Hotel Le Bristol Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The 88-room Hotel Le Bristol opened its doors in 1925 during the Roaring Twenties, and today is still one of Paris' best-known luxury hotels. It offers impressive amenities for its small size, including a sunlit indoor pool (a rare find in Paris); a three-Michelin-star restaurant, Epicure; and a lovely spa with three floors featuring a Turkish bath and playroom for kids. Families are welcome in this posh environment: There's a dedicated Children's Programme, and little ones may appreciate the fact that there's a resident cat roaming the hotel. Rooms are elegant, aside from the dated comforters, and very in size and price. The hotel -- located on one of the most high-end shopping streets in Paris -- is steps to the Hermes flagship store, as well as avenue Montaigne and Champs Elysees.
Saint James Paris Rating: 4.0 Pearls
With a sweeping private entrance surrounded by green lawns and an impressive fountain, the upscale Saint James is a rare find in Paris -- in fact, the 19th century manor is considered the only chateau-hotel in the city. Its unique character, combined with its impressive amenities, earn it the number two spot on this list. The 48 rooms and suites are large by Paris standards, and decorated in plush fabrics. But the common areas are more impressive -- especially the black and white grand staircase on the main floor, and the terrace is a beautiful spot for lunch on a nice summer day. There's also a small fitness center, a luxurious spa with treatment rooms and steam rooms, and a gourmet restaurant.
Hotel Montalembert Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This oh-so-chic boutique hotel in the heart of Saint Germain's shopping district has 56 rooms and suites in a Parisian house-like setting. Exuding a posh atmosphere, Montalembert's decor combines high design with an understated palette of black, taupe, gray and bronze. The gourmet restaurant changes its menu monthly and has a sidewalk terrace -- perfect for people-watching in warmer months, and in cooler months the Library Bar is a cozy spot for impromptu meetings by the fireplace. Rooms are stylish with original artwork on the walls, striped carpets and crisp linens. In-room amenities include flat-screen TVs, iPod/iPad docks, plush bathrobes, and toiletries from L'Occitane (suites come with Nespresso machines). Guests staying in higher-tier rooms can schedule in-room massages, but the hotel does not have a spa. However, its fabulous location and modern take on the classic boutique experience makes it an excellent choice.
Hidden Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Hidden Hotel -- as its name suggests -- is tucked away on a quaint side street within walking distance to L'Arc de Triomphe and the Charles de Gualle metro station. The intimate hotel has only 23 rooms, and incorporates handmade craftsmanship and natural materials that give it a contemporary and Zen-like vibe. Room style is arguably chicer and more special than the Montalembert's, and some rooms come with balconies and terraces. Beds -- dressed in organic cottons, of course -- are canopy style, and bathrooms have an open design with granite finishes and rainfall showerheads. But the small size of the rooms puts this hotel lower on the list. Though breakfast has a fee, it is a healthy spread using local ingredients. In the evenings, the cozy bar is a great spot for pre-dinner drinks and appetizers, and during the day a barista serves up delicious cappuccino (and other coffee treats) in the chic setting.
Pavillon de la Reine Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Located in the upscale, historic Place de Vosges -- the oldest planned square in Paris, built by Henri IV starting in 1605 -- the elegant Pavillon de la Reine embodies a quintessentially Parisian elegance and charm. Each of its 53 rooms is uniquely decorated in a style that ranges from classic French (four-poster beds and toile wallpaper) to contemporary (tufted, upholstered headboards in bright hues). Some rooms feature Juliette balconies that overlook the lovely topiary- and ivy-clad grounds, while others feature slanted ceilings (which can make the space feel more cramped). But every room comes with the same high-end amenities, including flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and spacious bathrooms. There's no restaurant but the hotel features a wonderful spa by Carita Paris with exclusive treatments, and the highlight of this historic boutique may be its impeccable service; Clefs d'Or concierges, trained under the top-notch concierge organization, can assist guests with everything from reservations to translations to directions.
InterContinental Paris Avenue Marceau Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This historic Parisian building, once a private mansion of Comte de Breteuil, is now owned by the InterContinental brand -- but the property doesn't feel like a chain. This hotel is a luxurious, modern option with just 55 rooms, and a stylish, modern design by Bruno Borrione: The lobby is bedecked with funky light fixtures and bright furniture, and rooms feature accent walls (or ceilings!) and colorful throws. Well-dressed guests linger in the communal areas, which include a lounge, an outdoor terrace surrounded by potted plants and classic architecture, and the jazz-themed restaurant which serves continental breakfast in the mornings and international gourmet cuisine for lunch and dinner. The updated rooms, with iPod/iPad docks, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and flat-screen TVs, are also impressive, and the bathrooms include sliding doors, deep sinks, and Hermes toiletries. It may be neck-in-neck with the Pavillion de la Reine in quality, but the business crowd it attracts can take away from its quaint boutique vibe.
Hotel Apostrophe Rive Gauche Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Located on the Left Bank and just a hop, skip, and a jump to Luxembourg Gardens, this boutique hotel has 16 artsy rooms that feature distinct themes -- like the "Musique" room, which has a hand-painted musical mural on the wall. It's not a place for conformists -- even the exterior facade is painted in a tree design, making it stand out among its more traditional neighbors. The rooms are very modern, with iPod docks, CD/DVD players, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. Bathrooms meld into the rooms (with separate water closets) and come with powerful showers or whirlpool tubs. There's also a restaurant and bar here, but there are tons of other dining options just outside. All in all, it's a great choice for those looking for something different but central -- though travelers looking for a true Parisian experience won't find it here.
Hotel Duc De Saint-Simon Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Hotel Duc de Saint-Simon is a classic choice for those seeking a traditional Parisian hotel with historic and romantic touches. It is said to be the place where Lauren Bacall stays while in Paris, which might help describe the guests who best fit in here: people of a certain age, with a certain budget. Rooms are not cheap, but the hotel sees many repeat visitors thanks to its great location on the Left Bank near Saint Germain and the Musee d'Orsay. The property is split by an outdoor terrace, and has a labyrinth feel on the inside with a series of small lounge areas. Head downstairs to the underground cave for breakfast or cocktails, and marvel at the oil paintings and Persian rugs. Comfortable rooms come in three sizes: Classic, Superior, or Suite, and -- like other areas of the hotel -- are decorated in rich fabrics and antique furniture (even the keys are antique). Room perks include flat-screen TVs, large bathrooms (by European standards), and plush bathrobes. Some rooms offer a private terrace or balcony, providing a nice spot to enjoy a glass of champagne from the hotel's impressive wine list.
Les Jardins de la Villa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 33-room Les Jardins de la Villa is a boutique hotel with contemporary style in a quiet location. Stylish rooms are a good size for Paris standards, and are equipped with great extras such as free on-demand movies, free Wi-Fi, and Nespresso machines. They strike a good balance between practical amenities and fun touches (pops of bright color, avant-garde headboards), and feature luxurious bathrooms with walk-in showers (pricier rooms also have separate soaking tubs). Hotel highlights include the two-person hammam, beautiful winter garden, and convenient honesty bar in the evenings. While breakfast is expensive and the location is a little out of the way, it is a good pick for amenities and style.