Read the USAToday: Paris Guide here, or see the partial copy below
From funky, boutique chic to frugal and functional
Paris might just be the easiest major city in the world to navigate, and every neighborhood has its own charm, so you don’t have to be too picky about where you’re your hotel is located. However, we recommend the Right Bank closer to the Seine for those who want larger rooms and the glitzier part of the city and the Left Bank closer to the Seine for those who want to spend time discovering old world charms.
The splurge — French designer Andrée Putman has constructed “spaces of peace” with calming, often transcending colors throughout the architecturally showy 26-room boutique Pershing Hall Hôtel. A color scheme of bisques, coppers, almonds and wheats give way to chocolate browns, lilacs and sage greens; a 100-foot-tall botanical garden of 250 plants seems to flow like a waterfall inside the courtyard. Highly recommended is room 37, a junior suite that looks down on the interior garden, yet has a fabulous view of the sky above. Amenities include all the usual goodies and high-tech wonders (for example, Wi-Fi), that come with a four-star hotel, plus a free minibar with champagne. Caution though: This Right Bank hotel will thin your wallet (rooms from 390 euros to 1,000 euros. 49 rue Pierre Charron, 75008; métro: Franklin D. Roosevelt; 33 1 58 36 58 00; www.pershinghall.com.
A sweet hideaway — How does one transform a Left Bank two star into a four star? Keep the original exterior Haussman façade, gut the inside and then hire designer Paul Sartre (who redesigned the famous La Mamounia in Morocco) to wave his magic wand. The result is the 25-room Hôtel Le Walt, which mixes all the amenities of a grand luxury hotel with the charm of a boutique hotel. The private Manet garden, exquisite restaurant, Italian parquet floors and oversized, oil portraits that hang over the beds combine with the cool chrome sink and glass surfaces in the bathrooms to offer sheer chic. The staff focuses on your every comfort, quietly and kindly. Same-day laundry, 24-hour room service and Internet connections are just some of the amenities available here. Rooms from 240 euros to 310 euros. 37 avenue de la Motte Picquet, 75007; métro: Ecole Militaire; 33 1 45 51 55 83; www.inwoodhotel.com
Everybody’s talking about — The Right Bank, eclectically funky Murano Urban Resort offers 43 rooms and nine suites (two with private terrace swimming pools) for those who ache for the high life. Designers Christine Derory and Raymond Morel whipped up a feast of the über aesthetic with the lobby’s 20-foot, rock fireplace, completely dark halls with only small black lights on the doors to indicate the Italian-named guest rooms (there are no numbers here), and all-white minimalist rooms with lights you modulate to fit your mood. The Anne Sémonin spa-stocked chrome bathrooms are pieces of art. Technological amenities include the Bang & Olufsen DVD player (DVDs available for rent at the front desk), free ADSL and a pay-by-card Wi-Fi system. The hotel will debut a spa in the spring. But all this luxury comes at a price: Rooms from 350 euros to 2,500 euros. 13 boulevard du Temple, 75003; métro: Filles du Calvaire; 33 1 42 71 20 00; www.muranoresort.com.
Euro-friendly— The 57-room Hôtel La Manufacture is tucked among the secret nooks and grand buildings of the Gobelins neighborhood in southern Paris. Walking into the lobby feels more like you’re entering a very big apartment building to visit French friends rather than a hotel. Raffia, wood, warmth and space confront you, along with original artwork by Alberto Cont (think Peter Max in the 21st century). The rooms are sweet and intimate, with furniture made exclusively by designers from England, Spain and Germany. Highly recommended is room 71, with its quaint view of the Eiffel Tower over the Paris rooftops. Prices from 125 euros to 278 euros. Business amenities include Wi-Fi (and satellite TV for those down times. 8 rue Philippe de Champagne (avenue des Gobelins), 75013; métro: Place d’Italie and Gobelins; 33 1 45 35 45 25; www.hotel-la-manufacture.com.
Boutique chic — The 42-room Montfleuri Hôtel offers the burgundies and browns of French Traditional mixed with modern amenities (including Wi-Fi). Each room is decorated uniquely, with a lovely flair for elegance. Luxurious high thread-count Frette linen greets you, as do stylishly colorful fabrics from designer Pierre Frey. We recommend room 22. Not only is the plasma television as big as the one in the lobby, but the view of the Arc de Triomphe, just 250 feet away, is magnificent. Prices for this Right Bank beauty range from 210 euros to 340 euros, so this is not a four-star that will break the bank. 21 avenue de la Grande Armée, 75016; métro: Etoile; 33 1 45 00 33 65; www.montfleuri.fr.
Like home — At the Hôtel Esprit Saint Germain on the Left Bank, you can have the savoir-faire of a four-star hotel with more intimate service. The hotel’s goal is to make guests feel like guests in someone’s home, so most of the extras you’d pay for in a grand hotel are free, including the drinks at the bar and spa. You can’t go wrong renting any of the 31 rooms here, but highly recommended is the Prestige room 502, with 17th-century wood beams, thick, luscious velvet materials and a large terrace that overlooks Saint Sulpice church. Triptych mirrors and Italian Etro toiletries fill the bathrooms. Prices from 235 euros to 705 euros. 22 rue Saint Sulpice, 75006; métro: Saint Germain des Prés; 33 1 53 10 55 55; www.espritsaintgermain.com.
French luxury — The Villa d’Estrées is a masterpiece of a small four-star boutique hotel with 12 huge rooms all sporting king-sized beds, plush pull-out sofas loaded with downy pillows, ADSL and pretty Moroccan-tiled bathrooms. Every chair, settee, curtain and wallpaper strip is unique. The lobby has the feeling of a Parisian brasserie from the 1800s with unexpected twists, i.e., black and white Marrakech tiles to complement the black molding on the ceiling. Father and son owners, Robert and Yann Chevance, and their English-speaking staff are friendly enough to pack up and take home. This hotel is a must for those who love the tiny, historical streets of the Left Bank Latin Quarter. Prices from 200 euros to 300 euros. 17 rue Gite-le-Coeur, 75006; métro: Saint Michel; 33 1 55 42 71 11; www.villadestrees.com.
A recommended favorite — The 40-room Hôtel Britannique is the best bargain three-star luxury hotel to be found in the center of Paris. Completely renovated with all the electronic necessities a businessperson could ever want, including Wi-Fi for work and a flat-screen TV for relaxing. As well, there’s an impressively comfortable lobby for reading the newspaper, with reproductions of William Turner paintings all around. There are no “bad rooms” in this hotel; some are old French quaint (room 67 is enchanting), while others are as classic as a Mozart concerto. Highly recommended (think honeymoon or spoil-yourself) is the junior suite with its three huge double-paned, flower-boxed windows, two deluxe bathrooms and an insanely comfortable, huge bed. You’re within easy walking distance of Notre Dame, the Louvre, BHV department store, Hôtel de Ville and the Marais. Prices range from 130 euros to 280 euros. 20 avenue Victoria, 75001; métro: Chatelet; 33 1 42 33 74 59; www.hotel-britannique.fr.
Opulence — A few blocks off the Champs Elysées, the four-star, 52-room Hôtel de Sers awaits. The owners spent 11 million euros to create a state-of-the-art inside while retaining the “bones” of the private residence, which was constructed in 1880 for the Marquis de Sers. The curving stairwell is a remnant of the 19th-century mansion. The lobby’s high ceilings have the original moldings. The calming bedrooms all have lavish high thread-count linen and Wi-Fi. Haute Right Bank prices range from 390 euros to 1,050 euros. 41 avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, 75008; métro: George V ; 33 1 53 23 75 75.
A five-star location — The Left Bank, three-star, 40-room Hôtel du Danube (once a private mansion from Napoleon III’s empire) has an Oscar-winning location in the center of St.-Germain-des-Prés on swank rue Jacob, and a stay here costs way less than it should. Except for the less expensive standard rooms, which offer a more modern flair, the other rooms offer antique furnishings and an eclectic style. The traditional, quaint rooftop rooms have beds under sloped, beamed ceilings. And there are larger apartments that face a calming courtyard. All rooms have cable TV and direct-dial telephone with data port; complimentary DSL Internet is available in the lobby. Friendly manager Severin Ferrand inspires loyal clients to bring goodies, such as homemade brownies from America. Prices from 110 euros to 220 euros. 58 rue Jacob, 75006; métro: St.-Germain-des-Prés; 33 1 42 60 34 70; www.hoteldanube.fr.
Historically cultural — La Villa Hôtel was the heart of the jazz culture in the last century, hosting the likes of Miles Davis and Duke Ellington. Unfortunately, the jazz club closed, but the hotel is still a favorite with low-key celebrities like Spike Jonze. One of the first Left Bank hotels to have furniture designed specifically for its 31 rooms, La Villa Hotel features leather headboards, swag curtains, stone and glass bathrooms and room numbers projected from the ceiling to the foot of your door. This is not a hotel for the view or the room size (unless you get a junior or deluxe suite). Nevertheless, the complete renovation and charismatic staff make this a smart stay. Located on one of the best streets on the Left Bank. Prices from 240 euros to 440 euros. 29 rue Jacob, 75006; métro: Saint Germain des Prés; 33 1 43 26 60 00; www.villa-saintgermain.com.
Frugal and functional — Years ago, writer S. J. Perelman described the lovely Hôtel des Bains as a bohemian walkup. This quaint one-star hotel has breathtaking views over the Montparnasse rooftops in southern Paris and an elevator to get to its 23 rooms, which is practically unheard of at a one-star. Dial-up Internet only. If you’re looking for luxury, you won’t find it here, but you will get more than you pay for. Reserve a room overlooking the courtyard. Prices range from 76 euros to 137 euros. 33 rue Délambre, 75014; métro: Edgar Quinet; 33 1 43 20 85 27.
Wired for business — A block east of the American Embassy in the center of Paris, only a few paces from the breathtaking view at the Place de la Concorde, the Sofitel Le Faubourg offers 174 rooms and 19 suites, conference facilities, secretarial service, in-room dual-line telephone, data ports, voice mail and a fitness center; high-speed internet is also available. Two 18th- and 19th-century mansions have been joined together to form the library of this hotel. Prices range from 230 euros to 550 euros. 15 rue Boissy d’Anglas, 75008; métro: Concorde or Madeleine; 33 1 44 94 14 14; www.sofitel.com.
Not a two-star at all — Nestled in the non-touristy 5th arrondissement in south Paris, two blocks from the Jardin des Plantes and the Seine, is the family-run, recently renovated Hôtel Devillas. The two-star, 40-room hotel is elegantly designed, immaculately clean and offers excellent service and charm at prices that can’t be beat. The 8-euro breakfast is a feast of fresh croissants, pastries, yogurt, cereal and orange juice. There’s even an elevator, another unusual feature for a two-star. Wi-Fi is available in every room. Prices range from 79 euros to 115 euros. 4 boulevard Saint Marcel, 75005; métro: St.-Marcel; 33 1 43 31 37 50; www.hoteldevillas.com.
Go on, you’re worth it — Ed Tuttle, an American architect famous for his work with the Amanresorts, designed the interiors of the Right Bank Hôtel Park Hyatt Vendôme, which opened in August 2003. The room to book at this lush, 188-room paradise is a fifth-floor double with views of the Place Vendôme. This is one of the most classically beautiful hotels to open in Paris recently. The hotel offers pamper-me bathrooms and wonderful surprises at every turn. There’s a spa and gym, and the pastries are from the most famous pastry shop in all of Paris, Ladurée. Modern, understated elegance with superb electronic everything is available for your pleasure. Prices range from 600 euros to 4,000 euros. 5 rue de la Paix, 75002; métro: Tuileries; 33 1 58 71 12 34; www.paris.vendome.hyatt.com.