For four years, Paris’s most iconic hotel has been shut. Its 224-year-old walls have seen no guests, its Coco Chanel suite no women in fabulous heels and jewels getting ready for nights on the town, and its Hemingway bar no businessmen closing deals over martinis.
This week, that changes with the long-awaited reopening of the Ritz Paris.
For guests who can snag a room (they start at $1,400 per night), there’s a lot that will look familiar. Much of the property’s $200 million-plus renovation was in the spirit of a face-lift rather than an overhaul; rooms bear the same toile and gilt aesthetic as before, but now in a series of romantic pastel color palettes. The design team’s most painstaking work begs you not to notice it. They spent months reupholstering and preserving 80 percent of the hotel’s furnishings, for instance, including 274 chandeliers, 1,295 paintings, and 178 clocks. They kept beloved details like the hotel’s signature peach towels and swan-shaped sink faucets. And they restored every inch of the 1792 facade. All this to make the hotel look exactly the same as in its heyday, only better.
The hotel's infrastructure has also been brought up to date. Though it was the first hotel in Paris to have electricity and bathrooms in each guest room, now there's more reliable heat and faster Wi-Fi on the amenity list, too. To make it happen, 800 workers had to tear down the walls, outfit the hotel with modern wiring, and build it back up just like before. The common spaces—like the world’s first Chanel spa (with a dramatic mosaic tiled pool), an idyllic garden courtyard for cocktails and tea, and the newly expanded L’Ecole Ritz Escoffier cooking school—shine as ever, setting new standards in a city that’s full of golden ones.
But in the time the Ritz has been closed, some serious rivals have cropped up to compete with it. Here, some of our favorite new places to stay in the City of Light—Ritz aside.
For killer views and green space galore: Peninsula Paris
The Location: A 15-minute walk from the 1st arrondisement, the Peninsula is set aside in the more residential, Upper East Side-like 16th, on tony Avenue Kléber.The Price: Garden suites from $7,767 per nightThe Selling Point: Sprawling suites on the hotel’s top floors have private gardens with jaw-dropping views of the Eiffel Tower. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more impressive space to entertain clients.
For the coolest neighborhood vibes: Hôtel Providence
The Location: The area north of Le Marais, cut in half by the stunning Saint-Martin Canal, is one of Paris’s trendiest neighborhoods du jour. And this 18-room gem is a place to feel part of the buzz—not to escape it.The Price: From $180 per nightThe Selling Point: Being in an up-and-coming neighborhood means great access and even better value. The penthouse suite costs less than many nice meals in town, and includes a full in-room bar, vinyl record player, gabled ceilings, a claw-foot tub, and views of Sacré-Cœur.
For an over-the-top look that’ll break your Instagram: Maison Souquet
The Location: Northern Pigalle is on the tourist map for the Moulin Rouge, but insiders know it as the hottest bar scene in town.The Price: From $420 per nightThe Selling Point: You’ll either love or hate Jacques Garcia’s slightly insane design aesthetic—the Souquet is a riot of bold shapes, sumptuous fabrics, and richly colored patterns, layered one on top of the other. It’s Louis XVI excess brought into the 21st century.
For a location locals covet: 25 Place Dauphine
The Location: One of the city’s most sought-after historic addresses, on a tiny, triangular island in the middle of the Seine—and Paris. The same spit of land includes the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and it’s accessible from the beautiful (and super central) Pont Neuf.The Price: From $265 per nightThe Selling Point: Paris is Airbnb’s top market for a reason: By and large, the hotel rooms here are excruciatingly small and expensive. Paris Perfect is a more curated answer to the apartment-sharing service that’s free of legal murkiness. All of its homes are vetted for comfort and come with concierge support—the apartments at this address also have 400-year-old exposed beams and top-of-the-line kitchens.
For a quiet retreat in the middle of it all: Le Roch
The Location: On a side street just north of the Jardin des Tuileries, Le Roch is set within quick walking distance of the Louvre and the patisserie Sébastien Gaudard, purveyor of the best croissant in town.The Price: From $453 per nightThe Selling Point: Design Hotels tasked Sarah Lavoine, the interior design darling of Paris, to create this beautifully muted hideaway in the middle of the city. A shared sunlit courtyard and hammam steam baths in each of the suites make it a true urban oasis.
For the next best thing to the Ritz: Le Meurice
The Location: You can’t get closer to the Jardin des Tuileries—most rooms in this 1815 palace hotel look right onto the gardens.The Price: From $930 per nightThe Selling Point: In 2007, Alain Ducasse and Philippe Starck teamed up to make Le Meurice as decadent as its sister hotel, the Plaza Athénée. The gilded rooms, done up in shimmering ochre silk and dripping with crystal chandeliers, are still stunning. Now they’re joined by one of the most opulent dining rooms in the City of Light, the Le Meurice restaurant, which looks pulled straight out of Versailles with its gilded moldings and rococo paintings. But you have to at least peek into Le Dali, the other restaurant on site: The dining room is made to look askew in a cheeky aesthetic nod to the namesake painter, a former Le Meurice resident.
Planning a trip well in advance? Shoot for a room at the Hôtel de Crillon, which will reopen in the first half of 2017 after a tip-to-toe renovation by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. The building, once owned by the Société du Louvre, has one of the most prime locations in town, right on the edge of the Place de la Concorde, and will have two suites designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Also reopening in 2017 after a three-year redo: the historic Lutetia, the only palace hotel on the Left Bank.
News by Bloomberg, edited by Hospitality Ireland