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La Reserve Paris - Hotel and Spa 5.0

8th Arrondissement (Champs-Elysees), Paris, France

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Intimate, luxury boutique hotel with a “Palace” distinction 
  • Champs Elysees location, with Eiffel Tower views from top floors 
  • Lovely rooms and suites with rich decor and butler service
  • All rooms have Nespresso machines, minibars, and marble bathrooms
  • Michelin-starred restaurant, plus a second restaurant and two bars 
  • Cozy library lounge serves top-notch cocktails drawing locals and guests
  • Luxe spa, indoor swimming pool, and modern 24-hour fitness center 
  • Seasonal interior courtyard with dining and lounging areas 
  • Clef d’Or concierges, the most prestigious of guest services
  • Freebies include Wi-Fi and luxury car service anywhere in Paris 
  • Pet friendly (for a fee)

Cons

  • Some travelers may find the atmosphere a bit stuffy 
  • Children are welcome, but families might feel out of place  

Bottom Line

The smallest hotel in Paris with a “Palace” distinction, La Reserve Paris offers intimacy and luxury in a meticulously restored Hausmannian mansion. Its 40 exquisite, butler-serviced rooms and suites display damask silk wall coverings, oak herringbone parquet, velvet drapes, period artwork, and stunning Carrara marble bathrooms. Other highlights include its Michelin-starred restaurant, cozy library cocktail lounge, and top-notch spa. La Reserve has an enviable location off the Champs Elysees, and travelers who want to paint the town can consult the Clef d’Or concierges for restaurant reservations, opera tickets, and exclusive recommendations. However, all this white-glove service could feel a bit stuffy to some travelers; those seeking luxurious accommodations with a more relaxed atmosphere may prefer Grand Hotel du Palais Royal, which has an excellent location across from the Louvre.  

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Scene

An intimate Palace hotel with a quiet atmosphere that could border on stuffy for some

Just off the Champs Elysees on avenue Gabriel, La Reserve is marked by an iconic, glossy red entrance. Suited doormen in top hats await newly arriving guests and welcome returning ones with courteous smiles. Luggage and shopping bags are promptly whisked away and magically reappear in guests' rooms. Inside the doors, a tiny receiving room makes a striking first impression. Rose-colored marble is offset by black and gold lacquered doors and crown molding, and gas lamp-style fixtures allude to both the building’s 19th century origins and Paris' history as the City of Lights. 

La Reserve was originally built in 1854 as a townhouse for Napoleon III’s half brother, the Duc de Morny. Today, the building's integrity remains intact -- interior spaces feel like the rooms of a private mansion. Decor is opulent, but still comfortable. Guests are encouraged to take afternoon tea in the great room or curl up with a book in the library. 

Thanks to its history and other qualifications, La Reserve has been labeled a “Palace,” a distinguished honor bestowed upon superb hotels by an elite French tourism board. The property is one of the newest members of the club, and it's also much smaller and quieter than its fellow Palaces (the Plaza Athenee, Le Bristol, and Le Meurice among them). Because of their grandeur, Palaces tend to attract non-guests to their public spaces to ooh and ahh over the lobbies or sit down for a drink at the bar. However, this sort of hustle and bustle is absent from La Reserve, giving the hotel an atmosphere of private seclusion. Still, some travelers may find the property's palatial tone a bit stuffy, especially families. Children are welcome, but there isn’t anything for them to do here, and parents with rowdy little ones will feel out of place. 

Location

Right by the Champs Elysees, and within walking distance of many iconic sites 

La Reserve is located on avenue Gabriel, a quiet side street that runs parallel to the Champs Elysees in the ritzy 8th Arrondissement. From the hotel, guests can easily walk to the Place de la Concorde, the Grand Palais, and Pont Alexandre III in under 10 minutes. Arc de Triomphe can also be reached on foot, though it requires a 19-minute trek.  Other sites are easier to reach by metro, such as the Eiffel Tower (a 14-minute ride) and the Louvre (an 18-minute ride). The nearest metro station, Franklin D. Roosevelt, serves lines 1 and 9, and is less than a five-minute walk from the hotel’s front door. Charles de Gaulle Airport is a little over an hour away by public transportation, while Orly Airport is about 48 minutes.

Rooms

Impeccably decorated rooms and suites with butler service

Starting at 430 square feet and culminating at 2,100 square feet, La Reserve's guest rooms -- topped off with luxe amenities and jaw-dropping marble bathrooms -- are palatial in every sense. The 14 rooms and 26 suites showcase damask silk wall coverings, intricate crown molding, period furniture and artwork, and oak herringbone parquet. Velvet drapery and embroidered headboards add plushness, while tufted club chairs provide dainty thrones. Despite all their Belle Epoque grandeur, rooms never feel overdone, and the shimmery silver hues used throughout the decor provide a modern counterpoint balanced by purple and red accents. 

The highlight of rooms could be their Carrara marble bathrooms. Every available surface (save for the shiny chrome soaking tubs) is covered in veined gray-and-white marble. Large vanities equipped with double sinks are piled high with fluffy white towels. Standalone shower stalls and separate toilet vestibules with automated Japanese basins are a novelty all their own. One minuscule complaint -- the toiletries provided are La Reserve’s own brand, whereas other five-pearl properties stock their bathrooms with Guerlain, Hermes, and Diptyque items. On the bright side, guests rave about the toiletries’ signature scent.  

Each room is equipped with a personal iPad that allows guests to control the lighting, temperature, and window shades electronically. Another nifty touch: Flat-screen TVs are embedded in the mirrors (including the one in the bathroom). Additional high-end amenities include Nespresso machines, free fully stocked minibars (additional charges apply for alcohol), free Wi-Fi, and personal butlers. Butlers can be summoned via the iPads 24/7 and can unpack and repack suitcases, create romantic in-room surprises, press shirts in a moment's notice, touch-up manicures, and deliver almost anything from the outside world to your room. 

All rooms and suites are spread across five floors and face either Gabriel Avenue or the hotel’s interior courtyard. Gabriel Avenue isn’t a noisy street, so street-facing rooms and courtyard rooms are equally quiet. Suites on the upper floors, like the Premier Suite we visited, have private French balconies with sweeping views of the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais. 

Features

A Michelin-starred restaurant, two outstanding bars, and freebies like car service 

One of La Reserve’s greatest features is its Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Gabriel. The opulent gold-leafed dining room serves as the perfect backdrop for Chef Jerome Banctel’s masterful approach to traditional French cuisine. Guests can expect a menu of French classics, infused with subtle Japanese flavors. Many dishes have an East-meets-West appeal, such as sea bass with wasabi lemon, roasted venison with tamarind, and salmon with fermented plum. Reservations for lunch and dinner are strongly recommended, and men are required to wear jackets. Note that there's no room service at La Reserve, but the butlers assigned to each room can bring dishes up from Le Gabriel. 

Adjacent to Le Gabriel is the hotel’s casual (though still posh) restaurant, La Pagode de Cos, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is for hotel guests only, but lunch and dinner seatings are open to the public. The gorgeous space feels reminiscent of a garden, with brightly colored floral upholstery and floor to ceiling windows that overlook the interior courtyard. La Pagode de Cos has an extensive gluten-free menu, and the chef can happily cater to clients with food allergies. 

There are two bars at La Reserve, “The Bar” is located between the lobby and Le Gabriel and “The Library” occupies a cozy corner in the rear of the building. The Bar is a glamorous space with red tufted wingback chairs, a marble fireplace, and a gold-leaf bar. It’s a popular spot for guests and visitors to grab a drink before heading to dinner at Le Gabriel, and it's well known across Paris for its signature cocktails (and accompanying sticker shock). During the day, the hotel’s emerald-hued library is the perfect place to sit by the fire and read, but at night, the clubby, wood-paneled space transforms into a refined jazz club with live music and a buzzy atmosphere. 

By contrast, the hotel's subterranean spa at La Reserve has an almost futuristic feel thanks to red lacquered walls and lots of mirrors. It holds several treatment rooms and a 16-meter (52-foot) indoor swimming pool. Adjacent to the spa is the hotel’s fitness center, a rarity for Paris. It’s somewhat small, but nicely equipped with TechnoGym cardio machines and a few free weights. The pool and gym are open 24-hours. Reservations for spa treatments are recommended, but staff do their best to accommodate walk-ins, too. 

Other perks include free Wi-Fi and a free luxury car service that brings guests wherever they want to go in Paris. However, travelers should note that the car service is based on availability, so if the driver is transporting other guests at the time of your dinner reservation, you may need to take a taxi or the metro. The hotel is pet friendly for a fee, but pets must meet certain requirements and guests must make arrangements with the hotel before arrival. 

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Address

42 avenue Gabriel, Paris, Ile-de-France 75008, France

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