Pros

  • Old World luxury hotel attracting incognito celebrities and heads of state
  • Set on a swanky, tree-lined avenue, one block from the Arc de Triomphe
  • Enormous rooms with high ceilings, large windows, and Rococo Louis XV decor
  • Duplex apartments with private outdoor space available
  • Large mahogany walk-in closets are vestiges from the era of boat and train travel
  • Bathtubs, L'occitane products, and fluffy robes and slippers in every room
  • 360-degree views of Paris from stunning rooftop terrace/garden, renovated in 2018
  • Intimate English club-style bar with plush velvet furnishings and oak panels
  • Fine-dining restaurant with upscale French lunch and dinner menus
  • Small fitness center with sauna and free Evian water
  • Guests have free access to the spa, pool, and gym at the neighboring Majestic
  • 24-hour room and concierge services
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
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Cons

  • No pool or spa (but guests can access the neighboring Majestic's spa facilities)
  • Historic decor won't be to everyone's taste
  • Set away from the center of Paris
  • Restaurant only open Monday through Friday
  • Some king beds are actually two twins pushed together
  • No espresso machines in the rooms
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Bottom Line

The Raphael is a luxurious hotel situated in one of Paris's swankiest neighborhoods on a tree-lined avenue a block from the Arc de Triomphe. Classical Louis XV/XVI interiors are astounding, especially in the 82 extraordinarily spacious rooms and suites, which recall the era of train and boat travel with their enormous mahogany wardrobes and antique furnishings. The hotel offers unparalleled views over Paris from its rooftop garden terrace (which opens an outdoor restaurant and bar in the spring and summer). The hotel's year-round restaurant serves upscale French fare for lunch and dinner, and a number of banquet halls host everything from weddings to private Christmas dinners. Luxury travelers in want of more 21st-century rooms could consider The Peninsula Paris, though rates there soar above Raphael's.

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Amenities

  • Cribs
  • Fitness Center
  • Internet
  • Pets Allowed

Oyster Hotel Review

Hotel Raphael

Scene

Immaculate Haussmannian palace with timeless elegance and views of the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower

Housed in a seven-story private mansion from 1925, Hotel Raphael is a grand old hotel run by the same family for four generations. Its limestone facade is quintessentially Parisian, with wrought-iron window railings, balustrades, and charming red awnings. A tall arched entrance crowned by an "R"-adorned cartouche opens into a museum-like colonnaded gallery. The space is framed by pristine checkered marble floors, ornate dark oak paneling, and a vaulted ceiling, and furnished with genuine 18th-century antiques and artworks, including a painting by J. M. W. Turner. 

Every inch of the Hotel Raphael -- from the Haussmannian facade to the neo-classical interiors -- exudes the ambience of classical Old World luxury. Over the decades, the hotel has hosted such illustrious guests as Grace Kelly, Marlon Brando, Katherine Hepburn, and Walt Disney. During the filming of the 1963 film "Charade," stars Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn made the Hotel Raphael their temporary home. Chanel booked one of the hotel's suites, the Arc de Triomphe suite, to use as the set for a perfume commercial. The space was completely redecorated for the shoot, and afterwards the hotel loved the new look so much, they decided not to return it to its original style. Otherwise, the hotel retains every drop of its 1925 opulence, with a technical team and an army of specialized artisans in charge of restoration and preservation.

Today, clientele leans inevitably towards the well-heeled (both families and couples) and frequently include the likes of statesmen, industry leaders, and the occasional global celebrity, who like the hotel for its lack of flash and paparazzi. On the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, world leaders gathered in Paris for a weekend of commemoration, and a handful chose to stay at Hotel Raphael for its discreet service, high level of luxury, and interconnecting suites that can accommodate advisors and entire security entourages.

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Location

Set on wide, tree-lined avenue in swanky 16th district a block from the Arc de Triomphe

The hotel is located on a wide, tree-lined avenue in the swanky and upmarket 16th arrondissement in the northwest of Paris. The iconic Arc de Triomphe is just a few minutes away on foot, together with the start of the renowned luxury shopping avenue of Champs-Élysées. Under the arch is also the Charles de Gaulle - Étoile transport hub providing both Metro and RER train connections throughout Paris and beyond. Alternatively, the city center -- with Notre Dame Cathedral and Louvre Museum -- is about 10 minutes by cab while the Eiffel Tower is a five-minute drive, traffic permitting. 

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Rooms

Extraordinarily spacious rooms and suites from the Old World

Staying at Raphael feels like sleeping in a first-class cabin on a grand, early-20th-century ocean liner. The hotel has 47 rooms and 36 suites, all of them extraordinarily spacious for Paris, with high ceilings, almost equally tall windows, and roomy wooden wardrobes -- a holdover from the days when guests traveled by boat or train with lots of luggage. Predictably, decor is lavish classical elegance -- think carved oak walls, damask wallpaper and hand-painted panels, oil paintings, and silk and velvet fabrics. Plush wall-to-wall carpeting is topped with large medallion rugs, crystals dangle from brass sconces, and antique furnishings are a mix of extravagant Empire and Louis XV/XVI styles. The historic clocks built into the wall are the same as those original to The Ritz. The opulent Old World decor will inevitably charm and delight some guests, and strike others as too old-fashioned.

The modern flat-screen TVs, which come standard with pay movies and satellite channels, look almost awkward plopped down among all this pomp. There are minibars and free coffee and tea, but, surprising for this caliber of hotel, no espresso machines. Wi-Fi is free and there are plug boxes by the bed with multiple types of outlets. Bathrooms are also remarkably large. Some are tiled in marble or porcelain and some are painted in an elaborate Tuscan style; all have deep shower/tub combos (claw-footed in most suites), L'occitane bath products, and Babybliss hairdryers. All rooms have fluffy robes and slippers, and the hotel provides small bathrobes for kids (along with coloring books and teddy bears).

The hotel has many connecting rooms for families or large groups, such as government delegations. In fact, foreign ministers and heads of states, along with their security detail, often stay at Raphael, where they can occupy nearly an entire corridor's worth of connecting rooms. (This sort of set-up is rare in Paris hotels now.) In addition to interconnecting rooms and large suites, the hotel also offers duplex apartments with spiraling metal staircases leading to private outdoor space. The hotel's Suite Arc de Triomphe and Suite Tour Eiffel offer the best views of their namesake landmarks.

Keep in mind that the building is nearly 100 years old, and though it is painstakingly cared for, guests will inevitably hear things like creaking floors, water moving through the pipes, and fellow guests sneezing in the neighboring room. Though the rooms are not soundproofed, the windows are double-glazed, so street noise is not an issue.

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Features

Spectacular rooftop terrace and garden with views of the Eiffel Tower

The hotel's pièce de résistance is its magnificent rooftop terrace and garden, which offers superb panoramic views over the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and much of Paris. Fully renovated in 2018, the rooftop features lounging/dining alcoves where tables, chairs, and sofas are set up from May through the end of September. During these warmer months, an outdoor kitchen and bar prepare food (lunch, dinner, teatime) and drinks. All around are holly and rose bushes, fruit trees, boxwoods, and garden plots growing lavender and thyme, tomatoes strawberries, chilies and basil.

The main restaurant on the ground floor presents fine-dining French cuisine -- grilled bream, roasted baby chicken casserole -- as imagined by its Spanish chef. The restaurant serves a breakfast buffet (included in some bookings) daily and lunch and dinner during the week only. The English Bar, popular with locals, serves upscale sandwiches and traditional French entrees in a sumptuous, red-velvet setting reminiscent of a London gentleman's club. Room and concierge services are both available 24 hours a day; Raphael's concierges are particularly attentive and well-informed. 

The hotel has a small fitness room with a rowing machine, an elliptical, a treadmill, a bike, free weights, and yoga mats. The fitness center also has a sauna and hammam that are free for guests to use, plus free Evian bottled water. Raphael guests are free to use the spa facilities at the sister hotel, the Majestic Hotel Spa Paris. Across the side street from Hotel Raphael, the Majestic features a pool, two hammans, a pool, and its own fitness center, all available to Raphael guests.

As far as meeting rooms go, the ones at Hotel Raphael are really special. There are a total of six function/event spaces, including two on the top floor with outdoor terraces. One of them, Salon Taubar, is an English-style banquet hall featuring a stone fireplace, wood paneling, and a stained-glass ceiling. The one-time private apartment of one of the founders of Baverez Hotels (Hotel Raphael's hotel group), Salon Taubar is a popular venue for everything from weddings and seminars to fashion shows and private Christmas parties. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel.

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Best Rates

Amenities

  • Air Conditioner

  • Airport Transportation

  • Babysitting Services

  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Basic Television

  • Business Center

  • Cable

  • Concierge

  • Cribs

  • Dry Cleaning

  • Fitness Center

  • Internet

  • Kids Allowed

  • Laundry

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Mini Bar (with liquor)

  • Pets Allowed

  • Poolside Drink Service

  • Rental Car Service Desk Onsite

  • Room Service

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.