An insider's guide to the best five-star hotels in Paris, featuring the top places to stay for opulent interiors, Michelin-starred dining, period charm and fabulous service, in locations including central Paris, the Golden Triangle and Pigalle.
Four Seasons Hotel George V
Palatial comfort, space, gastronomy and the most remarkable flower displays in town sum up the sumptuous George V, crowning it over Avenue George V in the Champs-Elysées golden triangle.
My favourite aspect is the incredible flower displays by the hotel's florist and artistic director Jeff Leatham that have been different each time I've come here. Legions of staff are friendly yet politely discreet. There's a spacious spa and rooms are decorated in comfortable traditional style à la Louis XV; even the simplest Superior and Deluxe rooms are impressively large.
Read the full review: Four Seasons Hotel George V
Opened in 1925, Le Bristol is one of six hotels in Paris awarded official 'Palace' status (a notch up from five stars). Interiors are light in pink and white marble with striking flower arrangements. It's 18th century in style, with antiques and a working 1940s lift.
The emphasis is on tradition (old-style door keys rather than cards) and personal service. The jewel in the hotel’s crown is Epicure, the triple Michelin-starred restaurant, where the food is positively ambrosial.
Read the full review: Le Bristol
Mandarin Oriental Paris
If rue Saint-Honoré, where this hotel is situated, is all about conspicuous consumption, Mandarin Oriental Paris itself is a haven of elegance and understated luxury.
The verdant courtyard garden and its wall of cascading foliage provide a soothing sight on arrival in the marble-clad lobby. The look throughout the hotel is cool and contemporary, served up with a slice of the Orient in the form of cherry wood panelling and fine silks.
Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx is a three-Michelin-starred affair where foodies pay homage in an all-white room that has been designed so as not to detract from the ‘sensory’ dining experience.
Read the full review: Mandarin Oriental Paris
Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris
On the avenue between the Arc de Triomphe and Parc Monceau, grand Royal Monceau was reborn after a Philippe Starck makeover. Expect a gallery, art concierge, concept store and cinema. Add an Alice in Wonderland mirrored spa, with Clarins treatments, gym, and the largest hotel swimming pool in Paris.
Rooms are an artistic clutter of eclectic lamps and tables, mixing retro and contemporary touches, with a vast island bed, photos and artworks propped against the wall and a guitar for you to strum. The two restaurants have each gained one Michelin star.
Read the full review: Le Royal Monceau Raffles
Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg
Two connected 18th-century mansions just off place de la Concorde house one of the most discreet of Paris’s luxury hotels. Rooms are a clever meeting of classicism and modernity, with subtle fashion touches.
One of the sharpest moves of the Sofitel revamp has been to bring in star chef Yannick Alleno to oversee its kitchens. STAY restaurant is a new foodie destination with his light seasonal inventions, plancha cooking and cosmopolitan touches, and its clever dessert library. There's also a small spa and gym.
Read the full review: Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg
The Vernet is refreshing while preserving its ever-so-Parisian Belle Époque origins. Think funky copper lights, a wavy bar sculpted out of a hunk of marble, and a ceiling painted by French artist Jean-Michel Alberola. Service is helpful without being obtrusive.
Unlike many Parisian hotels that are in converted buildings, the Vernet has been a hotel ever since it was built in 1913, so rooms are generally generous. Bathrooms come in jazzy black and white marble and mosaic, with Toto loos, for those who love technology.
Read the full review: Hotel Vernet, Paris
Prince de Galles
A smart, compact, and extremely stylish 1920s hotel on Avenue George V, in the heart of the eighth designer district.
Many of the 159 rooms overlook the quiet, central courtyard. The Art Deco spirit is subtly recaptured in many of the details - from the curved corners of the macassar veneer furniture to the beautiful mosaic bathrooms.
La Scène is the main restaurant, with Stéphanie Le Quellec, a rising star in France who recently won Top Chef (the French equivalent of Master Chef for professionals), at the helm.
Read the full review: Prince de Galles
Hotel Molitor Paris
The Molitor is as close as you get to a resort hotel in Paris: the legendary Art Deco swimming pool was reborn as a hotel and sports club after 20 years of abandon. Stained glass sporting scenes have been restored, alongside memories of graffiti artist squatters.
There's a gigantic Clarins spa and an art gallery, while the surprising roof terrace provides an eyrie-like outdoor lounge perched over the Périphérique ring road with suspended herb and flower gardens. Three rooms have original Art Deco, steamer-style portholes, and most overlook the pool.
Read the full review: Hotel Molitor Paris
Perfect for a romantic weekend. With 20 rooms and Jacques Garcia décor, Maison Souquet falls within the current trend for small-scale luxury rather than the giant palaces of old. Colonising the characterful district of Pigalle, the historic building's brief moment as a maison close (brothel) gives it a slightly naughty spirit.
Each room is named after a courtesan, the 20 rooms and suites are a feast of different textiles covering walls and stuffed bedheads, from peacock feathers to chinoiserie, plus some very Garcia touches in velvet poufs and fringed satin lampshades.
Read the full review: Maison Souquet
A five-star magnet for wealthy couples on city breaks, artsy types, and groups of friends doing cocktails or brunch, in the bohemian Rive Gauche. Think cool design, and Mad-Men-meets-acid-house rooms (yes, really). I almost needed sunglasses to look at the pink mirrored wardrobe doors.
There is also a spa offering Esthederm treatments, a gym and a sauna.
Read the full review: Hôtel Bel-Ami
Le Meurice stands out among the Paris palaces with its prime position on arcaded rue de Rivoli, just minutes from the Louvre. It's very grand yet not stuffy. Dali used to stay here with his ocelots and that has clearly left a legacy of tolerance for guest's foibles. Almost 400 staff can lay on anything from chauffeur-driven tours and the promise of bodily perfection in the Valmont spa to walking your dog.
The 160 rooms and suites are sybaritic oceans of pastel-coloured silks and bergère chairs à la Louis XVI. Now in the hands of multi-starred superchef Alain Ducasse, Restaurant Le Meurice offers superb dining under a blowsy rococo ceiling.
Read the full review: Le Meurice
This was originally the private mansion of Roland Bonaparte, eccentric botanist and great-nephew of Napoleon. It has a wedding-cake facade, grand stairway and a string of historic salons, which have been listed and painstakingly restored with hand-gilded panelling and neoclassical friezes.
Expect lashings of fine service, from top-hatted doormen to cheongsam-clad reception staff. Head to the one Michelin-starred Shang Palace in the basement, where chef Samuel Lee Sum serves probably the best, most authentic Cantonese cuisine in town.
Read the full review: Shangri-La Paris
Hotel Plaza Athenee
A chic hotel on the Avenue Montaigne, one of the most prestigious haute couture addresses. Some on the top of the hotel have superb views of the Eiffel Tower including room 888, with a floor to ceiling picture window and viewing telescope.
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée is the showpiece restaurant, serving dishes - often displaying unusual and interesting bitter notes - that are both unexpected and delicious. At the Dior spa, the fashion theme is reflected in the blue fabric which swathes the ceiling of Le Bar Onirique.
Read the full review: Hotel Plaza Athenee
San Régis Paris
This understated five-star – once frequented by Lauren Bacall and Gene Kelly – is a delightful hidden gem, located on a quiet residential road amidst the busy hum of the prestigious Triangle d'Or, which takes in avenues Champs-Elysées, Montaigne and George V.
The San Régis was originally a private mansion which first opened as a hotel in 1923. Until the 1980s, the hotel was always known by word-of-mouth, and was a favourite hideaway for Hollywood celebrities and the Paris fashion set. Interiors are by French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. The 42 rooms and suites are a little different.
Read the full review: San Régis Paris
The Peninsula Paris
A Hong Kong vision of Parisian luxury, lavishly redone with vast corridors, a reception dripping with glass leaves, panelled bar and meticulously restored rococo salon. This is high-shine hotellery with polished marble floors, a glass leaf chandelier that floats in the reception area, high-end boutiques and vast hallways.
The 200 rooms and suites go from large to positively huge. There are six bars and restaurants, including sixth-floor panoramic French gastronomic restaurant L'Oiseau Bleu and Cantonese restaurant LiLi.
Read the full review: The Peninsula Paris
A stylishly opulent five star, located in the epicentre of Paris, which has been remodelled as the space of a wealthy fictional traveller (“Nolinski”). The décor, courtesy of interiors maestro Jean-Louis Denoit, blends Belle Epoque Paris – think marble surfaces and suites named after Hemingway and Josephine Baker – with contemporary touches such as abstract art, jagged geometric lines and dazzling mirrored surfaces.
The hotel boasts an impressively spacious subterranean spa with sauna and hammam, and a very swish 16-metre pool, enhanced with a mirrored ceiling and complimented by elegant dim lighting.
Read the full review: Nolinski Paris
Grand Hotel du Palais Royal
The hotel is set in a grand 18th-century building on the corner of the pretty Place Valois. Interiors are by Pierre-Yves Rochon, who has worked with the building's original features, such as the imposing spiral stairwell. Contemporary artworks are on display in the lobby, as well as busts of Voltaire and Rousseau made at the Louvre’s sculpture academy.
Views are of the surrounding square or walls of the Palais Royal, with impressive views of the Palais Royal gardens or rooftops of Paris from the higher floors. The hotel’s signature Panoramic and Palais Royal suites enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding skyline, including the Eiffel Tower.
Read the full review: Grand Hotel du Palais Royal