Staying in The Hotel Plaza Athénee is more Palace than Hotel.
The Hotel Plaza Athénee is not only steeped in Parisian history, it is part of the cultural fabric of our time, having been featured in movies, fashion shoots and television shows. It is a global icon of Paris, Parisian history, Parisian fashion, and of absolute luxury. Let alone the history of both the building and the street where it is located, Avenue Montaigne.
Since the 1980’s, the stunning, wide, tree-lined street has been considered the Grand Dame of high fashion streets. Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, and Fendi are all there.
This magical hotel only gets better every time I stay there. The Hotel Plaza Athenée is part of a unique group of hotels in Paris known as Palaces. There are just 12. And they are considered to sit above the regular five star rating, as each is steeped in a part of Parisian history and offers premium accommodation in every way.
The most famous movie The Hotel Plaza Athénee has been featured in for my generation was Sex In The City, when the 4 American girls went on a hedonistic holiday to Paris to live it up. Carrie was in the best room in the whole hotel – an opulently huge suite with stunningly appointed furniture and design.
Years ago I was lucky enough to stay in the very apartment where Carrie stayed in the film, right opposite the Eiffel Tower, but that was before the hotel closed and underwent extensive renovations.
Now it is even more extraordinary, and staying there is an unparalleled experience that is next level in every sense.
Having just stayed in the first class property in January, it is better than ever, and every aspect of it is a ten. For me, the Hotel Plaza Athénee is a hotel where dreams are not only made, but where dreams come true whether you are with your family, your true love or even on your own. It is a fantastical, remarkable experience no matter which of the 154 rooms you are staying in, and no matter what time of year you are there.
The staff are intimate but professional. They remember returning guest’s names and the concierge even remembered the restaurants outside the hotel I liked last time, when I had long since forgotten. They almost feel like family, which is an incredible feeling when you are far from home. The level of service in the entire hotel is absolutely exceptional, and it is no wonder people return here again and again.
I arrived home after a work dinner one night and made my way to the bar not knowing what I felt like – water, tea or a drink. So the barman asked about my favourite flavours, and preferences, and within minutes handmade a cocktail and said “Only pay for it if you like it and want to drink it.”
It was the best cocktail I didn’t know I wanted! That is the kind of service I come across at the hotel every time I stay there, it is empathetic and insightful, and present in different contexts and areas of the property.
Breakfast at ‘The Plaza’ as locals affectionately call it is an event to be savoured. I make very breakfast there as long as possible. The tables alone are worthy of their own portrait they are so beautiful sitting beneath the largest Swarovski chandeliers I have ever seen.
Again breakfast staff remember returning guests and their preferences, and the food on offer is extraordinary, with Iberian Ham, daily gourmet eggs made to order, freshly squeezed pressed juices, you name it. The hot chocolate is to die for. You can read more about that here.
The gym in the hotel is brilliant, and has a boxing machine that is building a reputation of its own on instagram. It is basically an automated machine where you watch a screen and punch various pads, and the machine tells you if you are hitting too hard or too soft or not at the right angle. A proper workout, but also lots of fun.
I am a fan of the running paths around the hotel too, as it is in such a superb location on the right bank, (maps of which are available in the gym) along the Seine, you run through the cobbled streets, along the river with the Eiffel Tower guiding you like a beacon on the way back.
There are 5 restaurants. Restaurant Alain Ducasse is the show-piece of the property, as it has an astonishing 3 Michelin stars. The breathtaking interiors are as sumptuous as the food. The menu is based on fish, vegetables and grains, but book ahead. A seat there is highly sought after.
Le Relais Plaza, the more casual dining experience is a Parisian icon. Werner Kuchler has been the host at this art deco establishment for too many years to mention, and has hosted some of the world’s biggest stars, but to him, everyone is worthy of celebrity treatment! Seamless service and incredible food add up to yet another amazing experience.
I could write about the wonders of this hotel for pages.
The Dior spa is yet another extraordinary facet of the place, particularly the massage and facial beds where you lie looking into space-like stars above your head to totally zen out.
La Cour Jardin, a stunning garden at the heart of the hotel which is open in warmer months is possibly the most romantic place in the world for lunch, drinks, coffee or just to be spontaneous, but I will have to review that when I am there in summer.
If you imagine your most incredible 5 star hotel experience, The Hotel Plaza Athénee will beat it. I promise. I just cannot get enough.
Who should Stay here: Families, couples, solo travellers for work to pleasure.
Location: Right bank in Paris. Two minutes walk from the Champs Élyseés.
Best culinary delight: Lunch at The Relais Plaza.
The Highlight: Champagne and conversation in the courtyard on a spring afternoon.
The lowlight: Checking out. I always want to stay longer.