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Paris

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Le Meurice

Address: 228 Rue de Rivoli

Neighborhood: 1st Arrondissement

City: Paris

Phone: 011-33-1-44-58-10-10

Website: www.lemeurice.com

Expert Review

In the City of Light, luxury is a serious business, so when it came to naming our favorite hotel – George V? St. James? Plaza Athénée? The Ritz? – we were a bit bewildered. Enter Le Meurice: Its location, between the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre, near the Champs-Elysées yet sequestered from its hustle, and looking onto the lovely Tuileries Gardens, is unparalleled. Plus, having provided luxurious accommodations to a high-profile clientele – everybody from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Dali – for nearly two centuries, Le Meurice's masterly white-glove service and spectacular public spaces ensure an experience fit for a king (pre-guillotine days, of course!).

The hotel's 160 sumptuous guest rooms and suites are individually decorated to combine fine period furnishings, rich fabrics, oversized marble bathrooms, and up to date amenities like high-speed Internet and flat-screen TVs. Of the several higher-floor rooms with garden-view balconies, the most spectacular is the expansive Belle Étoile Suite, with a terrace that boasts 360-degree panoramas over the Parisian skyline.

Other Paris hotels have restaurants, but Le Meurice has Yannick Alléno – one of the most innovative, talented young chefs in the world – helming two eateries. Le Dali, set under a stunning 1500-square foot mural canvas painted by Philippe Stark’s daughter Ara, offers a less-pricey taste of Alléno's skills and pays homage to the surrealist artist who once called Le Meurice home, beseeching the staff to catch flies for him in the Tuileries or fill his room with a herd of sheep. A Michelin three-starred restaurant, a Valmont spa, and an elegant lobby highlight the public spaces. Best season for value: fall. 2008 Smart Luxury Award winner

Great Value Alternative: Hôtel Langlois offers loads of atmosphere and a lot of space. www.hotel-langlois.com

Tags: luxury | expensive | smart splurge | smart luxury winner | views | jim's pick

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