my passport is scanned and credit card swiped at check in, I
overhear a woman who is seated at the far end of the lobby (and
speaking rather loudly), excitedly report home that the Brach is “achingly cool”. As I
will soon discover, she is entirely correct in her gleeful
Fusing eco and mid-century furnishings with Oceania-style
art,Philippe Starck’s upscaling of this former postal sorting house
gets an indelible stamp of approval. The overall aesthetic is one
of casual luxury. Each public space has its own custom scent,
furnishings are rich and varied in texture – ranging from shearling
to eucalyptus and buttery leathers. For Starck fans who favour the
designer’s flashier traits, rest assured – his trademark quirks are
not entirely muted. With a ritzy polish – and his signature
dripping candelabra melting in the foyer – nods to his bold design
aesthetic are omnipresent.
When the card beside the bed says “dial 12 for the patisserie”
you know you’ve chosen well. A narcissist’s delight, your
jewellery-box room is flanked with mirrored walls and offset with
slabs of wood and marble rectangles, creating an upscale jigsaw
effect. A rich colour palette of toffees, greys and buttermilk
complement the beautiful African artwork which lines the upper
enclaves of the room. With a variety of seating options – will it
be the camel-leather chair, the hand-beaded stool or
cowhide-covered chaise today? – space is maximised, aided by a
floor-to-ceiling window and high ceilings. Glass partitions quarter
off the bedroom from the shower room – complete with exposed-stone
sink and underfloor heating – and a walk in wardrobe-cum-minibar.
An assortment of treats from Le Maison du Chocolat, Ridley’s Games
Room sets (backgammon, checkers and so on) and Beats by Dre
headphones stock the shelves in the well-stocked bar. Pour yourself
a pre-mixed drink by Avantgarde Spirits Company as you dress for
dinner – No Seven: The Vesper (a wine-based aperitif with gin and
vodka) slides right down.
What’s for breakfast?
Admittedly, we spent more time surveying the collection of jugs
and oddities on display than perusing the menu. The XVI at €25
covers all the basics – from OJ and yoghurt to eggs and pastries in
a paper bag (great for an on-the-go elevenses) – but it’s not the
most thrilling you’ll find in Paris. Best to go for the simple and
modestly priced “Parisian” at €7 for coffee or tea and sackful of
How about lunch and dinner?
Executive chef Adam Bentalha heads up Restaurant at Brach.
Serving small plates and Mediterranean-influenced dishes, expect
light and healthy food from this street-facing brasserie. For
dessert, choose form an extensive selection of patisseries
harboured behind a glass cylinder. The tarte au citron has our name
on it while the tiramisu is made for sharing.
Is there a bar?
Before heading to Paris‘
more centralised haunts, pause for a drink on the first-floor
terrace. Guests have exclusive access to the mezzanine, bedecked
with halogen bulbs, oversized flower pots and heaps of seating
A whiff of chlorine precedes the sub-terra Sports Club. An
impressive sweat pod, at Brach a trip to the gym is an upscale
affair – staff kitted out in Le Coq Sportif set the tone.
Galvanised lockers and terracotta walls complement a well-curated
selection of leather gym equipment displayed throughout the
reception. Post workout, head for a swim or skip straight to rest
phase of your exercise regime in the XXL jacuzzi.
On the first floor, you’ll note a children’s party room at the
end of the corridor. Filled with pastel-hued balloons, jelly sweets
galore, crates of coca cola, colouring sheets and freshly baked
treats – our Peter Pan syndrome is on the rise.
Things you should know
Check-in is on the first floor.
Within a short walk you’ll find…
Not far from the Trocadero – if it’s your first time to Paris
we’ll allow a brief viewing of the Eiffel Tower (strictly for
bucket-list purposes). Off the beaten track, Bois du Boulogne is a
vast park housing the Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Longchamps
race track. Head to the former for contemporary exhibits and an
equally beguiling exterior designed by Frank Gehry.