Hôtel Plaza Athénée is more than an institution in the city of lights. Although younger Gen Z's will recognise the diamond of the Dorchester Collection from Netflix smash Emily In Paris, those a little older will value its historical majesty, distinct aesthetic, and architectural grandeur.
With a view of the Eiffel Tower on one side and the Champs-Elysee on the other, the hotel is the epitome of Parisian elegance in the chic 8th Arrondissement (the golden triangle). Located on Avenue Montaigne (formerly known as Allée des Veuves (widows alley) where women used to gather while mourning, the location today is home to prominent brands including Louis Vuitton, Céline, Saint Laurent, and Chanel.
The hotel itself is said to be the very spot that inspired haute couture designer Christian Dior to launch his own couture house on Avenue Montaigne, and where dancer Josephine Baker, Jackie Kennedy, and Grace Kelly often stayed.
This legendary palace known for its glamour and elegance also boasts a century-long history of hosting royalty, celebrities (past and present) and discerning travellers from all over the world.
From its iconic red awnings to its sumptuous haute cuisine, Hôtel Plaza Athénée is the embodiment of French refinement and savoir-faire. With 154 rooms and 54 suites and its famous interior garden La Cour Jardin, staying here is an experience that guests will remember for the rest of their lives.
The outdoor terrace and courtyard provide a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city and are beautifully landscaped with flowers and plants. It also features a stylish bar where guests can enjoy cocktails and light bites.
Interiors are classical Parisian and art deco in style and after being greeted by dapper doormen, the lobby will leave you astounded. From high-polish floors to grand chandeliers dripping in crystal and hints of gilding you are in the home of total luxury. The interior design led by Bruno Moinard Bétaille and architectural design (led by Jean-Jacques Ory in 2014) plays on the existing mythical features of Charles Lefebvre's original designs. French regency remains at the heart and notable carvings, pillars, and rococo decor blend effortlessly with Louis XIV furniture. However, this is far from a museum and there are hints of modernity in some of the newer suites (e.g. deluxe suites) and communal areas.
Staying in the junior suite continues the art deco and palatial themes of the lobby, with access via the grand gilded staircase or a vintage lift.
Louis XIV and art deco classical furniture are amongst precious objets d'art in the spacious suite fit for a king. Regency colours of yellow rose and pale purples are accentuated against silk-lined chairs, Beltrami embroidered linens and Maison Lesage cushions. Rococo details are carefully carved or painted on antique veneered wood to add contrast to the neutral carpets.
The lounge itself is grand and the bed will allow you to experience an unforgettable slumber. Once rested, wake up and draw your curtains for an unforgettable view of the red-awned courtyard seeping with geranium, Virginia creepers and red camellias.
Modernity is available though; order room service from the iPad, work from your smart desk or watch a movie on the flat-screen TV; the hotel truly provides it all. Other great room features include an endless amount of wardrobe space, a marble-clad bathroom glistening with Guerlain toiletries, a rainfall shower and a separate bathroom (which we appreciate when sharing with a loved one). No detail is left out of place; creating a home-from-home experience with the grandeur of a palace guests can also enjoy a turn-down service, twice daily housekeeping, luxury robes, towels and slippers, complimentary newspaper and a butler service.
We simply adored the hotel's opulent gifts on arrival, which included champagne on ice, macaroons, a scented candle and bespoke leather luggage tags.
But what truly sets Hôtel Plaza Athénée apart is its exceptional service. Staff are remembered for their warmth and attention to detail, and endeavour to go out of their way to ensure that you have a memorable stay.
Dining at Le Relais
An evening at Le Relais is a quick trip through the history of the hotel. Dine as the stars have since 1936, with distinguished French cuisine and a fearless menu curated by chef Jean Imbert. The vivacious Imbert, from Brittany, has created ripples in the industry, taking over from Alain Ducasse with dishes inspired by his grandmother. Although young, Imbert has been named one of the 50 most influential people in France and incorporates carefully sourced ingredients from across the country, with some recipes dating back centuries.
Sip on some La Grande Dame Veuve Clicquot by Yayoi Kusama and take in the atmosphere that guests Princess Grace of Monaco, Liza Minelli and Monica Belluci have relished over the restaurant's 87-year tenure.
The interiors maintain classical elements such as antique Breccia marble, stunning candelabras, a Lalique chandelier and alluring original frescoes of Diana the Huntress (Diane Chasseresse).
Our dining experience begins with the scallops with cauliflower and citrus, where the pallet is transported to a world of complex flavours and textures. The sweet and succulent scallops are perfectly complemented by the earthy notes of the cauliflower and the zesty tang of the citrus.
The warm oysters are a must-try. Served in their shell and topped with a rich buttery sauce, they are a true delicacy. And what better way to wash them down than with crisp and refreshing Ruinart champagne?
Moving on to the mains, the filet of beef in brioche with foie gras and dauphinoise is a dish fit for royalty. The tender and juicy beef is encased in a crispy brioche shell, and the rich foie gras adds a decadent touch. And as if that weren't enough, the creamy and indulgent dauphinoise potatoes make for the perfect side dish.
For those who prefer seafood, the lobster spaghetti is an absolute delight. Cooked to perfection, the succulent chunks of lobster pair perfectly with the tangy tomato sauce.
To complete the meal, the wines paired with the dishes were nothing short of exceptional. The 2019 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes (Pinot Noir aged in French oak barrels) is a wine that holds its own against any dish. Its bold and complex flavour profile perfectly complements the richness of the beef and the spiciness of the lobster spaghetti.
From the starters to the mains and the wines in between, every element of the meal is crafted to perfection.
The hotel's amenities are nothing short of extraordinary, starting with the gym which boasts stunning views of Avenue Montaigne. Whether you're an avid fitness enthusiast or just looking to squeeze in a workout during your stay, this gym will have you feeling inspired and motivated.
The Dior spa is another must-visit. The spa offers a range of luxurious treatments designed to pamper and rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.
When it comes to dining, there is something for everyone. The Jean Imbert restaurant offers a taste of ancient French gastronomy, while La Galerie is the perfect spot for a leisurely breakfast, light lunch, afternoon tea or pre-dinner drinks. In the summertime, La Cour Jardin offers a seasonal plant-based menu in the hotel's picturesque courtyard. And for those who love to dine with a view, La Terrasse Montaigne is the place to be.
Last but not least, Le Bar is a modern and sophisticated spot where you can unwind with a cocktail or two. With a Dom Perignon cellar and a chic atmosphere, it's the perfect place to end your evening.
Hôtel Plaza Athénée is the perfect choice for a summer escape to Paris, offering a luxurious and unforgettable experience in one of the world's most beautiful cities. Experience the ultimate in Parisian sophistication and indulge in a world of timeless beauty and impeccable service fit for royalty.
Rates start from €2,200
For more information visit HERE
Hôtel Plaza Athénée
Address: 25 Av. Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 53 67 66 65
Words by Jheanelle Feanny