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Hotel Highlights

  • Unbeatable Left Bank location – close to all Paris’ main attractions
  • Michelin-starred restaurant, serving seasonal French cuisine
  • The private underground pool is the ultimate in decadence

Overview

Oscar Wilde quipped his final lines at L'Hôtel, a house of old-world opulence on Paris’s Left Bank that is as much a destination stay as ever. A Michelin-starred restaurant, a private underground pool and a bar beloved by the City of Light’s cognoscenti guarantee that this hideaway is no fin de siècle relic.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking L'Hôtel with us:

Either a glass of champagne each or, if you choose to eat in the restaurant, a bottle of wine selected by the maître d'

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at L'Hôtel

Non Refundable Rate: 10% off

Facilities

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L'Hôtel – Paris – France

Need To Know

Rooms

The hotel has 20 rooms, four of which are suites. Rooms are divided into Mignon, Bijou, Chic and Grand categories. The Apartment is a large suite with its own private terrace.

Check–out

12 noon, though this is flexible for a fee (50 per cent of the room cost). Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $336.53 (€250), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Breakfast is an additional €18 a person.

Also

L’Hôtel wears its arty heritage on its paint-stained sleeve; original Jean Cocteau drawings hang in the lobby.

At the hotel

Indoor pool, spa treatments on request, steam room, library, CD/DVD library, free WiFi, laundry service. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, air-conditioning, minibar.

Our favourite rooms

All 20 theatrical rooms have been individually decorated, and are inspired by a famous visitor to the hotel. We particularly love the art deco Mistinguette Room, which features the music-hall legend’s own bed and dressing table, and the Oscar Wilde Suite, where demands for payment of his hotel bill have been framed on the walls. His last words – ‘either that wallpaper goes, or I do’ – have, you’ll be glad to know, been heeded.

Poolside

Guests can book time in the lovely subterranean pool, and staff will light candles around its edge so they can bob and float in the most peaceful environment imaginable.

Packing tips

Bring a notebook in which to jot down your existential musings as you take coffee at nearby Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots.

Also

The hotel is happy to accommodate small, well behaved pets.

Children

Kids are welcome at L’Hôtel. Cribs (€35 a night) and extra beds (€50 a night) are available, and a babysitting service is provided.

Food & Drink

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L'Hôtel – Paris – France

Hotel Restaurant

Le Restaurant offers Michelin-starred seasonal French cuisine in a dark and romantic salon. Chef Philippe Bélissent prepares delights such as Lozère lamb with pumpkin, sweet chestnuts and salsify, and a marinated carpaccio of scallops with caviar for an adoring army of foodie fans. Reserve your table ahead – it's often fully booked two or three weeks in advance.

Hotel Bar

Next to the restaurant, the hotel bar is a decadent space of leopard-print carpets, Italian marble columns, black tables, and grey velvet chairs and banquettes. Le 13s (champagne cocktails made with violet liqueur and lime) are served up throughout the evening to a laid-back jazz-lounge soundtrack.

Last orders

Dinner is served till 10pm; in the bar, drinks are poured until 1am.

Room service

Snacks and light meals are available from 7.30am to 11pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Smart with a hint of loucheness – think taffeta dresses and your best jacket.

Top table

Ask for a table in the corner, so you can discreetly observe the comings and goings of your fellow diners. If the weather is fine, a place out on the small patio is a must.

Local Guide

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L'Hôtel – Paris – France
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

The Louvre (+33 (0)1 40 20 51 77), with its world-famous art collection, is just across the river, while the Musée d'Orsay (62 rue de Lille; +33 (0)1 40 49 48 14), which contains many of the Impressionists’ great works, is equally close. The impressive Eglise de St Sulpice (Place Saint-Sulpice) is only slightly smaller than Notre-Dame, and is the second-largest church in Paris.

Local restaurants

The classic art deco interior of Café de Flore (172 Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés; +33 (0)1 45 48 55 26), which hosted most of the French intellectuals during the post-war years, has changed little since World War II. It’s still a great spot for a meal. Its rival Les Deux Magots (6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés; +33 (0)1 45 48 55 25) has an even more enviable literary heritage. Famous boutique teahouse Ladurée (21 rue Bonaparte; +33 (0)1 44 07 64 87) is renowned for its flavoured macaroons.

+ Enlarge
Arty Saint-Germain

L'Hôtel

13 rue des Beaux-Arts, 75006, Paris, France

L'Hôtel is in the heart of the artistic quarter of Saint Germain, a stone's throw from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the banks of the Seine.

Planes

A 30-minute drive away, Paris Orly is the closest airport, with good domestic links to most of France. UK and international flights land at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, a 40-minute drive away. A taxi from Charles de Gaulle international airport to the centre costs about €50; buses and trains run regularly into town at a fraction of the cost. L’Hôtel is 500m from Saint-Germain-des-Prés station, down Rue Bonaparte and then Rue des Beaux-Arts. From Charles de Gaulle airport, hop on line B to St Michel, where you can change to line 4, heading in the direction of Mairie de Montrouge.

Trains

The Gare du Nord is a 15-minute taxi ride away, or a few stops on line 4 of the metro from Saint-Germain-des-Prés station (500m from the hotel). The city is served by Eurostar and SNCF trains.

Automobiles

L’Hôtel is on the Left Bank, almost right opposite the Louvre. From Paris’ Boulevard Peripherique, it’s a quick 15-minute drive down Boulevard Brune, Avenue du Général Leclerc and Boulevard Saint Michel. The nearest car park is Parking Mazarine on the Rue Mazarine, a five-minute walk from the hotel, which charges €34 for a 24-hour stay.

Other

With separated bike lanes and quiet back streets, the Left Bank can be a pleasure to explore on two wheels. Hire a self-service bike from a Vélib station; there are several near the hotel. You'll need a credit card to leave the €150 deposit required.

Reviews

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L'Hôtel – Paris – France

Anonymous review

by Rufus Purdy , Word wizard

‘Is it a bit much?’ asks Mrs Smith, eyeing the wall and screwing up her face inquisitively. We’re in room 16 at the gorgeous fin de siècle boutique hotel L’Hôtel in Paris, and the wall in front of us is a bit, well, shrine-like. Faded sepia photos of Oscar Wilde jostle for space alongside framed newspaper clippings and 19th-century cartoons of the great man, an…
Read more

L'Hôtel

Anonymous review by Rufus Purdy, Word wizard

‘Is it a bit much?’ asks Mrs Smith, eyeing the wall and screwing up her face inquisitively. We’re in room 16 at the gorgeous fin de siècle boutique hotel L’Hôtel in Paris, and the wall in front of us is a bit, well, shrine-like. Faded sepia photos of Oscar Wilde jostle for space alongside framed newspaper clippings and 19th-century cartoons of the great man, and a slightly eerie figurine that is supposedly meant to be the author and poet, but looks more like an evil Michael Ball, grins at us malevolently from the top of the writing desk. If this were in any other room in Paris, then it would undoubtedly be, as Mrs Smith says, a bit much. But we are in the room where Oscar breathed his last. ‘There is, I suppose, only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about,’ I suggest.

Wilde is talked about a lot here. After polite society slammed its doors in his face following his 1895 trial for homosexual offences, he came to what was then the Hotel d'Alsace, disgraced and penniless, to try and shake off the ill health that had dogged him for years. He failed, and shuffled off this mortal coil in the very room where Mrs Smith is now plugging in her phone charger. As a teenager, I was a bit of an Oscar obsessive – like many men my age, I came to him through a fervent devotion to the Smiths – so I am ecstatic to be spending the night in his deathbed. Mrs Smith isn’t so sure. ‘What if the room’s haunted?’ she asks. To be honest, I can’t imagine that a floppy-haired, lily-wearing phantom is going to be much to worry about.

You can see why Wilde chose L’Hôtel – it’s all very ‘Parisian’, in that gilded absinthe den, frou-frou dancing girls, under-the-counter ‘art’ books sense of the word. The lobby, with its leopard-print carpet, antique screens and original Jean Cocteau artwork, exudes fin de siècle glamour. And our room is just as decadent. The poet’s final words – ‘either that wallpaper goes or I do’ – may have been heeded (the beautiful and seemingly historic hand-painted mural of gold-leaf peacocks against a background of rich turquoise-green was actually finished at the turn of this century), but the combination of antique furnishings, gorgeous scalloped gold chandeliers and atmospherically faded, candy-striped wallpaper around the French doors to our private terrace is suitably 1890s.

Much as Mrs Smith and I would love to sample chef Philippe Bélissent’s two Michelin-starred cuisine in the hotel’s Le Restaurant, the menu – which includes a €50 scallop starter – is a little out of our price range. So we content ourselves with a glass of champagne in the jewel box-like salon bar, and eavesdrop on the conversations of those who, as Wilde might say, know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Afterwards, we head out to the Latin Quarter for dinner at intimate, informal bistro Le Petit Prince de Paris, where a feast of fabulous, inventive French dishes – mousse-like seafood-and-courgette flan, a crème brûlee of camembert with onion fondue and andouillettes, roasted seabass and scallops in a saffron butter – comes in at less than the price of two starters back at the hotel.

That’s the thing about L’Hôtel. It is beautiful and it is more characterful than the entire five series of The Wire, but it’s also wincingly expensive. This is something you can easily forgive when you’re reposing in such wonderful surroundings and the never-less-than-superb service is removing all obstacles from your path; but when, as happened to us on our return from dinner, no one on duty has the faintest idea how to make your in-room DVD player work, you can start to question the prices.

Just as well, then, that the hotel is very good at masking any shortcomings with sheer charm. As we head down for breakfast the following morning – fresh fruit and yoghurt for Mrs Smith, cheese-oozing croque monsieur for me – the adorable, velvet-clad concierge asks us if we’d like to book an hour or two in the private pool downstairs. ‘Oh, I’d love to,’ says Mrs Smith regretfully. ‘But I haven’t brought anything to wear.’ The concierge smiles. ‘But madame,’ she says conspiratorially, ‘the pool is private. You don’t need to wear anything.’

That’s not a suggestion you’d hear in many British hotels, but it fits perfectly with the slightly racy ambience of this Left Bank lovely. So – after a wonderful couple of hours spent wandering the lane-like streets of the Marais, browsing boutiques and indulging my new-found love of mid-morning coffee and cognac – we make our way back to the rue des Beaux Arts for our swim sans vetements.

From the cylindrical hotel atrium, which corkscrews up towards the Parisian sky, we descend a spiral staircase towards the basement hammam, passing mosaics of tiny gold tiles as we go. The pool itself is ridiculously beautiful. With its heavy velvet curtains, terracotta floors and rough-stone columns, it looks like the bathing pool from Spartacus – the one in which Laurence Olivier informs Tony Curtis that he’s going to be his ‘body slave’ – and its Roman feel seems an appropriate extension of all the opulence upstairs.

As we float in the deliciously warm water, Mrs Smith lying back on me as steam plays havoc with her shoulder-length hair, I realise we haven’t said a word to each other for the past five minutes. We are beyond relaxed, and seem to have moved to a state usually only experienced by Trappist monks and opium eaters. Everything about L’Hôtel, from the twinkles of gilt at every head-turn to the rich crimsons, purples and pinks in each room and, of course, the tranquil subterranean pool, is a blissful reminder of a glorious and more colourful age. Hang the expense. Anyone who lives within their means, as Oscar Wilde once said, suffers from a lack of imagination.

The Guestbook

Reviews of L'Hôtel from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

L'Hotel is a beautiful boutique property located on a quiet street just a couple of short blocks from the liveliness of Saint Germain. This hotel has retained its unique personality and the staff are very friendly and helpful.

Don’t expect

We were given room 36 at first; this room is not decorated to the standards of the others. The staff handled this very gracefully and we were changed to another room the next day.

Rating: 9/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the location, on the left bank near the Latin Quarter. Also, the rooms are all quirky and nicely shabby chic. They serve superb cocktails.

Don’t expect

If I had to be picky, I would maybe have liked a little more choice on the breakfast menu.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is an extraordinary property, unique in Paris for its combination of accommodations, ambience, food and location. L'Hotel also has an able and helpful staff and fine yet unobtrusive service. I have stayed at L'Hotel in the past and I will do so in the future.

Don’t expect

It's pricey (even in a city of pricey hotels), but worth it.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked everything! L'Hotel was quaint and quirky. We walked past it the first time – a white van delivering prints to a neighbouring art gallery obscured the front door. But once you enter, there is no mistaking its grandeur. 'Le Restaurant' was fine dining without pretence. Sit on a sofa in a t-shirt, if you like, and eat classic French cuisine presented with modern Left Bank style. 'Le Staff' was always there to help but never in your face. And they have an uncanny ability to keep track of you without you even knowing so that everything that needs doing to the room (turn-down service, returning your laundry, etc) is done while you're out. 'La Piscine' – or the hammam pool, as they call it… what better way to end a day in a busy city than a private dip in a basement pool, lit by candles, with your own personal steam room? ' Le Weather Forecast' was a nice little touch, presented on your pillow, typical of the attention to detail in every aspect of L'Hotel.

Don’t expect

Breakfast could be better. I was a little disappointed after the incredible meal we'd had the night before, but it was still a nice setting.

Rating: 10/10 stars