Hotel Plaza Athenee Rating: 5.0 Pearls
There are several uber-luxe hotels in Paris, but none can quite compare to the Hotel Plaza Athenee. The world-renowned luxury hotel -- a part of the Dorchester Collection -- is synonymous with Parisian elegance and good taste. Iconic red awnings and chestnut trees welcome guests to the historic setting on the upscale Avenue Montaigne lined by high-end shops such as Christian Dior, Prada, and Chanel. Inside, the 146 rooms and 45 suites are decorated in classic Art Deco style -- picture draped curtains, gilded wall panels, and crystal chandeliers -- with modern touches like flat-screen TVs and marble baths. With six distinct restaurants, direct access to the Dior Institue spa, a large fitness center, and a can't-miss daily breakfast in a leafy garden, the Plaza Athenee doesn't miss a beat. Though Hotel Le Bristol comes at a close second, Hotel Plaza Athenee surpasses it with its uber-luxe rooms and its outstanding views of the Eiffel Tower.
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.
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 (even though the InterContinental brand is luxurious); 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 -- this hotel is a luxurious, modern option that appeals largely to business travelers. Well-dressed guests linger in the communal areas, which include a lounge, an outdoor terrace surrounded by potted plants and classic architecture, and an attached jazz-themed restaurant which serves continental breakfast in the mornings and international gourmet cuisine for lunch and dinner. But the updated rooms may be the real highlight, with iPod/iPad docks, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and flat-screen TVs. Bathrooms -- also impressive -- include sliding doors, deep sinks, and Hermes toiletries.
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. It's fitting that the hotel is located in the wealthy 16th arrondissement (and yes, valet parking is included). The 48 rooms and suites are large by Paris standards, and decorated in plush luxurious fabrics. But the common areas are more impressive -- especially the black and white grand staircase on the main floor. The terrace is a beautiful spot for lunch on a nice summer day. And there's also a small fitness center, a spa, and a gourmet restaurant. The rates here are steep, but guests who want to experience luxury in Paris (and can afford it) should give the Saint James a look.
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). But as far as on-site amenities, the hotel has few -- which is why it falls fourth on the list; there is no fitness center or spa (although higher-tier rooms can schedule in-room massages).