Hotel Lutetia, Paris

Hotel Lutetia, Paris

opening in 1910 for Le Bon Marché’s most-prized clients,

Hotel Lutetia
has been making both the anonymous and the famous
feel très important. Bygone years saw notorious members of the
arts, sciences and political spheres mingle freely in this
ostentatious Left Bank hotel – and today the crowd is just as

Entering by way of tulip-head rotunda, inside, beguiling
surrounds fuse art deco and art nouveau architectural elements with
contemporary design – think high-varnish woods, neutral tones and
Parisian metro tiles. A lesson in how to do gender-neutral design
right, there is an equilibrium throughout Hotel Lutetia that is
unparalleled elsewhere in Paris.
Natural light pours in from all directions with the assistance of
porthole windows and floor-to-ceiling openings, while Hotel Lutetia
is also the heaviest hotel in Paris – apparently something to do
with those Statuario-marble bathtubs…


Pierre Bergé (the co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent couture
house) was a resident here for five months and director David Lynch
was another notable Lutetia habitué – his suite on the first floor
is a lot brighter and lighter than you’d expect. Still, if such
esteemed guests aren’t recommendation enough, Lutetia’s generously
sized rooms are sure to solidify your choice. Soft, contemporary
and elegant in atmosphere, rooms liken a slick Parisian apartment.
Brushed-oak flooring, touch-screen room controls, sliding doors
(which create a sense of segregated space) and Murano-glass wall
lights elevate already suave surrounds. It’s the Statuario-marble
bathroom that is the real quencher, though: heated floors, Hermès
amenities and a Dyson hair dryer on standby.

What’s for breakfast?

Take breakfast “à la Française” in the Orangerie from 7am.
Choose from a range of a la carte standards or prey on the
impressive buffet options – Le Lutetia is the simplest and includes
fresh fruit juices, breakfast pastries and seasonal fruit tartlets,
as well as a choice of cereals and artisanal yoghurts and cheeses.
Alternatively, opt for L’Américain, which builds on the above by
adding eggs your way (soft boiled, scrambled, poached, sunny-side
up or omelette) accompanied by two side dishes – we recommend the
veal sausages and sauteed mushrooms.

How about lunch and dinner?

At the brasserie, chef Gérald Passedat’s famous seafood recipes
take centre stage. Working his Michelin magic on
Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Mediterranean dishes are presented on
eucalyptus-wood plates and complemented by a dining space bedecked
with Jean le Gac’s graphic portrayals of notable diners. A popular
spot on the Rive Gauche, the brasserie extends to mezzanine level
(so no need to worry about nabbing a table). Modelled on The Sea
Bar at Grand Central Station in New
, this one seats 10 and offers a tasting menu at €85 per
head. Sitting within the Brasserie Lutetia, feast on dishes such as
oysters with aloe vera, cucumber and horseradish condiment or
zucchini tortellini. Avocado and mango cake is among the riskier
desserts on offer.

The Saint Germain, headed by Chef Benjamin Brial, is open from
breakfast to dinner, but regardless of mealtime, the ceiling is a
major talking point. The dining room’s historic glass roof has been
enhanced by the contemporary work of artist Fabrice Hyber, who
emblazoned his childhood heroes – including Santa and Michelin Man
– across an otherwise subdued but stylish space. Wrap-around
seating and lipped headrests create a sense of seclusion for guests
looking for a private but relaxed dining option. With a focus on
sharing and contemporary French cuisine, highlights include the sea
bream with Jerusalem artichoke mash, nashi pear, hazelnuts and
lovage and the squash risotto with pickled girolles, tandoori and
ma khaen berries yoghurt. Scrimp on starters but splurge on
dessert, opting for the hibiscus-poached pear with herbal foam
and/or the crispy meringue topped with kalamansi cream and mikan
yuzu sorbet.

Is there a bar?

Yes, there are two. Joséphine’s boasts floor-to-ceiling
art-nouveau frescoes and a heart-stopping white negroni (vermouth
blanc, dry vermouth and Italicus). Sink onto a leather couch at the
former for an intimate tête-à-tête. However, solo drinking seems a
perfected art form here, with street views of city strollers and Le
Bon Marché shoppers to lap up. After dark, this Jazz Age legend
really takes hold with bespoke cocktails and a glitzy

The Bar Aristide is more discreet in its pursuits. Hold court
with friends in the library-style setting, a fine spirit and cigar
in hand, courtesy of the intuitive smoke sommelier. Operating on a
first-come, first-serve basis, this is more of a place for a
rendezvous. Ring the bell and pray there is a table.


Spa AKASHA takes a holistic approach to wellness. Luxuriate in
the 17m pool, sweat it out in the red-lacquered gym or sip on a
detox beverage before your meditation session.

Each of its six treatment rooms come well stocked with Carita,
Cellcosmet & Cellmen and Aromatherapy Associates. Down the
hall, coveted hairstylist Christophe Nicolas Biot’s salon
specialises in plant-based hair colouring and barber services.

Things you should know

Set up your laptop in the library, positioning yourself near the
call bell for round-the-clock attendance – and chocolat chaud on
tap. Gym buffs can choose from four complementary daily classes –
abs class starts at 7.15am. For non-hotel guests, gym membership is
available at an annual rate of €7,000.

Within a short walk you’ll find…

Should the mood strike shoppers, Le Bon Marché is just across
the street. A leisurely stroll is rewarded in the wonderful wares
at Astier de Villatte on Rue de Tournon – a 13-minute walk from
Lutetia. Be sure to grab a snack or lunch box from Cojean for the

– it’ll ease the bitter taste brought on by leaving