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Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris

Address: 37 Ave. Hoche

Neighborhood: 8th Arrondissement

City: Paris

Phone: 011-33-1-42-99-88-00


Expert Review

With the October 2010 debut of Philippe Starck’s top-to-bottom-redo of Le Royal Monceau, Paris officially added a seventh palace hotel to its ranks. Just a macaron’s throw away from the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysées, and the elegant Parc Monceau, the grand hotel first opened in 1928 and instantly became a hub of literary and artistic activity. Badly in need of a facelift, the hotel closed for two years of renovation in 2008, feted by an elaborate “Demolition Party” (where guests donned hard hats and grabbed sledge hammers). Though still maintaining its artistic and literary roots, the hotel is pure Starck fantasy now: staircases dripping with chandeliers and carpeted in bold geometric patterns; doors covered in shells and walls of mirrors; and, for good measure, giant wooden elk sculptures gracing the lobby. Each of the 85 spacious rooms, 54 suites, and 10 apartments have separate dressing rooms and enormous mirror-covered marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and rain showers, plus high-tech toilets with seat warmers that double as bidets. The bedrooms, done in surprisingly muted tones and plush fabrics, have gigantic mirrors that double as TV’s, as well as individual collections of books, art works, and artifacts from around the world. Each room comes with its own guitar, should you feel inspired to strum a tune, as well as a map of Paris (set into the top of the desk) with handwritten notes on where to shop, eat, and visit. Starck said he wanted guests to feel as though they are staying not at a hotel, but rather in the home of a well-traveled friend. A virtual universe within a hotel, guests might be tempted not to leave: There’s a lovely garden courtyard (with a giant sculpture of a teapot), five restaurants and bars (including a private cigar lounge), a contemporary art bookstore, and a 100-seat movie theater. Coming soon: a 16,000 square foot spa and fitness center boasting the largest indoor pool in a Paris palace hotel, a concept store, and several long-stay apartments in an adjacent building (all set to open by the end of summer 2011).

Tags: luxury | expensive | spa | swimming pool | design | hotel restaurant | hotel bar

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