Once a Spanish nobleman's town house, this luxurious retreat dating from 1889 dazzles with its elegant decor, lush courtyard, and international restaurant led by chef Julien Roucheteau. Set just off the Champs-Élysées, the hotel conveys an ambiance of old-world elegance concealing all the new world conveniences.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The lack of a spa does deter some, as it's one of the few five-stars without one these days. But there are plenty of good ones nearby, starting with the Institute Guerlain.
All of the rooms, which are large by Paris standards, have been decorated in classic French styling, with crisp linens, ambient lighting, and the latest technology. There are more than a thousand antiques and 18th-century paintings throughout the hotel, as well as the original wood parquet floors, yet you'll also find Bose speakers, free Wi-Fi, and double-paned, soundproof windows. The grand Marlene Dietrich suite (No. 401), where the actress once lived, has its own grand piano and DVDs of her films. Those who cherish a traditional look won't mind that some of the rooms feel a bit dated.
Some top floor rooms have large balconies, which add space and light to already large views.
Elegant marble baths were recently updated to include brighter lighting, classic modern fixtures, and double sinks (in higher category rooms only). Expect all the 5-star trimmings: fluffy towels, robes and slippers, Clarins bath products.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Not all of the bathrooms have been updated, ask if this is important to you.
Glide past the romantic oil paintings through the plush bar and Le Table bar and bistro to Monsieur restaurant. Through the the bar there's a small private room, also decked out in antiques, to relax with a magazine.
At Le Table bar and bistro you can get a drink, a light gourmet lunch, and tasty bar snacks to enjoy pre-dinner or later on. The elegant Monsieur restaurant lost one of its two Michelin stars, but this should not deter you, as the cuisine, service, and wines remain top-notch. The lovely dining room spills out onto a spacious outdoor terrace that's a delight on summer evenings.
Le Table bistro and bar offers a full selection of wine, drinks, and cocktails and you're welcome to linger over a drink or enjoy a full meal in a plush setting. The wine list reflects the hotel's high standards, a boon for wine lovers.
A two-minute walk to the George V metro station serving line no. 1, Paris's fast central line, and five minutes from Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, which takes you direct to the Trocadéro.
This is an ideal area if you want to be near the Champs-Élysées yet also close enough to transport and shopping. Though in a relatively peaceful upscale area, you're in the heart of the Golden Triangle, with some of the city's most glamorous shopping, and within easy walking distance of the rue Saint-Honoré, another shopping hotspot. You're also an easy walk to the Musée Jacquemart André, the Tuileries gardens, the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, and L'Orangerie (home of Monet's most famous Waterlilies) and the Jeu de Paume photography museum, both near Place de la Concorde.
For an excellent seafood plate, Restaurant Helen, a small bistro within easy walking distance of the hotel, is one of the neighborhood's best spots for fresh aquatic delights with superb wines to match (five minutes on foot). For something a bit more casual, head to newly reopened Le Drugstore at ever-chic Drugstore Publicis shopping complex. With 3-star chef Eric Frechon at the helm this is gourmet comfort food at its best (five minute walk, at 133 Ave. Champs-Élysées).
Marta, at the newly refurbished Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet on the Champs-Élysées, is a luxe, tranquil spot to settle in for a few drinks or for an elegant, if expensive, evening. The marble bar at Le Drugstore is glamorous in a more hip, energetic way, but the drinks and wines by the glass are top-notch (both five minutes from the hotel).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Though the hotel does seem out of another era, and some details feel tired, the hotel's impeccable service and quality dining raise it to a level that has earned the hotel many diehard fans.