TOO Hôtel, Paris, France

TOO Hôtel, Paris, France

Million-dollar Paris views from sky-high, Philippe Starck-designed bedrooms that represent great value for money? The 13th arrondissement’s brand-new TOO Hôtel is worth shouting about from the rooftops

at architect Jean Nouvel’s Tours Duo, an audacious new
landmark for the French capital, we’re reminded of what they say
about eyebrows: they should be sisters and not twins.
Complementing, rather than mirroring, each other, the glossy
skyscrapers are the third-tallest in Paris (after the Eiffel Tower
and Tour Montparnasse) and at the top of Duo Two, taking up floors
17 to 24, is hotelier Laurent Taïeb’s just-opened TOO Hôtel – a
celestial urban eyrie putting the lesser-known 13th arrondissement
in the spotlight.

This isn’t a crash pad for those hoping to find mini,
made-in-China Eiffel Towers and macaron shops on their doorstep –
the beltway between inner Paris and the banlieues is a grittier
proposition than that. But the neighbourhood is not without its own
brand of buzzy beauty. Elegant old buildings rub shoulders with
tower blocks, neon art-filled food courts, thrift stores and sleek
startup compounds. Chinatown is here, with its open-all-hours Asian
groceries and eateries, and so, too, is the Bibliothèque Nationale,
France’s main library, set within four gleaming towers designed to
resemble open books. Should you wish to browse designer boutiques
or take a selfie at the Trocadéro, however, you only have to grab a
city bike and a 15-minute ride along the Seine’s Left Bank will
bring you to Paris’ more typically postcard-worthy attractions (as
will a short hop on the Métro).

The Tours Duo Towers
Vista over Paris at TOO Hotel

Paris’ new skyline addition, and views from a TOO Hôtel

Hitting the kind of collaborative sweet spot not seen since
Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot first locked eyes, the
Tunisian-born, Paris-raised Taïeb and French interiors powerhouse
Philippe Starck have together created a genuinely new proposition
for guests – one that, with its its globally influenced,
finger-on-the-pulse vibe and surprisingly accessible price point,
disrupts the city’s traditional hospitality offering. The
antithesis of Taïeb’s first hotel, the 2021-opened Madame Rêve – an
ornate, loved-by-the-fashion-set, velvet-draped reimagining of the
former Louvre Post Office – the decor here sees Starck riff on a
dreamy interplay between earth and sky. Our key card might be made
of bamboo, but the walls in the pavement-level lobby are raw
concrete; the bank of elevators in which both hotel guests and
desk-bound office workers ascend are space-age, but the ingredients
forming the backbone of the menu at the breathtaking 27th-floor
restaurant are largely organic (and give a new – quite literal –
meaning to the expression “haute cuisine”).

The hard part? Deciding what to do first: 10-seater outdoor
Jacuzzi by night, the whole, glittering City of Lights at your
(wet) feet, or dazzling sky-high bar – already a destination in its
own right. Bonnie and Clyde energy? TOO Hôtel brings it.


This is not Philippe Starck’s first rodeo. Across all 139 rooms,
in what the designer has described as “a castle floating above
Paris”, an uplifting palette of cloud-like creams and sunset
oranges reflects the pièce de résistance panoramic views afforded
by the vast windows. Natural materials like wicker, wood and
hessian provide a counterpoint to polished chrome accents. Beds are
precisely angled to offer the best views on waking – coucou, Eiffel
Tower – though touch-of-a-button black-out blinds will please light
sleepers (and those who overdid it the night before). High-spec
binoculars are provided for spying on the world below, alongside
Starck-designed weights and an illustrated exercise card to assist
in honing Bourne-like biceps. Lime-green, alien-like statement
lights illuminate bathrooms generously stocked with Le Labo’s
addictively fragranced Santal 33 products.

We particularly love the little animals – a mountain goat, a fox
– etched on clear acrylic panels and mounted in unexpected corners
of our room, and the brilliant-white robes – themselves as soft and
fluffy as a forest creature’s pelt.

What’s for breakfast?

Watching a pair of daredevil window cleaners in action 27 floors
above Paris, platform swaying gently, as you bite into a second
croissant spread liberally with Président butter and apricot jam?
It adds a certain frisson to le petit dejeuner. A sumptuous buffet
covers all bases, from nuts, raisins and goji berries to cheeses,
cold cuts and smoked salmon and dill sauce, with hot options
including scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon and tomato. Only have
eyes for the carbs? Take your pick from artisan breads, traditional
chocolate baguette, warm pastries and an array of cakes of the kind
we’re told French women don’t eat (they do). Plus, coffee. Good

Lunch and dinner

TOO Restaurant – a sophisticated glass cube with an amber-hued,
stickle-brick-esque ceiling, backlit, faux-ponyskin-upholstered
chairs and outsized contemporary murals by Pierre Monestier gracing
the interior wall – undoubtedly serves up a feast for the eyes, but
this is no case of form over function; the belly is equally
well-indulged. Executive chef Benjamin Six – also behind the
acclaimed F&B at Madame Rêve – brings the spoils of his years
working at the likes of Zuma, Bangkok, and Joel Robuchon, Monaco,
to a crowd-pleasing east-meets-west menu. Standouts include
scallops crudo with yuzu jelly, black pepper soy sauce and caviar,
a note-perfect aubergine miso, and a darkly unctious wild mushroom
hotpot crowned with a whole 3g of truffle.

Want to dine in bed? Thanks to the hotel’s entente cordiale with
Uber Eats, guests can order from four tried-and-tested local
restaurants and have their meal delivered direct to their room.
Just scan the QR code and voilà!

A dish at TOO Restaurant Paris
The restaurant at TOO Hôtel Paris

An east-meets-west menu is served in the opulent TOO

Is there a bar?

At 135m above street level, the buzzy TOO TacTac Skybar is one
of the city’s highest, and its 150sq m panoramic terrace, one of
Paris’ largest. Inside, a digital installation brings the walls to
life with a fantastical, ever-evolving landscape – one minute a
wet-nosed Alsatian, tongue lolling, the next, a kaleidoscopic light
show – while the world-class bartenders are at your service till
2am daily. Table bookings are available exclusively for hotel


In-room, there’s everything the savvy traveller could hope for:
fast WiFi, mini-fridge, pod coffee machine, huge TV, centrally
controlled audio/lighting/air-con and luxurious bedding. There are
also four modular meeting rooms, capable of hosting events for up
to 75 people, and a chic, nature-inspired spa, TOO Chill, where the
smart Ulé products do what they say on the tin via brilliant
express massages and plumping facials. Med-evoking
chartreuse-coloured floors meet powder-pink accents in the three
treatment rooms and glass-walled gym, while a custom-made cedarwood
sauna and outdoor Jacuzzi take R&R to new heights.

What are the hotel’s eco-credentials like?

The hotel was built to satisfy the most stringent environmental
criteria – and has the certificates to prove it. On a day-to-day
level, all the usual best practices are in place, from sustainable
food sourcing to an only-on-demand laundry service.

What about accessibility?

All floors of the hotel and specific rooms are suitable for
people with reduced mobility.

What’s the crowd like?

In a word, gorgeous. Pack like you’re a rising star of French
arthouse cinema or a top international DJ.

Within a short walk I can find…

An ephemeral array of street art. To see the best of it,
including work by mixed-media superstar Jo Di Bona and loads of
tags by women artists, venture through moody underpasses and muddy
car parks on a Fresh Street Art Paris tour.

Things I should know

Fallen for the hotel’s edgy neighbourhood? Watch Paris, 13th
District, a collection of vignettes featuring fleeting encounters
and modern relationships shot in black and white, written and
directed by French film veteran Jacques Audiard.

The Lowdown

Doubles cost from £190 a night on a room-only

Ready to head to Paris? Jump on the Eurostar from London’s St
Pancras for city centre-to-city centre ease, a generous baggage
allowance and a clean conscience – the carbon footprint from one
flight is the same as making 13 Eurostar journeys. Upgrade to the
Business Premier service and you’ll have full use, pre-travel, of
the swish lounge, with food, drink and magazines on tap, followed
by champagne and a three-course, Raymond Blanc-designed meal en
route. | From £276;

Views across Paris from Parc de Belleville

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