Hotel des Grands Boulevards: super chic Paris hotel from the group behind Experimental Cocktail Club
This oasis of mid-mod calm just off one of Paris’ busiest streets opened in 2018, the second hotel from the Experimental Group (proprietors of the super-chic Chinatown speakeasy, Experimental Cocktail Club).
It’s a mid-priced and lively lifestyle hotel, with 50 simply appointed but lovely rooms.
Where is it?
Set in Paris’ bustling commercial district, the hotel is just a 15 minute walk from the flagship Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann — a mecca for anyone hoping to do some serious luxury goods shopping.
The 2nd arrondissement is not as tourist-heavy as the heart of the city — but has plenty of pretty boulevards to stroll, and is also home to some excellent restaurants (frequented by actual Parisiennes). My favourite was Brasserie Dubillot (Rue Saint-Denis), a bright and buzzy eatery where the service is impeccable and the French classics (think steak and frites) are taken seriously. It’s only 10 minutes on foot from the hotel. Be sure to book or be prepared to wait on the street for a table.
Also just 10 minutes away is Paris’s oldest working patisserie, Stohrer (Rue Montorgueil), which is a lovely place to stop for a croissant.
Designer Dorothée Meilichzon — founder of cult interior design agency CHZON — was tasked with taking French glamour and making it appropriate for a cool, urbanite clientele. As a result the whole hotel — from the rooms with their delightful canopy beds to the sultry red Shell Bar — strikes a careful balance between luxe and low key.
The downstairs bar/ restaurant area in particular — housed in the courtyard, but covered by a retractable glass roof — is a lovely space to while away a few hours: mid-mod furniture and arched doorways make everything feel curved and tactile, and the herringbone, red brick floor and mass of green ferns sprouting from the top of the bar, give the whole place a warm and inviting feel.
They’re all uniform, in terms of the lovely decor (all come with canopy beds), but at 14 or 15msq, most are on the small side (well, it is Paris). Opt for an Eaves room if you can, they’re slightly bigger and (the name gives it away), are up in the eaves of the building — it all feels very Emily in Paris.
Food & drink
Breakfast is simple but elegant. Breads, cakes, homemade granola as well as French cheeses, compotes and honey (eggs are cooked to order). As always, the produce in France is so good that it needs little adornment — although, in reality, it’s probably worth heading out for your petit-déjeuner. Service in the morning is slow, and given the wealth of outstanding patisseries on your doorstep, it seems a shame to wait around.
The hotel’s all day-dining restaurant serves Franco-Italian dishes and during my stay I saw the Friday daytime crowd (sipping coffee on their laptops), be replaced by dressed-up and ready to party revellers in the evenings and then again by the bustling weekend brunch crowd — all seemed at home in the space. Arranged around the central bar, it’s clearly a destination for Parisiennes as much as it is for hotel guests. Dishes are Italian classics, refined for a French sensibility (think suckling pig stew over pasta with pecorino and tarragon).
The two hotel bars — The Shell, downstairs and The Shed, on the rooftop — are also a draw for the city’s well-heeled, which makes sense given the Experimental Group’s expertise in the area. The Shell is a tiny, scarlet speakeasy, with a spectacular copper bar and low-slung armchairs and stools. The shell theme is a nod to Marie Antoinette’s love of decorative shells, which gives you an indication of the vibe. Think, pre-revolutionary excess.
It’s Pareee! Just walking around the city of lights feels magical. If you’re in town to shop, Le Bon Marche is one of the world’s best know (and chicest) malls — a curated mix of high and contemporary fashion emporiums, as well as homewares. Or there’s Merci, a one-stop for younger, cooler, more disruptive brands.
Spotting your Parisian counterpart as they get ready for a night out. The hotel bars and restaurant attract a cool crowd of locals; perch on a stool with one of the uniformly great cocktails at about 7pm and see where the night takes you.
Hotel des Grands Boulevards room rates start from £200 excluding breakfast (€22); grandsboulevardshotel.com