Clean lines and contemporary flair set this upscale Parisian retreat apart from the city’s other more traditional five-star hotels. Plus, the Mandarin Oriental, Paris has a to-die-for cake shop in the lobby, says Siobhan Grogan.
Hotel Review: Mandarin Oriental, Paris
Say au revoir to flight delays, lost baggage and passport control queues on arrival and hop on a Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris Gare Du Nord instead. The whole journey takes a little over two hours and you can even bring suitcases on board with you, so it’s a particularly stress-free way to travel with kids. It makes for a perfect guilt-free getaway too, as it would take a whopping 14 journeys by Eurostar to match the carbon footprint of just one flight.
With palaces, museums and monuments on almost every corner, Paris is not short on history. Yet Mandarin Oriental, Paris is a refreshing alternative to the ornate grandeur most of the city’s top hotels are known for, ideal if you prefer a more contemporary base for a city break. Sandwiched between the Place Vendôme and the Tuileries gardens on high-end shopping street Rue Saint-Honoré, the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées and even the River Seine are within walking distance.
The hotel itself is as glitzy as its upmarket location. The show-stopping marble lobby has soaring double-height ceilings, cascading displays of vivid purple orchids, a stack of glossy art books on walnut shelves and 135 tiny Swarovski crystal butterflies suspended from the ceiling that glitter in the daylight. Beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows is a lush internal courtyard filled with camellias, trees strung with fairy-lights and well-heeled locals chatting over coffee.
The Art-Deco inspired rooms are huge, too. All overlook either the inner courtyard and garden or the Rue Saint-Honoré, and there are pops of fuchsia purple or gold in chairs, silk throws and cushions amongst the chrome and glossy wood. Some have private balconies, sofas and striking embroidered art work, while mine had a huge white spa-like bathroom with a freestanding bath, mosaic feature wall and large, refillable Frédéric Malle products. There are even hair straighteners tucked away in a drawer. Of course, like all Mandarin Oriental properties, there’s no single-use plastic anywhere in the Paris outpost – even the toothbrushes provided are made from bamboo – and guests can specify in advance how often linens are changed or request greener room-cleaning products. The Mandarin Oriental, Paris was also the first in France to obtain High Quality Environment certification (HQE) which guarantees it uses at least 20–30 percent less energy than a non-HQE building with measures including a drip system for watering green spaces.
If you’ve already ticked off the big-ticket sights, sign up for one of the Mandarin Oriental’s own experiences to see a different side of this remarkable city. These include a free trip to the local food market twice a week, a running tour and an audio guide. For families, the hotel can arrange in-room movie nights, a classic convertible 2CV city tour and mocktail making classes. If a little more adult-focused R&R is needed, the hotel also has a spa, voted Best Luxury Hotel Spa at the World Luxury Spa Awards, with a fitness centre, spa boutique and 14 metre lap pool.
I was travelling with my children, so wanted to cram in as many of the big attractions as possible during our stay. A Go City: Paris All-Inclusive Pass from Attraction Tickets (attractiontickets.com) gave us access to 85 attractions at savings of up to 50 percent, plus various meals, drinks and treats around the city, from cheese tasting to a tour of the locations used in Emily in Paris – a big hit with my teen. Our tickets also covered a leisurely cruise down the Seine with Bateaux Parisiens, a virtual reality experience at Fly Over Paris and even an afternoon cake stop in Montmartre, where we people watched over crème brûlées and warm pistachio cakes.
The Mandarin Oriental, Paris’ two Michelin star restaurant Sur Mesure is designed to offer a complete sensory experience. Led by acclaimed French chef Thierry Marx, the entire restaurant is an all-white room draped in fabric to give the impression of floating in clouds. The six-course menu has an inventive Asian twist with courses including shellfish mousse, lobster miso with black tempura and sweet bento.
All-day dining is also available in airy Camélia, which opens onto the hotel garden for alfresco meals amongst over 100 trees and bushes. Locally sourced and sustainable ingredients are the focus, many of which come from the Mandarin Oriental’s own vegetable garden and rooftop beehives which house 100,000 bees. Dishes include burrata with grilled vegetables and a perfectly cooked beef fillet with matchstick potatoes but the feather-light dim sum selection were our highlight.
We couldn’t help but sample some exquisite cakes from pastry chef Adrien Bozzolo, too, available in the restaurant or from the hotel’s very own cake shop, including praline choux pastry, vanilla and caramel arlettes and – the children’s favourites – glossy chocolate lollipops.
THE FINAL WORD
With its cool contemporary rooms and original modern dining, Mandarin Oriental, Paris is as every bit as stylish as the city it calls home. Add one of the best locations in the capital, endlessly attentive staff and that to-die-for cake shop and it will make any city break seriously chic.
Rooms at Mandarin Oriental, Paris start from €1488. mandarinoriental.com
Find out more about the hotel’s sustainability initiatives here.
A 3 Day Go City: Paris All-Inclusive Pass costs from £109 per adult and £67 per child (3 – 12) from Attraction Tickets at attractiontickets.com