Relais Christine, Paris
A romantic hotel in the centre of Paris offering five-star respite from the capital’s busy streets.
14 February, 2020
A member of Small Luxury Hotels, this boutique offering feels like a French countryside home in the heart of Paris. A 17th-century townhouse that has been transformed into one of the city's most refined yet homely hideaways, Relais Christine offers a tranquil escape amid the spirited streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Seek refuge in the shady courtyard - the perfect place to recharge after days (and nights) spent pavement stomping in the City of Lights.
The hotel has 48 rooms, each with a unique identity drawn from ornate furnishings sourced by French designers and varying colour palettes of teal, sage green, gold and red. Bedrooms are indulgent - think four-poster beds draped with satin curtains and stacked with cushions, statement embroidered walls and wonderfully high ceilings. Each room has stylish accents such as printed headboards and bold colour-block suede chairs, as well as a retro-style Marshall Bluetooth speaker and perfectly concealed minibar, stocked with French sweets and wine. Some rooms have terraces that look out onto the garden, while others overlook the central courtyard. Even if you sleep with the windows wide open you'd never know you're in the centre of Paris; the nights are peaceful and it's not an impossibility that you will awake to birdsong. Chic bathrooms are all monochrome tiles punctuated by marble and gold accents. Don't miss the accessories - monogrammed towels, robes and a pair of snug slippers. Indulgent doesn't describe the interiors alone; there is a complimentary turndown service where you are treated to chocolate truffles or biscuits from the renowned Angelina tea rooms.
What's for breakfast?
A buffet of freshly baked pastries and baguettes, fruit and cereals, as well as ham, cheese, avocado and so on, is laid out on dressed tables while you sink into sumptuous sofas and armchairs in the breakfast room. You can help yourself to the buffet selection, as well as ordering eggs, omelettes and so on.
How about lunch and dinner?
There is no on-site restaurant, however there's a bounty of choices close by. Brasserie Lipp has been a favourite of locals for generations; it makes the perfect pit stop for lunch to break up a day of exploring. Just a five-minute walk from the hotel is Alcazar. Strung with vines, fronds and palms, it's a twist on the typical Parisian brasserie. Head up to the rainforest-like balcony bar overlooking the restaurant for a digestif.
Is there a bar?
If you're hankering after a pre-dinner drink or nightcap, there's an honesty bar in the communal lounge with a comprehensive selection of spirits (just ask for mixers). Bagsy the chessboard and settle in.
During a recent renovation, the Spa Guerlain was built in the basement under the original domed stone ceilings and pillars of a 13th-century monastery. You can still see the old well that was used in the kitchen.
Things to know…
Bikes are available to borrow and valet parking is complimentary. There is a Fiat 500 S convertible available to hire too.
Within a short walk I can find…
The plentiful history of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter, peppered with one-off fashion boutiques, lively cafés and art galleries. It is only a ten-minute walk across the Seine to some of the most famous sites, such as the Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries. The hotel is perfectly placed for a long weekend of exploring on foot.