Tuesday, February 2

HOTEL REVIEW: The Five Star Meurice Hotel in Paris, a Pampered Visit to the City of Lights

photographs in Paris by Gabby Stephenson
228 rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris, France
We Had A Wonderful Opportunity, 
An Invitation To Stay At One of Paris' Finest Hotels 
During Paris Design Week

a pair of greyhounds greeted us, 
the hotel's signature logo 
Upon our arriveal, my daughter and I took 
in an early morning sunrise on the balcony.
We arrived in Paris at 5:30 am on a Friday morning, and the hotel immediately checked us in, then quickly brought us a beautiful and delicious breakfast.  We pinched ourselves as we watched the sunrise over Paris on our cozy balcony, while sipping the most delicious cup of coffee.   At the Meurice, the lobby is grand, the appointments luxurious and elegant, including superb linens and rich architecture.  The service is equally stellar, beginning with an elaborate daily breakfast, a cornucopia of our favorite foods, and of course, served with rich French butter and homemade fruit jams.  World class chef Alain Ducasse's restaurant is just downstairs, and his dark chocolates were left on our bed upon arrival.  We also liked the bathroom toiletries from Querces by Panhaligon, a favored brand. If this first morning was any indication, our trip to Paris and our stay at the Meurice was promising a once in a lifetime, memorable experience.  We were guests of  PromoSalons, the owners of four French trade shows happening simultaneously in Paris this week, and together with the French government they invited us to experience and write about the French's high quality affinity and talent for creating luxury design.  We traveled with the Comité Colbert, a collaborative of 75 French luxury brands helping to foster and promote luxury living. Lucky for us, the Meurice is a member, and we stayed as their guests.  The hotel is one of Paris' most historic hotels, and a seven story landmarked building perfectly poised in a tony neighborhood, walking distance to the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde.  The story gets better from here, 
so please read on...  

We became giddy to find out 
that back in the day, 
Coco Chanel hosted glittering receptions 
in the hotel's salon.  
Alaine Ducasse's new restaurant at the Meurice
 The History, 
a Hotel for Kings and Queens
I learned the Meurice has a deeply rich history, and opened its doors for the first time in 1711 in Calais to accommodate upper class British travelers on their way to Paris.  After renovations, the hotel opened to the current site in 1835.  Soon, the hotel drew the likes of Queen Elizabeth, composer Tchaikovsky, the King of Spain, Alfonso XIII, the Prince of Wales, King George VI, The Sultan of Zanzibar, The King of Montenegro....to name a few and earning the hotel its nickname, The Hotel of the Kings (The Hotel des Rois). With its new fine appointments, the hotel hosted many elaborate dinner parties.  Another nickname for the hotel was the "City of London" due to the English speaking staff and the many British visitors. 

The Louis XVI decor has been relished by many, and the hotel became a refuge for many Kings and Queens during times of turmoil in their countries.  Years later, it is reported that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt frequented the hotel as well.  Artist Salvador Dali became a regular at the Meurice, living at the hotel at times, and there are legendary stories of his sometimes bazaar behavior.  There has been a long literary connection to the hotel as well, with the literary set staying as guests on a regular basis. Then, of course, the celebrities followed -- Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher, Ginger Rogers, Richard Burton, Liza Minnelli, Rudyard Kipling and so many more.  Through many renovations, the final one being in the year 2000, the hotel has been restored to its original architectural splendor and considered a fine French palace, and today is part of the Dorchester Collection of hotels.  

 The French Spoiled Us,
 Americans in Paris

a champagne cocktail at the bar set us 
on our way to explore the streets of Paris
Decoration and Design of the Meurice:
   The surprises never end at the Meurice, and we learned the gorgeous lobby ceiling was painted by architect and designer Philippe Starck's daughter, Ara. In 2007, Starck himself revamped the lobby and public areas.  The mural depicts the value of heaven and four statues symbolizing the seasons. In 2008, Charles Jouffre, drapery designer of the Grand Foyer at the Opera Garnier, was invited to redecorate the hotel's guest rooms in order to retain the hotel's eighteenth century elegance.  Today, many say that the Meurice is one of the finest decorated hotels in Paris with its mosaic floors, hand-carved moldings, cornices, columns, antiques from Sotheby's and Christie's, paintings and silk passementerie and drapery. We had a tremendous experience, and we would wholeheartedly recommend staying at the hotel.  It may be priced above the average travel budget, but for a big splurge, it is certainly worth it because a stay here leaves you feeling like royalty with the world class service, friendly and accommodating staff, fastidious details and beautiful appointments.  The Meurice has earned its five star rating with panache, and we dream of returning one day.

Happy Nesting
XO Tamara
 Ara Starck hung the painted canvas
 under the restaurant's glass dome.