As our dear pal Emily would attest (though perhaps don't bring her up on your trip) there's nowhere quite like Paris. Food, fashion, art, wine, endless boulevards and cobbled lanes, stunning architecture and unrivalled café culture; the French capital has it all.
But, whether you are a new visitor or an old regular, finding the right Parisian bolthole is a must. So from boutique enclaves and titans of old-school glamour to celeb-riddled spots and stunning new additions overlooking the Seine, here is our round-up of the finest hotels in Paris to make your time in the city of lights as special as possible.
This old grand dame of Paris was first built in 1910 and has evolved through the decades from Art Nouveau grandeur to Art Deco cool. A refurbishment in 2018 brought the hotel - the only five-star luxury spot on the left bank - back to life, lovingly peeling back the layers to release its original personality. The atmosphere now is classic elegance, with a thriving restaurant (yes, Sylvie went on a date here in Emily in Paris) and a gorgeous bar with frequent live music. The hotel's eternal charm is indicated by its name, Lutetia, the ancient name for the Gallic settlement that would later become Paris.
Hôtel Lutetia, 45 Boulevard Raspail , Paris, 75006
There is, quite simply, nowhere in Paris quite like the Saint James. This Relais & Chateaux gem doesn’t actually feel like a hotel at all. It is part-chateau, part family estate, nestled within a luxurious enclave in Paris’ exclusive 16th arrondissement. With just 22 rooms and 26 suites, this boutique hotel feels intimate without ever losing a sense of splendour. For that, you have the breath-taking architecture, the fine dining, charming library bar and the spa by Guerlain. With its fascinating history and unbeaten reputation, it is all so distractingly lovely you may struggle to leave.
St James’ Paris, 5 Pl. du Chancelier Adenauer, 75116
Plaza Atheneé has long held court as one of Paris' most iconic hotels. It is, of course, the hotel visited by Carrie in the final episodes of Sex and the City, and has, for years, been privy to that legendary view of the Eiffel tower that will - no matter how cool we like to pretend we are - still force a slight squeal from our lips. The hotel is, naturally, more than just its famous clientele, though let's be clear, celeb-spotting here is something of a given. It boasts a sublime address, great dining and some of the most comfortable rooms in the city. It was also the preferred hotel of the legendary Christian Dior, which is while you'll find his flagship store still located opposite.
Hôtel Plaza Athénèe, 25 Av. Montaigne, 75008
This Philippe Starck-designed hotel is a truly imaginative wonder, drawing its decorative inspiration from the Global South. Since opening in 2018, it has made its mark on the capital as one of Paris' coolest spots; nestled in the chic, affluent 16th arrondissement, it keeps a distance from the bustle of the city centre but still retains its enviable view of the Eiffel tower from its not-to-be-missed terrace bar. Besides all that, did we mention there's a basement pool?
Brach, 1-7 -7 Rue Jean Richepin, 75016
Opened in December 2021, Bulgari's latest hotel sits on the exclusive Avenue George V, between the Champs Elysees and the Avenue Montaigne. As can be expected from this brand, there is nothing short of the highest degree of luxury on offer here. From fine dining and a luxurious spa with a 25m pool to a cool bar and a charming courtyard garden, this is another class act from Bulgari. The new hotel offers 76 rooms (mostly suites) including one of Paris' most extravagant; a spacious penthouse with a private rooftop garden with incredible views of the Eiffel Tower and across the city.
Bulgari Hotel Paris, 30 Av. George V, 75008
We'll be honest, this place had us with the words 'Dior Spa'. But there is more to Cheval Blanc than that most fashionable of wellness offerings. For starters, there is its enviable location, sitting right on the banks of the Seine, seconds from luxury Art Nouveau department store La Samaritaine, strolling distance from the Louvre and just minutes from Le Marais - Paris' best spot for bars and atmosphere. Besides all that, there's a chocolaterie, a Michelin-starred restaurant and a well appointed room to luxuriate in, as you take in that view.
Cheval Blanc Paris, 8 Quai du Louvre, 75001
One of Paris' most beloved hotels (Le Saint) has had a facelift. The renamed Pavillon Faubourg Saint Germain re-opened its doors at the beginning of April in its new boutique gem form, designed by Didier Benderli. It boasts 47 individually appointed rooms and suites, a new restaurant by award-winning chef Thibault Sombardier, a gorgeous cocktail bar, and a heavenly spa. Sitting within the storied neighbourhood of Saint Germain, it incorporates the diverting history of its locale as well as a delightful nod to illustrious guests like beloved writer James Joyce, who finished his opus Ulysses while staying in the property in the early 20th century.
Pavillon Faubourg Saint Germain, 3 Rue du Pré aux Clercs, 75007
Could this be the best-decorated hotel in Paris? It is certainly the only one that can boast Luke Edward Hall as its creative force. As can be expected from Hall, this is a maximalist haven of eccentric pairings, chic stripes and primary hues, all of which combine to create a wondrously zany interior worthy of a Wes Anderson hotel. This charming boutique space is nestled between - as you may have guessed - Paris' two major train stations, Gare du Nord and Gare de L'Est, meaning it is both hugely convenient and within one of the capital's most burgeoning nightlife spots.
Hôtel Les Deux Gares, 2 Rue des Deux Gares, 75010