There is something so particular, individual and enchanting about a Parisian hotel that is unlike anywhere else. Walking through the revolving doors into a large Parisian hotel is like entering another world; the crystal chandeliers, the paneled and gilt embellished walls, the antique furniture and the formally suited employees is the formula for a classic scene. The French hotel is all about the sounds and the scents; it is the hushed tones of guests talking business, it’s the clink of glasses as friends toast to their catch up, it’s the click clack of heels as the elegant sashay across the wide expanses of marble and it is the floral scents and the candles that tickle the nose.
For the price of a coffee (probably the most expensive coffee you may ever drink) the hotel opens its doors and their world becomes yours – Parisian glamour first hand. The lobby is the heart and soul of the French hotel and the place to people watch; this is the place to contemplate fashion trends, to study up on interiors, to learn the art of the table and to try and soak up the Parisian accent. If you are a committed Francophile like me this is the most perfect way to spend a morning. I love to take note of simple things like furniture arrangement; I look for ideas in the soft furnishings and the colour combinations, for if nothing else the French are brave and only too happy to push boundaries. I take note of the porcelain, the glassware and the linens and the way the food is served; styling and presentation are immaculate. Parisian hotels are famous for their resident florists. A walk into the major hotel lobbies in Paris is like taking a floral class with the best of the best. One rule applies when arranging flowers de la mode francaise; one variety and lots of them.
The luxurious Parisian hotel bedroom is all about brocade quilts, Egyptian cotton sheets and thick pile carpet. The walls are covered in rich damask paper, the sconces are capped with petite silk lampshades that cast a rosy glow and the furnishings are finished with a hint of gold. The curtains are fringed and heavy and the windows double-glazed to block out the sounds of the scooters changing gears as they burn up, down and around the rue outside. The bathroom is all about marble, a quarry load of marble – marble shower, marble walls, marble floor and marble bath surrounds. Thick and chunky sheets of veined marble give a dramatic solidity to the space. The taps and the mirrors are chrome and oversized; everything is bold in the bathroom. Scented soaps, potions and lotions are aplenty as are the thick white towels stacked above the bath. Room service is the very definition of discretion and served with downcast eyes firmly focused on the tray. The table is laid up just as beautifully in the bedroom as in the restaurant – silver, porcelain, linen and flowers. Delicious concoctions from the Michelin starred kitchen direct to your door and no need to frock up and make-up.
If I could be lost for a day it would be here in this Parisian paradise with room service at my fingertips, a fluffy white bathrobe as my couture and glamorous French decor as my friend… xv