Part of the esteemed Dorchester Collection, a huge refurbishment project closed the Hotel Plaza Athenee for 11 months in 2014, transforming it into one of the most glamorous and luxurious addresses in Paris. Originally opened in 1913, the Athenee has an incredible history and over the years has provided a sophisticated Parisian pied-a-terre for a fashionable set of household names, including Christian Dior. I could wager that Plaza Athenee’s rooms are the most comfortable in the city, and with balconies opening out to jaw-dropping, close-up views of the Tour Eiffel, tree-lined Avenue de Montaigne and flower-filled inner courtyards, Hotel Plaza Athenee is the perfect romantic escape for a weekend away in the city of love.
Art-deco balconies, overflowing with red geraniums and shaded by red awnings, give the Plaza Athenee its iconic façade and make it one of Paris’s most recognisable buildings. The hotel’s location, just steps from the Seine and close to a selection of wonderful theatres and high-end couture boutiques, is fantastic for a those wanting to be within walking distance of the city’s top sites and restaurants.
Whilst there’s an air of old-world glamour and tradition about the opulent interiors and first-class service that guests will experience at the Athenee, there’s nothing stuffy or dated about the hotel at all. I love the combination of sumptuous antique furniture, charming staff and personable concierge, along with all the modern-technology you could wish for on a spoiling city break.
Rooms vary in size and décor, but all are very spacious and feel as if they’ve been plucked straight from Versailles. Some of the most stunning features of the hotel include the grand staircases, marble floors, sparkling chandeliers, carved wooden panelling, vast portraits, intricately detailed carpets and sash windows with delicate silk curtains - drawn to the side to frame dazzling city views. Hotel Plaza Athenee management places the utmost importance on comfort and there’ll be no shortage of fluffy white towels, soft dressing gowns and slippers to cosy up in after a day of sightseeing. Families can stay in connecting rooms and the concierge assists in arranging excursions to delight all ages.
World-renowned chef, Alain Ducasse, heads up the Plaza Athenee restaurant, which is one of the most spectacular in the city for haute-cuisine, service and ambience, with 3 Michelin Stars to its name. Drinks and dinner can be taken in the flower-filled courtyard in the warm summer months, or in winter an ice rink is installed for a romantic skate before dinner by the fire.
Don’t miss a spoiling afternoon in the Dior Institut spa. Whether you’re enjoying a specialist treatment or relaxing by the pool and sauna, it’s a heavenly space and feels very exclusive.
Every time I explore a new destination, whether it’s on an adventure holiday in Peru or a luxury beach escape in the Indian Ocean, I return home full of excitement to share the amazing sights I have seen. Through my own experiences I have developed a love of helping others experience the great wonders of the world; truly getting under the skin of the extraordinary destinations that are at your fingertips. Getting the details right, from which hotel is perfectly located for exploring away from the crowds, to which local guide is most knowledgeable on history or culture or art, is of paramount importance to me. I am constantly seeking out new and exciting experiences and exploring off the beaten track to ensure my clients are receiving the best and most honest first-hand advice.
Take a look at my travel diaries for food for thought on your next trip...