Situated in the heart of one of the French capital’s most elegant districts, this flagship in Parisian luxury hospitality needs no introduction! Last March, I continued my tour of France’s best-known hotels by adding this address to my long list, which includes the Shangri-La Paris, Le Crillon, La Réserve Ramatuelle, the Hotel du Palais, and many others. Come with me for a visit of this Parisian institution!
A Sophisticated Location
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve passed in front of this gorgeous building on the Avenue Montaigne, easily recognizable thanks to its bright red awnings and windowsill geraniums. Fashionistas are often spotted around the Plaza Athénée, swinging shopping bags from Saint-Laurent, Dior, or Chanel. It’s the perfect pied-à-terre for fashion addicts!
Interior Design That Emphasizes the French Art de Vivre
As a Dorchester Collection establishment, the Plaza Athénée is part of an extensive family of iconic hotels, including the Bel Air in Los Angeles and Le Meurice in Paris (check out my review). This legendary luxury hotel on Avenue Montaigne mixes past, present, and future within its walls: it has preserved its best 18th-century French-style elements since its opening in 1913 while also adding a number of Art Deco and more contemporary accents. To keep its position at the top of the Parisian rankings, the Plaza Athénée recently underwent several months of renovations, opening its doors again in 2014.
154 Rooms with the Haute Couture Spirit
From the moment I stepped out of the car, I was completely enchanted. A white marble lobby floor, a colossal chandelier, enormous paintings, and a series of floral arrangements led the way to La Galerie, a beautiful long room, which opened onto the elevators, which in turn took me to the 154 lavish rooms and suites. All of them display classical French décor, with the exception of the Art Deco-style rooms on the top two floors.
I set my suitcases down in the elegant and spacious (80 m²) Prestige Suite, overlooking one of the world’s most glamorous avenues. Interior designer Marie-José Pommereau arranged the suite to look like a real Parisian apartment, with an enormous French-style salon, crown molding, impressive wall paintings, a brightly-lit separate bedroom, and a boudoir-like bathroom featuring Calacatta marble and beauty products from Guerlain. Thick carpets, crystal chandeliers, and a sofa covered in high-quality fabrics—the perfect combination of luxury and comfort, helping me to feel instantly at home!
Alain Ducasse: A Three-Star Gourmet Restaurant
In contrast with the chic French design in the rooms, the five restaurants and bars – all headed by Alain Ducasse himself – feature a series of singular atmospheres. First there’s the Alain Ducasse restaurant, an exceptional establishment with dazzling décor. This glamorous setting includes a majestic chandelier along with enormous steel “bells,” and offers a refined, contemporary atmosphere. As for the food, it centers on chef Alain Ducasse’s philosophy of natural, healthy ingredients, with a number of recipes featuring a fish-vegetable-grain trilogy (and cooked to perfection under the leadership of executive chef Romain Meder). We’ll have to test the cuisine during our next visit!
A Palatial Breakfast
We headed to the gorgeous restaurant dining room first thing in the morning for a fantastic breakfast, without a doubt one of the best in Paris. On the menu were classics like baguettes, croissants (made in the house bakery), and every egg recipe imaginable, as well as crepes and even a selection of healthier options.
The Relais Plaza: Our Dinner in a Parisian Institution
We discovered the cuisine of chef Philippe Marc, including French cuisine favorites and more original recipes, in this chic, Art Deco-style brasserie with décor inspired by the elegant ship “Le Normandie.” The restaurant’s stellar service has been orchestrated for years by maître d’hôtel Werner Küchler, who is an open book when it comes to celebrities who have dined at this famous restaurant. We were lucky enough to be there for the Relais’s recurring jazz concert (arranged for every last Wednesday of the month), an opportunity to relive the best moments of the Roaring Twenties. A delicious evening!
Other Restaurants and Bars
During the summer season, a number of restaurants set up shop outside. For starters, there’s the enchanting Cour Jardin, a peaceful getaway that offers fresh, seasonal creations. The ambience is different at Terrasse Montagne, which for the past two years has made room for Cabana Café, its Californian alter ego. The iconic Beverly Hills look is reproduced at the Plaza Athénée, allowing guests to bask in casual California chic.
La Galerie is a favorite for both tourists and locals, who flock there for breakfast, a light lunch, or tea time, when Angelo Musa’s subtle creations are the star of the show. The setting is subdued and elegant, bathed in natural light. It’s a wonderful place to spend a few hours.
At the Plaza Athénée’s bar, you’ll find sophisticated, contemporary décor with luxuriant fabrics and a ceiling that resembles a dark blue sky, as well as a transparent resin bar and sleek furniture. On the menu are creative cocktails and Dom Pérignon champagne, with a wine cellar boasting around sixty rare bottles.
Custom-Made Spa Treatments at the Dior Institut
Ever faithful to Christian Dior (who had a special relationship with the hotel), the Plaza Athénée has selected his brand for their avant-garde treatments, offered in one of five treatment rooms. In this spa with a soft, fresh ambience, facial and body treatments are in-depth and tailor-made; for example, each facial begins with a meticulous diagnosis of your skincare needs. With a steam room, a sauna, a relaxation room, a nail salon, and a fitness space, this haven of tranquility features every imaginable comfort.
This legendary Parisian luxury hotel on the Avenue Montaigne is one of the crown jewels of French luxury hospitality. Its haute couture aura shines through in its 154 chic and sophisticated rooms and suites, while the Dior Institut with its customizable treatments is the icing on the cake. The hotel’s many restaurants offer something for everyone, from high-flying gourmet cuisine in the multi-starred Alain Ducasse restaurant to the very famous Relais Plaza Brasserie and the Terrasse Montaigne (open in summer). This elegant luxury establishment will charm even the most demanding travelers!
- The Prestige Suite is a veritable Parisian apartment and made me feel right at home
- The fantastic location along one of the most famous avenues in the world
- Breakfast is a feast for the taste buds—but also for the eyes, thanks to the gorgeous dining room!
- A few hiccups in the service, like when we had to wait for an hour to get a coffee maker in our room…
- More information on their website
- Prestige Suite for € 4600/night in March 2019
Thank you the Plaza Athénée for the invitation to explore their establishment. Of course, the content of this blogpost was left entirely up to me!