Intimate Paris Honeymoon Hideaway
December 16, 2021
Photos courtesy of
Words by Susan Moynihan
There’s no better way to enjoy Paris like a honeymoon insider than by checking into one of the city’s new boutique hotels, set in the most intriguing areas of the city.
This Italian hotel company earned a cult following with their chic outposts in Florence, Rome and Capri, and after a five-year search, they chose Paris for their first international debut. Set in a former European consulate on quiet Rue de Lille, just two blocks from Musée d’Orsay, the 29-room hotel was worth the wait. Their bespoke Italian design (think handmade king beds and sumptuous fabrics) combines perfectly with French eclecticism for a one-of-a-kind space that is a delight to the senses, where every corner has something to draw the eye. Think Chinoiserie wallpaper next to cushy upholstered chairs, en suite marble fireplaces flanked by stately wooden cabinetry, and reclaimed mid-century furnishings and objets d’art sourced from Parisian flea markets.
As a writer, I especially love the intriguing collection of art and fashion books, stacked on tables and bookshelves all throughout the property, making it feel much more personal and reflective of the brand’s chic clientele. The underground level hides a Sisley spa and a heated indoor lap pool – a rarity in Paris, let alone at a property as small as this. Dining comes from the first international branch of Miami’s Casa Tua, which features cozy Northern Italian dishes like risotto pomodoro, homemade burrata and tuna tartare dolloped with caviar. The hotel is aiming to launch a river boat this summer for private cruises along the Seine. No wonder it’s already been named on the “It List” by Travel & Leisure and “Where to Travel in 2020” by Vogue.
Paris’s 8th arrondissement is home to iconic grand-dame hotels like Hôtel Plaza Athénée and Four Seasons Hotel Georges V, which makes the boutique Grand Powers feel even more special – like a hidden gem in one of the most elegant parts of the city. Set in a landmark Haussmann building, the century-old hotel underwent an eighteen-month, multimillion-dollar renovation before reopening in 2019. The Art Deco-meets-modern vibe is both timeless and romantic.
Oversized rooms feature original crown molding and marble fireplaces, headboards in glossy lacquer or romantic velvet, and curved divans placed by oversized windows, creating an apartment-like vibe that you don’t want to leave. Second and fifth-floor rooms have balconies, including some with Eiffel Tower views. The jewel-size pink lobby bar makes excellent cocktails, and Café 52 restaurant puts a creative twist on café food – I’m still craving the roasted beet and pomegranate hummus. The intimate sub-floor Thala Spa offers a hammam, Jacuzzi and Dermalogica treatments…a nice treat after a day of exploring. The combination of style and discreteness has made it a go-to for musician and fashion types who want to stay under the radar in the heart of the Golden Triangle, just steps from Avenues Montaigne and Champs-Élysées.
Tucked in the Marais district, Place des Vosges is Paris’s oldest planned square and considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe. The 17th-century buildings lining it feature vaulted arcade-style walkways housing an eclectic array of shops selling everything from modern art and jewelry to specialty tea by Dammann Frères. There’s no better way to enjoy the area than by checking into Cour des Vosges, a new 12-room hotel from Parisian hotel company EVOK.
The entranceway is discretely tucked behind a stone archway; if you didn’t know it was there, you would walk right by it, and that’s exactly the point. There is no lobby, just a small secretary desk for a brief check-in before you head up the marble staircase to the guest rooms. Befitting a historic building, each room is unique in shape and style. Room décor is both modern and timeless; details such as stainless-steel headboards contrast beautifully with original features like terra cotta floors and centuries-old painted ceilings, while king beds topped with cushy duvets and standalone soaking tubs give modern luxury. I couldn’t keep my eyes from the many windows that overlook the square, providing a unique glimpse of the historic square’s beauty. (Cour des Vosges is the only hotel on the square, so is the only place you can get this view without being in a private home.) Downstairs on the basement level is a spa-style Roman bath, bookable by guests for private use. The on-site tea room provides breakfast, lunch and dinner and award-winning pastries from master patissier Yann Brys. The end result is a hotel experience that is intimate, timeless and totally Parisian.
Okay, this one isn’t new; the beloved 28-room hotel opened in 2004, but recent renovation makes it feel new again and keeps its reputation as the place to stay in artsy Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The hotel is set in an 18th-century private townhome, newly refreshed with custom fabric walls, patterned rugs and overstuffed furnishings done in soothing grey and white hues. The result is a calming and eclectic oasis in the heart of the city, in a neighborhood favored by artists and writers including Sartre, Hemingway and Picasso. I especially love the top floor Prestige Room or the larger Penthouse Suite, both accented with whitewashed timber beams and each with a private terrace overlooking Saint-Sulpice, Paris’s second-largest church.
As beautiful as the environs are, it’s the service that makes Esprit Saint Germain so special. Two cozy living rooms, each with its own honor bar (just write down what you sip and they’ll charge it to your room), invite you to relax any time of day or night. Early evening is a great time to mingle with other guests as the staff offers cocktails by the fire (try the signature St. Germain Spritz), before heading out to nearby restaurants or jazz clubs recommended by the hotel’s owner. Even the gym is a delight; tucked on the sixth floor overlooking Parisian rooftops, it has an elliptical machine, two-person sauna and is booked in one-hour periods per guest, so you can work out in private. Though it only has 28 rooms, the hotel has won every award in the book, including “Top 10 Paris Hotels” from Travel + Leisure and “Top Luxury Boutique Hotel Worldwide” by Luxury Travel Advisor.