Any aesthete worth their salt knows who Martin Brudnizki is – the designer is the man behind the gloriously over-the-top interiors at swish Mayfair members’ club Annabel’s and the newly-opened Broadwick hotel in Soho. Now he’s brought his decadent brand of maximalism to Le Marais in Paris with the opening of a stylish new bolthole, Le Grand Mazarin.
Nestled on a quiet side street in the French’s capital’s coolest arrondissement, the hotel might have only opened in September but it has already cemented itself as one of the neighbourhood’s most popular new spots – just try getting a table in their buzzy restaurant on a Friday night if you don’t believe us. With its central location and lively but laidback vibe, it’s the ideal base for a weekend in the City of Light.
Tucked away on Rue de la Verrerie – just opposite the BHV Marais department store – sits Le Grand Mazarin, a supremely stylish spot in the heart of Le Marais. You’ll find all the delights of Paris’s most bohemian quartier right on your doorstep, from fashionable boutiques and quaint cafés to quirky modern art galleries and avant-garde concept stores. The contemporary art haven of the Centre Pompidou is just a five-minute walk away, while you can reach the oldest food market in Paris, Le Marché des Enfants Rouge, within 15 minutes.
As you might expect from a Martin Brudnizki property, style is one thing Le Grand Mazarin has in spades. Every corner of this jewel box-pretty hotel has been thought through, from the artfully arranged alcoves and bookshelves in the lobby to the gorgeous mural painted by local artist Jacques Merle above the indoor swimming pool. Those familiar with Brudnizki’s other properties will recognise his trademark style in the public areas, all clashing prints, colours and textures.
The rooms feel calmer, though no less sumptuous. The most striking feature is the tapestry canopy over the bed, which makes it feel as if you’re staying in a medieval chateau. Pistachio-green walls are offset by painted wardrobes and striped chaise longues, while an assortment of tasteful knick-knacks and coffee table books give the impression of staying in a chic friend’s home rather than a hotel.
Food & Drink
The bustling restaurant and sultry bar are two of the main reasons to stay at Le Grand Mazarin – and are largely why the hotel has already been embraced so heartily by the local community. Dinner at the delightfully named Boubalé (a Yiddish term of endearment used by Ashkenazi grandmothers) is always a lively event, particularly if you sit up at the counter, where you can watch the busy chefs at work preparing an array of truly inventive dishes.
We’ll admit we didn’t really know what to expect when the blurb told us the cuisine was inspired by Ashkenazi culture, but we were pleasantly surprised by the array of flavour-filled dishes that arrived from the kitchen, from soft challah bread served with tahini and gravelax topped with arak, to a deconstructed version of chicken soup (otherwise known as ‘Jewish penicillin’).
Thanks to the genius of Michelin-starred Israeli executive chef Assaf Granit, every dish is a creative triumph worth raising a glass to – which you’ll certainly be doing if you’re up at the chef’s counter, because you’ll be delivered a shot of white rum laced with passionfruit between every course.
The small but perfectly formed bar is a cosy spot to wile the night away, drinking eclectic cocktails – the Sababoush, an aubergine-laced riff on baba ghanoush, is our top pick – and soaking up the convivial atmosphere. There’ll soon be a basement bar opening up too, with live DJ sets three nights a week – guaranteed to make this more of a hopping spot than it already is.
Despite the fact that this is a fairly compact city hotel, with just 50 rooms and 11 suites, Le Grand Mazarin has its own swimming pool, something of a rarity in Paris. And what a swimming pool it is – we don’t think we’ve ever seen a more picturesque basement pool, complete with hand-painted columns, a vaulted ceiling and stripey green tiles. It’s almost too pretty to splash around in.
There’s also a lovely hammam and a hot tub where you can go for a soak and admire the fresco above. Just across the way you’ll find a fitness room, filled with box fresh Technogym equipment, and there’s also a treatment cabin run by Parisian favourite Anne Cali just down the hall.
The friendly front desk team and concierge are only too happy to provide local tips, from shopping at cult concept store Fleux to suggesting an itinerary at Musée Carnavalet, the oldest museum in Paris. But ultimately, this is a great spot to strike out into the city on your own and see what you discover, whether that’s ambling over the Seine to explore the charms of nearby Île Saint-Louis or jumping on the Metro to venture further afield.
While all the rooms are delightful, the suites here get top billing. Located on the top floors of the hotel, they offer fantastic panoramic views over the city and some even come with their own private balconies.
Spacious and luxuriously appointed, the gleaming marble bathrooms have rainforest showers and deep bathtubs, just waiting to be filled with the perfumed Diptyque amenities.
If you’re travelling en famille or as a group, there’s the option to connect some of the suites to neighbouring Deluxe Rooms, while the Mazarin Suite right at the top of the hotel comes with its own private staircase. Whichever room you choose, ask for one that doesn’t overlook the courtyard, which can get a little noisy on the weekends.
Couples booking a break in the ultimate city of romance or friends looking for a hip spot to drink, dine and meet locals. With its elegant rooms and unbeatable location, it’s perfectly situated for enjoying the very best that Paris has to offer.
Rooms start from €690 (£598) on a B&B basis. legrandmazarin.com