A Love Letter to Hôtel Plaza Athénée
Photo: Philippe Derouet for Hôtel Plaza Athénée
The hotel is one of the grandest and most romantic in Paris, even if you don't have romance on the brain.
PARIS – When I told a French friend that I was going to Paris, he asked me where I was staying. Hôtel Plaza Athénée, I told him. "Phoooo," he exhaled through puffed up cheeks and puffed out lips, the way French people do. "I hope you're taking your boyfriend with you." When I told him, no, I was taking my mother, he shook his head. "Oh no, no, no, Gabriella, when you get a room at the Plaza Athénée, you must take your lover."
I knew the hotel was going to be something special, but I don't think I fully understood the level of taste and beauty that awaited me (and my mom). The lobby made the first impression: intimate and understated, with plush flower arrangements, marble columns and a sparkling chandelier; a palette of red, gold, and wealth. I expected that the room would be similarly old school in its decoration. But when we entered, I was surprised to see a suite decked out in beautiful art deco furnishings in a shades of dusty purples and grays, with the kinds of heavy armchairs and sofas covered in gorgeous cut velvet upholstery with lacquered-wood arms that one would expect to find on a luxury ocean liner.
That wasn't all. In the bedroom and the living room were two picture windows with head-on views of the Eiffel Tower. When we woke up in the morning, it was there, shimmering in the early sunlight. When we went to bed at night, it was there again, shimmering with its crackling light show, reminiscent of a New Year's sparkler writ large.
That we had an exquisite meal at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée on the ground floor; that one of France's most important pastry chefs prepares the afternoon tea; that he also makes the pastries for breakfast, served on footed silver platters; that we were taken on a tour of the wine cellar, which culminated in flutes of champagne and tartines (some with foie gras, another with black truffles, another yet with Spanish jamón); that this hotel is on the most fashionable street in the most fashionable city in the world (or at least the street where all of the fashion houses are) — these are some of the images and moments of beauty and prestige that spill forth when I think of the hotel now.
That, and how I happy I was to have shared it with my mom.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
Hôtel Plaza Athénée
25 Avenue Montaigne
Rates: From 715 € /night.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
See our slideshow for an inside look at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée (Facebook)