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A chic retreat in Paris

Luke Abrahams
·3-min read
Photo credit: Luke Abrahams
Photo credit: Luke Abrahams

From Town & Country

Set in the heart of Paris, Hôtel Plaza Athénée encapsulates what the City of Love is all about – old-school elegance paired with a certain playfulness. This grande dame is unabashedly opulent and luxurious, and has become a favourite address of the international fashion set. There’s a gold-flecked entrance hall, a cocktail bar with eye-wateringly priced drinks, a courtyard filled with verdant plants and two theatrical restaurants that rustle up some of the finest food in the capital. And you will likely recognise its geranium-festooned façade from television shows such as Sex and the City and Emily in Paris.

Photo credit: Hotel Plaza Athenee
Photo credit: Hotel Plaza Athenee

The hotel has strong ties with the legendary fashion designer Christian Dior, who in 1946 established his couture house right next door on Avenue Montaigne. Ever since, Hôtel Plaza Athénée has payed homage to the fashion brand in many ways, from themed teas to art pieces, exhibitions and an entire haute-couture suite filled with a Dior mannequin, books and more. The decor throughout is a charming mix of French classicism – lobbies hewn from marble, huge chandeliers that wouldn’t look out of place at Versailles and antique wood panelling.

Photo credit: Hotel Plaza Athenee
Photo credit: Hotel Plaza Athenee

Courtyard-facing suites are outstanding and offer maximum privacy, but we loved the apartments on the exterior of the hotel, with plush carpets and curtains, vivid furnishings and floor-to-ceiling mirrors. You will also enjoy uninterrupted views of the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur, Arc de Triomphe and the Seine from your own private balcony (breakfast here is a must). In a return to its art deco roots, the hotel recently commissioned Bruno Moinard and Claire Bétaille’s architecture and interior-design agency to completely renovate and restore the seventh floor. Twenty-five brand-new guestrooms are set to be unveiled next year, with linear floor patterns, lacquered furniture and slick lighting.

Photo credit: Hotel Plaza Athenee
Photo credit: Hotel Plaza Athenee

Hôtel Plaza Athénée is also known for its excellent dining options, including the Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée restaurant. At this glamorous gastronomic experience, make sure you try the decadent (and meatless) ‘fish-vegetables-cereal’ trilogy – and come breakfast time, the best eggs you’ll ever taste. The more relaxed Le Relais Plaza, once adored by YSL, is entered from the street or via a corridor decorated with signed photographs from numerous celebrities. The menu is eclectic and theatrical, with the head chef Philippe Marc showcasing hearty brasserie fare, fish and delicious oysters.

Photo credit: Luke Abrahams
Photo credit: Luke Abrahams

Relaxation comes courtesy of the very slick underground Dior spa, perfumed in the fashion house’s signature scent. Book the Dior Prestige grand facial treatment with a sculptural massage that leaves the face looking visibly plumper. For those looking to explore outside the hotel’s walls, some of the world’s most iconic fashion brands (Chanel, YSL, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren to name a few) await your perusal. Grand Palais, Pont Alexandre III, the exclusive theatres and cabarets of the Golden Triangle district are just around the corner, and the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine are minutes away.

Hôtel Plaza Athénée, from about £620 a room a night. For more information and to book, visit