Paris is always a good idea… and it’s a particularly good idea when luxury hotels, great food, tranquil spas and beautiful artwork are involved. I’d been invited by Mandarin Oriental, Paris to spend two days in the French capital to experience just that, with a night at the beautiful hotel trying all their restaurants and spending the day visiting several gorgeous galleries and the PAD Art Fair.
After an early morning and a swift trip on the Eurostar, we arrived at Gare du Nord where we were speedily met by a representative from Mandarin Oriental, Paris who whisked us away to the hotel. The location is incredible with Place Vendôme, Tuileries Gardens and the Louvre all a short walk away…and Angelina is just down the road for those in need of a hot chocolate fix.
In 2014 Mandarin Oriental, Paris was granted an official ‘Palace Distinction’, an accolade only given to the very best five-star hotels that fulfil very specific criteria and maintain French standards of excellence… and I soon began to see why.
As we arrived, I was immediately struck by the dramatic high ceiling in the foyer and the striking artwork.
Sybille de Margerie, an acclaimed designer of over 20 years experience mostly in luxury hotels, has created the lobby, some of the public spaces and all the rooms and suites. Sybille designed a totally unique identity for the hotel and though it harks back to the Asian roots and Eastern exoticism that Mandarin Oriental is known for, we still found throughout our stay that everything was utterly Parisian. One example of this is the artwork and Sybille has worked with French artists as well as international to produce unique pieces. Such as Air, the sculpture in the first picture by French artist Nathalie Decoster. The piece is a symbol of the fragility of liberty, suspended from a thread.
There were plenty of comfortable nooks, perfect for a glass of champagne and a tête-à-tête and the hotel’s signature butterfly design was a feature throughout.
But there wasn’t too much time to look around yet, our small group received a VIP welcome and we were taken upstairs to check in within the comfort of our own suites.
My home for the night was a superior suite and it was utterly gorgeous! With a totally modern look and tones of lemongrass, it felt light and fresh but also totally luxurious. As I was on a press trip, I had the whole room to myself! Don’t get me wrong, I missed Mr S but it was fun to indulge and starfish across the whole king-sized bed when I returned to the room at the end of the day.
The lounge area was also incredibly stylish with a huge flat screen television and audio system. Actually the room had all the latest cutting edge technology, even the loo was Japanese-style with a heated seat and various buttons to push!
Though aspects of the room remain true to the Asian roots of the Mandarin Oriental, there’s no escaping the fact that you’re in Paris. The hotel is located on rue Saint Honoré, in the heart of the Parisian fashion district and designer Sybille de Margerie has designed the room to reflect a haute couture style. The colours are gorgeous and striking and the furnishing is opulent whilst at the same time understated. There was also another example of the beautiful artwork with photography by Man Ray and a blown-up image of his companion, Kiki de Montparnasse with an African mask.
I love having a little snoop through the drawers and mini-bar at a hotel and Mandarin Oriental, Paris has a great selection if you have a sweet tooth, as well as a cheeky Lovebox.
But perhaps best of all was the gorgeous bathroom with a huge soaking tub and television…
Perfect to relax and truly indulge yourself with the gorgeous diptyque products.
I also loved the marble accessories that adorned the twin sinks and the beautiful etched mirror. The unit itself follows the same theme of understated luxury and fashion with a leather exterior, embellished with bronze buttons and topped with white marble. With a sliding door, the bathroom can be opened out or closed for more privacy.
Back downstairs I met up with Laura and we went to have a nose around the hotel’s courtyard before lunch.
The indoor landscaped garden is quite literally an oasis in the middle of bustling Paris. All those beautiful banquettes nestled under a canopy of green were perfect for any time of day but our eyes were drawn to the giant butterfly cage at the back, a beautiful structure and something a little surprising and different.
We had some incredible dining experiences whilst staying in the hotel, I’m planning on writing about them in detail in another post, but our first taster of what the hotel had to offer was at Bar 8.
Bar 8 is the hotel’s most casual dining space, serving light meals, snacks and cocktails. All the hotel’s restaurants and bars are designed by Agence Jouin, a duo of internationally acclaimed designers. The bar has been designed to be warm and intimate with dark woods and cosy chocolate browns and the walls are artfully inlaid with Lalique crystals to resemble raindrops, bringing the outdoors in and sticking with the themes of nature that we saw throughout the hotel. The dramatic bar itself is actually made with a nine-ton block of brown marble sculpted in Italy.
Unsurprisingly, we were very happy to be in such a beautiful place and it was time to toast to the adventures that we’d be having for the next few days with a glass of the hotel’s house champagne, Louis Roederer.
Our light lunch was an East-meets-West feast and we had a bento box of delicious ‘maki’ rolls and César salad.
As you can see the maki was actually little sandwich rounds filled with niçoise salad, a perfect nibble to pop in your mouth. There’s a few other options for the filling in the maki, as well as tapas choices, dim sum and hearty sandwiches and pasta dishes.
And of course cake, lots and lots of cake…
I definitely over did the desserts whilst here but it’s hard not to. The hotel actually has its own Cake Shop serving perfect confections made by Pastry Chef Pierre Mathieu which can be eaten in the restaurant or taken away.
After our lunch we had a whistle-stop tour of the galleries of the Marais district, which I’ll write about separately, and after our early morning and day of walking I was ready to relax and enjoy a spa treatment before dinner.
There was something about Mandarin Oriental, Paris that really induced a feeling of calm in me, and nowhere more so then the beautiful spa. Though the spa is 900 square metres and one of the city’s largest spas, it still feels incredibly intimate and tranquil.
There are two floors which include a fourteen-metre pool in a pretty pink space with flowers on the walls and sofas to zone out on, a fitness and wellness centre and a boutique.
I had the most amazing spa suite to enjoy my therapy, the room itself shimmered with silver and actually had its own changing area, shower and steam room adjacent to the treatment room. The are seven spa suites, three of which are couples suites that also include a vitality pool for two. I think that’s reason enough to bring Mr S back here for a spa break.
The spa has just introduced a new and exclusive range of Guerlain face and body treatments and I would be testing out one of their luxurious made-to-measure facials. The treatment is a fusion of traditional Asian and Western techniques, enhanced with science from Guerlain. I laid back and enjoyed as the therapist massaged my face with fragrant oils to firm up my skin and fight the effects of aging.
Afterwards I had a chance to relax in the spa suite and enjoy a delicious ginger drink and ‘healthy’ cake from the patisserie. Now I must say as I have dry and patchy skin, I’m quite reliant on a good foundation to make my skin presentable and I was rather gutted that in my rush to leave my flat that morning I’d forgotten my foundation. This would usually be disastrous for me but actually my skin looked so clear and refreshed from the facial, a touch of bronzer was all I needed. Quite a relief as I had a glamorous night ahead at the hotel’s top restaurant!
The next morning after breakfast we were given the chance to have a look around the hotel’s best suites. The Suite Royale Mandarin absolutely took my breath away…
Dramatically located across two levels, with towering height, floor to ceiling windows and two shimmering chandeliers…
It was so beautifully bright with a combination of plum colours and silver and with all those sofas and cushions, it was also soft furnishings heaven. A staircase swept gracefully up the side or there was an option of taking a private lift up to the second floor. Of course there was!
There’s a private bar and dining area for hosting your own parties…
And lots of original artwork including this butterfly carafe by Thierry Bisch.
A tranquil white bedroom was accented with another image by Man Ray, this time a work called Neck which has been embroidered in silk.
And a bath big enough to fit our whole group in. I loved the bathroom which included subtle touches of real gold in the floor tiles and a basin unit designed to look like travel trunks.
But it’s this beautiful panorama that I’ll always love whenever I come to Paris, that gorgeous majestic icon, The Eiffel Tower towering above her city. From the bedroom’s terrace we had the perfect view of the tower and the Roue de Paris.
The Suite Royale Mandarin had a kitchen, study and even a gym, we were told some people rent the room for weeks at a time.
Completely different but equally gorgeous was The Suite Royale Orientale which had an Eastern feel to it with sumptuous fabrics, rich colours and bronzes.
The pièce de résistance of this suite was the beautiful outdoor terrace with a removable roof and views over Montmartre and the Opera.
I think you can tell I fell in love with this Palace hotel, that was not only beautiful but had the most incredible service leaving me feeling like a totally pampered princess. I can’t wait to tell you all about amazing food that we tried and everything else that we got up to in Paris, but this post is rather too long already!
I was a guest of Mandarin Oriental, Paris on this trip. Our transportation was provided by Eurostar.
The Eurostar operates 21 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord with fares starting from £29 and journey times of 2 hours and 15 minutes. Tickets are available from www.eurostar.com or 03432 186 186
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Mandarin Oriental, Paris
Rue Saint Honoré
75001 Paris, France