Hotel Lutetia is an artist’s hideaway wrapped in affordable luxury and a strong tradition that will leave you feeling like a true Parisian as soon as you stroll sans fanfare into the quaint 1910 marble lobby.
By Michael M. Clements
WL TAKE: Hotel Lutetia is the Left Bank’s only historic four-star deluxe hotel offers an experience apropos to the art-rich history of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood. Currently celebrating its 100th anniversary, the hotel, like a fine French wine, has aged gracefully. You would be hard pressed to find a more masterfully maintained and functioning modern-day reflection of the Belle Époque and Art Deco periods. To step through the hotel’s revolving wooden doors is to transport back to an era when Saint-Germain-des-Prés was the world’s cultural heartbeat. The neighborhood still has a strong creative pulse – fashion designer Kenzo Takada owns the penthouse unit directly across from the hotel. The property houses 300 original art works, including a Philippe Hiquily-crafted humidor shaped as woman’s body in the Ernest Bar, paintings from Theirry Bisch’s “bear cub” series, and sculptures by Max le Verrier. But the pièce de résistance is the signature suites designed by world-renown artists such as the sculptor Arman whose rooms features whimsical musical and African arts themes.
LE ROOMS: Lutetia incorporates this cultural provenance into each of its 260 rooms. Recently, the hotel’s four Rontonde Suites were transformed into mini art galleries showing works of four internationally renown photographers. Aside from locking yourself overnight in the Louvre, this is as close as you’ll get to living in a gallery. The South American Suite was our favorite – the photograph of Marilyn Monroe drawn with melted chocolate is deliciously decadent, just like the view of The Eiffel Tower from the bed. C’est romantic! Avant-garde guests should book the rather scandalous but ingeniously modern seventh floor suite. For those who can’t live without their modern connections and enjoy a touch of frugality – the wifi is free and fast. Suites run about $500 a night in peak season.
LE LOCATION: Nestled in the heart of one of Paris’ most fashionable districts and within walking distance of the river Seine, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral and numerous delightful boutique shops and designers’ studios.
AU RESTAURANT: An array of dining choices are tucked away neatly on premises. For night owls, The Ernest Bar and The Lutèce Bar are both well-known local haunts for live jazz and premium whiskey and cognac (we hear that Gérard Depardieu is a regular). The cozy A-list Le Paris Restaurant is home to Michelin star chef Philippe Renard. It offers contemporary French cuisine in a Belle Époque setting. Meanwhile, the lively and iconic Brasserie Lutetia received a make over by Slavik and fashion icon Sonya Rykiel. It’s a must-try Parisian brasserie in an area teaming with dining options. Each establishment has a unique identity and strong reputation with both Parisians and visitors alike. Tip: Order a bottle of champagne the hotel commissioned especially to commemorate its 100th anniversary.
LE SPA: At Le Spa by Monmasseur you can arrange a drink and spa treatment (US$90) or brunch and treatment ($270) package, among other creative combinations.
See more photos here.