Sunday, March 03, 2013

2 Parisian Hideaways


Dear Inquiring Readers, who always ask for hotel recommendations in Paris, today I bear discoveries for you! Let me share a pair of very different properties, both with a high quotient of fun and sparkle, aimed at different audiences, each doing a brilliant job at diverse price points, located at opposite ends of town. We all understand that in spite of its incredible allure, Paris is brutal. You walk around the whole day to the point of exhaustion, prices are high, there’s never enough time to do everything you want, incomprehensible taxis with weird lights swish past you as you stand on windblown curbs vainly waving your arms in the frigid air, there’s never enough legroom under café tables, people leave dog poop on the sidewalks, everybody is in a rush when you want to stroll, and folks inevitably meander when you need to get somewhere fast, oh la vache! That’s the tradeoff for the totally exhilarating experience called Paris. By the end of the day you need a cozy nest to drag into, a soft bed, not to mention a sound sleep for le lendemain, which both these properties beautifully provide.

East of the Champs Elysees on a quiet little side street you’ll find the inestimable 4-star Hotel Le A, a ten-year-old property of only 26 rooms, fresh-faced from a smart renovation, its customer base solidly built on healthy repeat business. Call it comfy chic with an artful twist. Get ready for great design, a delirious breakfast, afternoon tea and a high service component. Hotel Le A is all about the human details, which never quit, and the arrondisment is classic Paris. This is a shopper’s hotel, close to every posh luxury store ever invented, less than 180 seconds from the nearest La Durée. The paintings placed throughout Le A by Fabrice Hyber still look fantastique, the marvelous lobby library of art books continues to grow, and the €200-€600 price point remains a great value compared to stuffy competitor 4-stars in the neighborhood. Check out Lucire’s profile last year to learn the choice suite numbers. GM Emma Charles heads an ultra-professional team, fine-tuned to the secrets of outstanding customer experience. If you must, treat yourself to a hot chocolate on the terrace of the nearby Musée Jacquart Andre, an insider’s Parisian treasure. But a less stressful scenario might be to settle down in the hotel lobby during afternoon tea, and simply indulge yourself on delicate little financiers, madeleines and macarons, the ultimate evocation of la vraie vie parisienne.

On the other side of town in the trendy Marais it may not be clear who’s crazier, you or the newly-opened 3-star Georgette, which can safely be labeled as irreverent arty chic. The latest brain-child of architectural duo Anne Peyroux and Emmanuèle Thisy (profiled in an earlier column), this wonderfully eclectic property of only 19 rooms induces extreme happiness and an unrelenting feeling of youthful vitality. A visit to the web site gives the flavor of the place, a colorful fruit salad of artistic movements represented on each floor. It’s fun on all sides, with its kooky fixtures and wall coverings, archaeological details, and ever-changing lobby art installations. A Gen Y crowd hungrily devours breakfast under the trendy street-level atrium, then goes forth into the neighborhood in search of the new and different. This small hotel, made for mid-range budgets, is walking close to the Beaubourg and the eastern end of the ultrachic Faubourg Saint-Honoré, a stone’s throw from the bustling Rue Montorgueil. It’s four-star fab at three-star prices and charged with 100 megatons of life-affirming energy. Loved it, and recommend it highly!

Hotel Le A Hotel
4, rue d’Artois
75008 Paris
33 1 42-56-99-99

36, rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare
75003 Paris
+33 (0) 1 44 61 10 10