75001 Travel Guide
Some say, "Paris is for Lovers", and while that's totally true, we might also say that the city is for lovers...of awesome hotels! A newbie to the French capital is the Hôtel du Continent and it's not only a comfy place to stay on the Right Bank, but it offers up new travel inspiration with your stay.
Designed by the French master himself, Christian Lacroix, the hotel has a different theme for every floor, based on the earth's continents and each of the 25 rooms in this vintage building play into that theme. The first floor is stylized with Europe in mind, where the second is Antarctica and so on and so forth, finishing up with Africa on the fifth floor.
Guests can expect a departure from the literal design aesthetic that comes with each continent. Instead the rooms have a modern take enveloped in whimsy with the use of antique maps, fabrics, patterns, colors and finishes. Lacroix notes that the design of each room is
"...far from any anthropological or strictly ethnic preoccupation, but rather with this fanciful distance known to ancient travellers who brought back with them not only scientific information but tales and dreams too."
Walking into the hotel from rue St. Honoré, you’ll enter the main lobby, which is dominated by deep grey marble and a gold leaf ceiling. Reception is to your left, with the hotel courtyard straight ahead. During the warmer months there's outdoor seating, but the catwalk that runs through the middle was dominated by, in fact, cats when we were there, with red, black, and polished aluminium panthers as a temporary art display.
It’s clear that dogs may be living large at Mandarin Oriental Paris, but what can a guest of the non-canine variety expect? How does the Asian luxury brand translate in this most French of settings, a block or so away from the Tuileries and the Louvre museum?
We’ll start by taking you inside a Deluxe Room, which is the step-up category from an entry-level Superior, and after which there is a range of options among the 99 rooms and 39 suites until you get to the Royale Mandarin Suite. The latter, a sprawling 2,700 sq ft, two-story affair, we saw in the midst of some pretty serious construction to insert, of all things, an elevator. Because really, when staying in the most expensive suite in the hotel, who wants to take the stairs?
We’ve previously talked about the intense competition in the Parisian palace (and palace-adjacent; not every luxury hotel gets to use the term) hotel market. Despite eye-wateringly expensive rates, appetite for these hotels knows no bounds it seems. Let’s recap for a minute what’s been happening shall we?
Prince de Galles is due to reopen right next door to Four Seasons George V (which is renovating floor by floor and added a penthouse), Le Bristol added a whole wing, and so will Plaza Athenée, Raffles let Philippe Starck loose on the Royal Monceau, Le Meurice spruced up its five Presidential Suites, Hotel de Crillon should become a Rosewood after a two-year closure, and then there is the small matter of the three Asian heavyweights Shangri-La, Mandarin Oriental, and soon, Peninsula (more on that later) muscling their way into the market as well.
No wonder then that last August, perhaps the most famous of them all - The Ritz Paris - also closed its doors for the first time since opening in 1898 and began a two year soup-to-nuts restoration program.
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You know we are a pretty opinionated bunch here at HC when it comes to hotels, and one topic that got some serious debate recently is hotels and dogs, or, as one of us put it: what’s up with all this dog sh*t?
Leafing through the room service menu at Mandarin Oriental Paris last week, we came across the above page between the human-focused evening menu and late-night snacks: the posh dog’s choices! We were so not expecting to see this that we actually asked room service whether it was for real, and it sure was. A veterinarian consulted on the ingredients and making sure it’s being cooked to a canine’s liking.
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Depending on which story you choose to believe, Justin Bieber is in mischievous mode again, this time in the City of Lights. Luckily this isn't about him lighting up suspicious-looking cigarettes, thank heavens.
According to the Daily Mail, Biebs checked into the ridiculously famous (and expensive) Le Meurice hotel on Sunday and then left today for another hotel--the Mandarin Oriental. Some say the majestic Le Meurice aka "The Hotel of Kings", which has hosted the likes of Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Salvadore Dali and members of Britain's and other country's royal families, asked the young man to leave after his presence and rabid fans caused a chaotic scene, making other guests uncomfortable. Bieber apparently encouraged his Beliebers to hold vigil outside the hotel and the noise became too much for Le Meurice's management to bear.
'Not true', says a rep from the hotel, stating Bieber left of his own volition and that the hotel 'doesn't kick people out.' But then there's the Parisian blogger, TV and radio personality who confirms the story, saying Bieber was booted for his 'tude, which, no offense, we'd think would be pretty hard to get nabbed for in Paris.
The latest from Paris, in case you haven't heard, is that Le Meurice has just completed a revampment of their five Presidential Suites. Typically one Presidential Suite is enough for a hotel, but not if you're talking a Dorchester Collection property which could be hosting a head of state, an A-list celebrity, a Russian gallerist, a best-selling author and a honeymooning couple at any one time. And so, they have five.
Furnishings have been updated and gilding added especially in the Dali Apartment, the first-floor presidential suite (rooms 102/103) in which the artist Salvador Dali spent one month each year, for 30 years, in residence. The views of the Tuileries Gardens remain, even if Dali checked out long ago.
After lunch on the patio at Camelia, the casual fine-dining restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Paris, we stopped by the sweet little patisserie by the restaurant’s entrance called the Cake Shop to talk to executive pastry chef Pierre Matthieu about his special confections and the mix of old-school pastries and avant-garde flavors he creates.
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Ringing in the new year in Paris. Lucky you. Even luckier if you happen to swing through the 5-star Dorchester Collection hotel Le Meurice to pick up a piece of their Galette des Reines and find, hidden inside the slice, a Tiffany & Co. charm.
The tradition of "Queens Cake" is a long one, and though there's always the choking hazard of enjoying the winning bite, it's worth it for Tiffanys. That said, you'll be paying a pretty penny to even try for it. First off, the cake is only available from January 2-22 in the hotel's Restaurant Le Dali. Rooms at the hotel during this time are averaging 530 Euros per night, while Queen Cake costs 14 Euros per slice.
The cake this year, created by Pastry Chef Camille Lesecq, hides a single yellow gold Tiffany & Co. key. Around it is flaky chocolate pastry "filled with frangipane, a filling made from almonds, complete with whole hazelnuts sprinkled on top." And, although the cakes are expected to be around until January 22, they're only making ten, so it's more like "or until supplies run out."
[Photo: Le Meurice]
Beyonce and Jay-Z are living large at Hotel Le Meurice. The married couple are shacked up in a penthouse suite overlooking the Tuileries Garden for an eye-popping $20,000 a night. Beyonce better get on selling her new single, "Run the World (Girls)."
So what does $20,000 a night buy you? You get the two-story Belle Etoile suite with a private elevator, kitchen, glass-enclosed dining room and large private terrace at the beautiful Paris hotel. Le Meurice is one of Beyonce's faves, and it seems to be the hotel of choice for other hip-hop elite, with such fans as Eminem and Kanye West.
Last time Kate visited the Ritz Paris, last Fashion Week. She should be a little less put together for her bachelorette.
As one of the most fashionable women in the world, Kate Moss must be under a lot of strain for her wedding. Not because of the dress (although we rather hope she’ll design it herself rather than get John Galliano to do it, but for the bachelorette do which, for an unreformed party girl, will have to be epic.
And it sounds like she won’t let us down. According to 3am, she’s off to Paris – to the Ritz, no less – where she’ll hopefully scandalize the establishment with a 1930s cabaret/burlesque themed party.
According to a “friend” there will be burlesque dancers in cages, a grand piano for Kate to croon at her guests on, and, most importantly, cigarettes, as there’s no pesky smoking ban in Paris.
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Mon Dieu! It was a très bien day for this hotel doorman!
We're thrilled that Angie is visiting one of our favorite hotels in the world (oh yeah, we just threw that down) but she's looking a little off.
Yes, we know that Angie is a mother of six and all but today she looks a little more harried than usual. Perhaps she could get some time off to wind down in the hotel's Spa Valmont for a facial or a massage, or both. She could even make a night out of it.