOU SHOULD KNOW Though it's great to have a popular restaurant and bar in-house, know that you are in the midst of a culinary melting pot par excellence and you will want to partake of the riches.
The Shell is as intimate a cocktail "club" as you'll find, a trend in the hip new-generation hotels, and this stylish little lounge will no doubt be a big neighborhood draw, considering its cutting edge creds and bespoke cocktails featuring health-conscious ingredients like kombucha, purple carrot or basil juice, maple syrup, and smoked salt. The 12-seat bar opens onto a spacious terrace bar whose retractable roof opens in nice weather.
One minute from the Grands Boulevards metro station, serving two lines, and a few stops from République, a major metro hub.
Sentier-Arts et Métiers is one of Paris's up-and-coming-areas, full of happening cocktail bars, restaurants, and boutiques, and equidistant to so many desirable attractions. From the charming historic covered passages on nearby Boulevard Haussman (Panoramas, Verdeau, Jouffroy), the colorful markets and cafés on rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis and the foodie headquarters of tiny rue du Nil, shopping on and around the rues Étienne Marcel and Montorgueil, and you're within easy walking distance to Les Halles, the Marais, the big department stores, and the Palais Royal gardens.
There's so much to choose from it's mind-boggling, starting with the Frenchie empire (Frenchie gastronomic restaurant, Frenchie to Go, Frenchie Bar à Vins) on nearby rue de Nil, to L'Office and Le Richer, serving the kind of low-key gastronomic bistro fare that's reinstated Paris as a foodie capital (all within a five-ten-minute walk). In the atmospheric Passage Panoramas, a must-see anyway, you'll find no less than a half-dozen worthy dining spots, including the fabulous Racines wine bar, two-Michelin-star Passage 53, Café Stern, Canard et Champagne, Noglu (non-gluten restaurant), three minutes on foot from the hotel.
Wine lovers do not miss Frenchie Bar à Vins, where you can order a glass from any bottle on the excellent menu, and night owls head to Club Silencio, David Lynch's oh-so-cool club (after midnight for non-members), and the Hoxton Hotel's charmingly intimate Jacques Bar are all within a five-minute walk.