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Los Angeles Editor, JustLuxe | Eric The Epicure

Mandarin Oriental Paris Entices Guests With an Essence of Art & Fashion

Jul. 23rd, 2012 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment   
Photo Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Paris
Paris is filled with breathtaking 18th- and 19th-century buildings, but even rarer treasures from the early 20th century are scattered throughout the city. Opened just last summer in one of them—a heritage-listed eight-story building from the 1930’s—the Mandarin Oriental shook up Paris’s luxury hotel scene with a more understated aesthetic elegance than many of Paris’s grande dame hotels.

The hotel takes its inspiration from an intoxicating mix of modernity and opulence from the Art Deco movement, as well as the fashion history of the ever-upscale rue St. Honoré, upon which the hotel is situated and which has always been the home of Paris’s most fashionable boutiques. This ultra-luxe aesthetic comes through in the understated platinum and jewel-toned purple palette, as well as the plush fabrics and sparkling crystals used throughout and dark-finished wood fixtures in both the public areas and the guest rooms.

Jean-Michel Wilmotte oversaw the historic building’s renovation with landscape-design agency Neveux Rouyer, who created an idyllic interior courtyard garden where guests can enjoy cocktails from the bar or a meal from Camélia. Sybille de Margerie of SM Design conceived the interior of the rooms and non-restaurant public spaces, always with an eye toward haute couture.

The lobby has two signature installations. One is an eye-catching bronze figural sculpture entitled “Air” by artist Nathalie Decoster that presides over reception. The other is the hotel’s iteration of Mandarin Oriental’s symbolic fan. Each hotel in the group creates its own unique version, and this one was specially commissioned by Maison Lesage, who used velvet, leather, vintage sequins, pearls and colored butterflies (the butterflies are this particular property’s mascot of sorts). The project took over 200 hours of work and uses two distinct styles of embroidery.

The hotel has just 99 rooms, starting at a sizeable 350 square feet (downright palatial by Paris standards) and 39 suites including seven duplex suites on the top two floors. Like the public areas, the palette in the bedrooms is a mélange of metallic gray, rose, mauve, plum, silver and touches of gold leaf and ecru. Our Deluxe Room came with a lavish king-size bed, two built-in wooden closets, a wall-mounted Bang & Olufsen television and a sizeable work desk overlooking the garden.

The enormous bathrooms are white marble and white-silver-black mosaic tiling. They include separate WC’s, dual vanities, and an Asian-style shower-bath suite with views over the street or the garden, and wall-mounted televisions over the bathtubs so guests can catch up on the day’s news while having a soak. The hotel stocks très typique Parisian toiletries from famed parfumeur Dyptique, which you can find just on the other side of the Seine in St. Germain des Prés.

The hotel’s fine-dining restaurant is the two-Michelin-starred Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, a white-on-white nest of tranquility in which just 40 guests per night can experience tasting menus of eight or twelve dishes of the chef Marx’s classic repertoire of beguiling textures, ingredients and techniques, ensuring an unhurried, personalized, memorable evening.

Guests and non-guests alike gravitate toward Camélia, a more casual all-day restaurant, which has tables both in the garden as well as in a Nordic-chic interior dining room where the booths are surrounded by petal-like installations calling to mind the restaurant’s namesake. Lunch might include dishes like handmade ravioli stuffed with fresh-caught Brittany lobster in a fava bean puree accompanied by a crisp, minerally Sancerre.

Diners can order dessert from the adjacent Cake Shop, a tiny patisserie counter purveying pastry chef Pierre Matthieu’s gourmandizes, such as the eponymous Le Mandarin with 62% dark chocolate mousse, vanilla crème, spongy chocolate cake and a chocolate ganache crust; plus a bright yellow lemon tart with hazelnut paste and a sweet crust. For a more casual tipple, visitors can veer to the left of the lobby to Bar 8, an intimate space decorated in tones of warm brown, black and dark wood, as well as Lalique crystal “droplets” inlaid upon the wooden walls.

Below the ground floor, the hotel boasts a two-level spa with a small fitness center, an indoor pool and seven spa suites including three double suites, all with their own steam shower and private changing room for an individualized experience. Guests are greeted in a small reception area where their shoes are removed and replaced with slippers while they are given a quick pre-treatment consultation and served a glass of soothing tea. The facial therapies here incorporate products by the famed house of Guérlain, a French hallmark since 1828.

Whether guests come for a massage to recover from an all-day shopping binge along rue Saint Honoré, an exclusive dinner out courtesy of one of France’s most celebrated chefs, or simply a luxurious place to sleep in one of Paris’s most desirable neighborhoods, the recently opened Mandarin Oriental Paris has already made its mark as one of the city’s top hotels.
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