The 208 rooms at the luxury Hotel Plaza Athenee embrace either classic Parisian or glitzy Art Deco style. The Christian Dior-appointed spa, five restaurants overseen by Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse, and haute couture-inspired event spaces set this Avenue Montaigne property apart from the pack. But it's the small touches -- like fresh orchids throughout the marble interiors, pillow and linen menus, and personalized minibars -- that make the property memorable. Wi-Fi and parking come with hefty fees, and the hotel's exclusive air won't suit all guests. Travelers might want to also check out The Hotel Fouquet's Barriere, on Avenue Georges V, which has free Wi-Fi and an indoor pool.
The ultimate luxury experience, with antique and high-fashion details
Make no mistake: This is a legendary and exceedingly fashionable property, which has been favored luminaries such as Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and Grace Kelly over the years. The hotel now includes three adjacent luxury townhouses on chic Avenue Montaigne, one of which is occupied by Harry Winston jewelers. The polished, ultra-exclusive air begins out front, where red awnings hang from the century-old building. This atmosphere continues with gusto in the lobby, which is filled with crystal chandeliers, bronze and brushed-oak furnishings, red-silk couches and drapes, and gorgeously arranged fresh flowers affixed to marble columns. These factors all come together with a bevy of high-end venues, including the restaurants (headed by Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse), which are likewise spectacularly decorated. There's the bright futuristic-goth vibe in Le Bar, and touches of International Klein Blue -- a color named for French artist Yves Klein -- in the stunning ceiling installation at Le Relais Plaza. While the property certainly impresses inside, the interior courtyard may be its most appealing common space; surrounded by soaring ivy-covered walls and edged with manicured shrubs and red flowers, the lantern-lit stone space oozes classic Parisian romance. In any case, this is top-of-the-line luxury, and guests here are almost universally well-heeled international couples, families, and business executives.
Set amid high-fashion boutiques on Avenue Montaigne in the 8th Arrondissement
Hotel Plaza Athenee sits on Avenue Montaigne, famed for its fashionable boutiques. All of the big names, from Chanel to Celine to Louis Vuitton, are within easy walking distance, and the chestnut tree-lined sidewalks make the walk scenic. Restaurants and cafes are everywhere, and popular sights are within easy reach. On foot, the Theatre des Champs-Elysees is one minute away, the Grand Palais takes eight minutes to reach, and L'Arc de Triomphe is about 20 minutes from the Plaza Athenee. The Eiffel Tower is about a 15-minute walk across the Seine. The Alma Marceau Metro station is a five-minute walk from the hotel for simple access to destinations like Notre Dame, the Musee d'Orsay, and the Louvre. Charles de Gaulle Airport is technically 35 minutes away by car without traffic, but travel times can go way up at peak hours. Orly Airport can also take up to 50 minutes to reach depending on traffic. The hotel can provide Mercedes chauffeur services for a fee.
Antiques and haute couture in French Regency or Art Deco rooms
The hotel's eight floors offer guests an array of rooms and suites, with those on the first six floors decorated in a classic Louis XVI style, and those on the top two floors styled with Art Deco flair. The interiors were crafted by famed interior designer Marie-Jose Pommereau, who combined couture-house fabrics with flea market finds to achieve an upscale-home feel. Pale pink and yellow hues, touches of damask and embroidery, oil paintings, elegant period furnishings, and gilded mirrors complete each room on the lower floors. The upper floor rooms are sleek, with impeccably crafted hardwood in warm chestnut tones used everywhere from closet doors to coffee tables to desks and bureaus. These rooms have a shimmery elegance and subtle vintage vibe. All rooms have pillow menus, large safes, turndown service, newspaper delivery, twice-daily housekeeping, plasma TVs, and minibars stocked with guests' choice of 80 different liquors, along with marble bathrooms. The standard Superior Guest Rooms have views of the interior courtyard, and Deluxe Rooms have decorative fireplaces and antique period lighting -- some provide views of Avenue Montaigne. Each Prestige Suite includes a bottle of champagne, a large lounge filled with fresh flowers, two marble bathrooms with custom toiletries, and, in some, balconies with Eiffel Tower views.
Alain Ducasse-helmed restaurants, chic cocktail bar, designer spa, and luxe services
The hotel's five highly regarded on-site restaurants are all led by Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse, and include contemporary French cuisine at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, and La Galerie, with pastries by famed pastry chef Christophe Michalak. Cocktails figure prominently at La Terrasse Montaigne, which has covered outdoor seating on Avenue Montaigne, and at Le Bar, which offers creative small, medium, and large cocktails and a DJ five nights a week. The Dior Institut spa offers couture-inspired beauty and body treatments -- think one-on-one skin consultations and customized massages -- using Christian Dior products; there's also a Turkish bath. The elegant fitness center isn't huge, though it has lovely wooden floors and modern equipment. The five event spaces range in size from 25 to 150 square meters (269 to 1,615 square feet), and include Le Salon Haute Couture, a ballroom that can accommodate up to 170 people, along with more intimate venues flooded with natural light, another with views of the interior courtyard, and a wine cellar. The range of luxury services includes shoeshines, airport escorts, and 24-hour concierge and room service. Wi-Fi and parking, however, come with hefty fees, and guests should be prepared -- prices throughout are on par with this hotel's well-deserved luxury label.
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