Hotel Plaza Athenee – Paris, France
If you want to do Paris right (and really, is there a wrong way?), we suggest snuggling up in a Prestige Suite at Hotel Plaza Athenee for a long weekend. The ultra-luxury hotel is in the heart of the haute couture district — Christian Dior, Chanel, Valentino, Max Mara and Ferragamo are all there (be sure to ask the concierge to arrange private fittings from the shops in your suite). Our accommodations were literally over Harry Winston and it was fun to imagine all of the amazing jewels downstairs.
The hotel is also just a few blocks from the busy Champs Elysees. The reality is, however, that Hotel Plaza Athenees Prestige Suites are built as apartments and we found ourselves perfectly content to sit and sketch and read fashion illustration books on an oversized couch for the better part of our stay. Apart from the very large living room there’s an oversized bedroom and a boudoir-style bathroom with a large tub and lots and lots of gray-veined white Carrara marble. (To get the vibe of the hotel check out the “Sex in the City” film where Carrie Bradshaw flings open the French doors of hotel room to all the wonders of Paris.
The hotel is also shown in “The Devil Wears Prada”; its truly Paris glamour at its best).
We did venture out one evening for a meal at L’Avenue, at 41 Avenue Montaigne; it has chic outdoor seating and a sultry scene inside (think red velour banquettes and bistro tables). On our return, we experienced the ultimate wow when we opened our balcony doors and looked to our right. There, the Eiffel Tower twinkled away in full view in the evening sky.
Note: This is guaranteed to make the most jaded traveler go weak in the knees.
Our Prestige Suite was swell for two and could have accommodated more. Eighty percent of the rooms at the hotel connect; just ask for the variety of configurations. Going all out? Opt for the Royale Suite; it has four bedrooms.
Jeremy Bieuron, deputy director of sales, can answer questions regarding VIP guests. Head Concierge Jerome Poret and his team can assist with the aforementioned private fittings from designer shops and other exclusive shopping experiences. The hotel is run by Francois Delahaye, who is also the COO of The Dorchester Collection.
Note: Book at least two months prior to spring and fall Fashion Weeks (Check for dates here: fashionweekonline.com). Private helicopters can land at Paris XV; private jets at Paris Le Bourget, 30 minutes from the hotel.
Dior at Hotel Plaza Athenee has six treatment rooms and should be booked at least a week out. The director of the spa, Melina Pourcel, can arrange unique treatments, such as the Dior Skin Analyzer. There’s also a new “tissue massage technique” which is part of the personalized “Prestige Grand Facial Treatment.”
The hotel is known for its exclusive dining: Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee has three Michelin stars; La Cour Jardin and La Terrasse Montaigne are open in spring and summer and are the places to see and be seen in Paris. In winter, La Cour Jardin becomes an ice rink.
For an all-out exclusive experience, book the new “Secret Dinner” at the hotel; every first Saturday of the month through December 2017, famed French magician Stefan Leyshon will present a dinner show in the Haute Couture Room. He is the youngest magician to be admitted to AFAP (the French “Magic Circle”). Dinner is prepared by Chef Alain Ducasse’s team for tables of two to 10 people.
Going to Paris soon? On December 15, the hotel’s lobby will house the first ever Dior Couture Christmas tree.