Over the years I’ve learnt (sometimes the hard way) that there are three factors that go into making the perfect city hotel, whether for leisure or business. Those are location; a ‘sense of place’ (the feeling that you are actually in that particular city, rather somewhere so generic you wouldn’t know if you were in Barcelona or Buenos Aires); and great service, especially from the concierge.
Le Meurice delivers on all of the above – and then some. Quintessentially Parisian, it’s opposite the Tuileries Garden, in between the Place de la Concorde and The Louvre, and yes, with great Eiffel Tower views, too. With so much within close walking distance (or a very short drive), you are perfectly positioned, whether convenience or a sense of occasion is your priority.
And what could reflect this amazing city more than staying in the oldest Palace-status hotel in town? Opened in 1835 and decorated in such a wonderfully, sumptuously extravagant Louis XVI style, it could be nowhere else in the world. Eclectic, grand, quirky and unique, the old style is combined with all the high-spec, modern amenities and comforts you would expect from a world-class hotel. And it has always been this way; Le Meurice was the first hotel in Paris to offer both room service and hot and cold water in its bathrooms.
It’s also a centre for gastronomic excellence under the legendary Alain Ducasse. And it has a rich arts heritage. Salvador Dali was famously a resident for a month every year for more than 30 years, and the hotel has hosted the great and the good of the art world throughout its history – something you can sense in the overall dynamic of the hotel. Furthermore, the property runs an annual contemporary art competition, now in its 10th year.
Despite its occasionally overpowering interior design in the public spaces (attributable to a Philippe Starck refurbishment in 2016), the decor is opulent and understated enough elsewhere to be restful and comfortable, although the diverse clientele and large number of rooms err on the side of grand rather than boutique.
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