Fodor's Expert Review Hôtel Molitor Paris

13 Rue Nungesser et Coli, Paris, France See on Map

This unique hotel's out-of-the-way location at the edge of the Bois de Boulogne is far outweighed by its possession of the legendary Molitor pool, an Art Deco gem that witnessed the bikini's debut and where Olympic swimming champ Johny Weissmuller--of Tarzan fame--was a lifeguard. Reopened as an MGallery Sofitel in 2014 (some rooms are in the old changing cabins), lucky guests and sports club members now have exclusive rights to the huge indoor and outdoor pools.

Tennis fans, this is the place to be during Roland Garros, as the courts are also in the Bois de Boulogne a five-minute walk from the hotel.


Rooms' pared-down contemporary design makes them feel roomier than they are--some having been the former changing cabins--with views of the pool from your bed, or private terrace in higher category rooms, and a few of the original Art Deco touches still in place. All rooms benefit from daylight from huge windows.

There are some interconnecting rooms for families, as this is an ideal hotel for kids.


Minimalist contemporary bathrooms sport ample walk-in rain showers and/or tubs and porthole windows for plenty of daylight. Luxury Clarins bath products are a nice bonus.


The graffiti art animating the lobby's many lively spaces, and art gallery, hearkens back to the pool's limbo stage, between its closing in 1989 and 2010, when renovations began, when it was a favorite canvas for local graffiti artists. Some of the graffiti works have been preserved in the various lounges, others were added to buoy the hotel's credo: "Art, Pool, Life." Colorful vintage furniture and tiled floors make these rooms a cheerful meeting place for a drink or just to lounge with a book around the pool.


Hands down Paris's best pools--both indoor (33 meters) and outdoor (50 meters)--and sports club, they are most definitely the star of the show.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Pool-side food service is not the hotel's strong suit, though you're welcome to fetch your own drinks to enjoy between dips.


One of the city's largest, the breezy Clarins spa reflects the original Art Deco character, sporting some of the original stained glass, plus lively wallpapers and tiles recalling of the pool's 1929 origins. The entire range of the French cosmetic giant's products is available for personalized beauty treatments and massages.

Pool-side beauty treatments are a fun alternative to staying indoors.


Guests benefit from all the equipment you'd expect in a 16,000 sqare-foot, state-of-the-art sports club, which is exactly what this is. Professional trainers are also on hand to help you maximize your workout time (book in advance).

In 2-17 the Molitor opened its Yoga Studio, which invites local and guest yogis to teach a daily program of 60-minute classes, mats and towels provided.


Healthy, high-quality dining has been a hallmark of the hotel's Brasserie Urbaine since it's opening, and its fun and stylish decor (graffitied, of course) and seasonal cuisine reflect its lively spirit. Dishes take the best of French, Italian, and American classics, with plenty of salads for lunch, and fish, meat and vegetarian options at dinner. From May to September the rooftop bar and grill, featuring simpler fare and great views of the Eiffel Tower, is the place to be. Breakfasts, both buffet, and à la carte, offering plenty of hot options along with the usual breakfast pastries, yogurt, fruit and all the healthful options you'll require before a day at the pool just outside the restaurant.


The chic hotel cocktail bar serves stylish cocktails and a good range of wines and spirits in a sophisticated atmosphere that really does beat any neighborhood bar. But in summer it's the rooftop bar that really draws the crowds, both for its drinks and bar menu as well as the stellar views of pool and Paris. Both offer a live DJ on weekend nights (until midnight).

YOU SHOULD KNOW In summer the rooftop bar is a happening neighborhood place, meaning sensitive sleepers tucked in before midnight might hear some noise.


Getting Around

Two nearby metro lines at the Michel-Ange-Molitor metro station, a few minutes away, get you to the city center in 15 minutes.

There's no arguing that this is an out-of-the-way location, but the hotel has made sure you have everything you need, and more on site. Sports fans will especially love the location a quick walk to Roland Garros, the Parc des Princes stadium, and the famous Auteuil and Longchamp racetracks. It's also a short walk from the stunning Jardins des Serres d'Auteuil, whose famous greenhouses were recently restored. Impressionist fans should not miss the wonderful Musée Marmottan Monet, housed in a stately mansion a pleasant 15-minute walk from the hotel. The Bois is also a lovely place to stroll, though you do not want to be caught out at dark when the park's infamous salubrious side emerges.


Le Relais d'Auteuil is a favorite of the moneyed locals for its extravagant French fare heavy on the snails, truffles and caviar and a wine list thick enough to double as a booster seat. For a fine Lebanese meal, you cannot go wrong at Solemar, a big neighborhood draw (both a 10-minute walk).


This is not a neighborhood for bars, but there are some decent cafés lining the Rue d'Auteuil, or you can pop into Les Deux Stations for a drink at the zinc bar or the Auteuil Brasserie for a planche of Italian cheese and charcuterie and a glass of Sicilian wine (both about a five minute walk).


Given the chance, most Parisians would stay here just for the chance to experience the legendary pool--a bone of contention for locals when the hotel announced it would remain private for guests and club members only. If you're the sporty type--spectators included--you'll love the hotel both for its emphasis on fitness and fun and it's proximity to Roland Garros, Paris's famous racetracks, and the lovely Jardins des Serres d'Auteuil.




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