Monday, December 12, 2011

A New Fabulous Reason Why I Adore Paris: The Newest 5-star Hotel in Paris


Le Royal Monceau—Raffles Paris hotel in the Eighth Arrondissement, just opened, very exciting, and every inch of the 1920s building has been brilliantly re-imagined by the great Philippe Starck.

It’s intelligent, chic, witty, and such a fresh and thrilling experience. It’s a few steps from the Arc de Triomphe and the Parc Monceau.



Just back from Paris
Among treasures that make the Le Royal Monceau Raffles-Paris (the official full name) one of my new ‘top’ hotels in Paris:

An entrancing restaurant, La Cuisine; an art library with rare and arcane books; a wonderfully crated selection of contemporary art pieces to acquire; an art concierge, Domoina de Brantes. More about those in a second after I’ve shown you some pictures.

The hotel has lovely, cheerful and professional staff, plus rooms that feel residential and wonderfully inventive. And it is near the upper reaches of the Champs-Elysees.

Oh, and did I say it has a private cinema, so you can show your new film to your pals or a beloved select group (Carine Roitfeld, Catherine Deneuve, Pierre Berge or Jack Lang, for starters?) 


When I arrive and check into a hotel, I want to be swept away to an experience I will never forget. I love a warm and polished greeting at the door, a swift pace from the arrival to my room, and a sense of arriving somewhere I’ve never been before. I want a totally new territory…a dream factory, really.

I can instantly tell if a hotel is well managed and directed—and if it has a soul. And in this case, Raffles management and Philippe Starck, at his best and most mellow and thoughtful, has imbued the hotel with charm, wit, comfort, and a sense of place, a character that's welcoming and not trying too hard to be hip.

It's a new way of being in Paris. Starck’s hand is on every aspect of the hotel—from the chairs in the lobby to the cluster of historic chandeliers above the stairway, to the lighting (magical) and the ‘lovers’ rendezvous’ secluded seating off the main salon. While the images look quite dramatic—in fact the salon and dining rooms could be described as chic cozy.

Love it. 




Le Royal Monceau has a salon/bar/lounge where you could happily linger all day, grabbing the Financial Times, enjoying a bite of lunch, sipping a power drink later, flirting, reading Le Monde and Le Figaro, finding a book to bury in, chatting with some new friends, meeting a lover, more flirting, and later sitting at the Starck-imagined Long Bar as it swings into action.

For fun and poetry and flirting: dial Le Royal Monceau.



Originally built in 1928, Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris had a soft opening last year after undergoing a complete transformation spearheaded by renowned designer Philippe Starck.

His concept is to emphasize the hotel’s connection with the art and film life in Paris. Staff can connect guests in a very ‘insider’ way with cultural events, gallery openings, exhibitions, films, events and museums. Starck curated the photography collection of the hotel—which is dramatic and leads guests to discover new photographers and talent.

The designer has changed the entry, and re-configured the reception (private) and the restaurants, which now overlook a pretty courtyard.

With more suites than any other hotel in Paris, the property features eighty-five rooms, fifty-four suites and ten apartments, each well-thought out and with a hint of Starck’s signature hint of droll humor. 




Intensely focused on art and culture, Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris offers a series of unique amenities designed to spark creativity among guests.

OK, you might not want to take up the acoustic guitar you’ll find near your bed (Philippe Starck thought it would add a sign of life). As Starck noted, there is also a desk that offers multiple scenarios (writing, dining, painting). 



But most intriguingly, the hotel has Paris’ first art concierge

Domoina de Brantes, fully immersed in the art world, has a most helpful site, www.artforbreakfast.com, which lists daily cultural events, films, shows, and art openings.

For me, she mapped out an afternoon of fascinating art viewing. She created a map, proposed a possible route, and suggested options of new shows, a private viewing at a top gallery, and introduced me to new galleries I’d never visited. She’ll find you the newest exhibits, propose an up-and-coming gallery, and send you to neighborhoods seldom visited.

De Brantes will arrange for bespoke cultural experiences and artistic discoveries beyond the hotel. At the adjacent the hotel bookstore that offers more than 700 titles focusing on design, art and architecture she can find books on the exhibits you’ve just seen, or monographs on favorite contemporary artists. This is such a fantastic service at the Monceau. 



Recently I had a little chat with Domoina:


DDS: What special access can you provide to your guests outside the hotel? 
DDB: My role is to be the link between the art and cultural world and the guests of the hotel and to satisfy each guest’s demand. My team and I are working on special packages for guests and our objective is to provide a very unique and exclusive service. For example I can organize for a guest, a private visit of an exhibition that is taking place in Le Centre Georges Pompidou.


DDS: Have new technologies affected how guests can interact with you? 
DDB: I am really lucky because the service of Art Concierge is totally new and therefore the guests of the hotel are very interested in meeting the person in charge of this service. And everyone can see the art and cultural activities of the hotel, some recommendations from the Art Concierge and also some interviews from artists specially done for the Royal Marceau’s blog, www.artforbreakfast.com.


DDS: What are some idiosyncrasies about your destination that visitors should know?
DDB: I am a fan of street art. So I recommend to travellers who come to Paris to go and have a look at the street art spots of the City of Lights. There is one that I particularly like in the 11th district of Paris, which is called “Le mur”. Every two weeks a new poster measuring four metres by eight meters is done by a local artist. This is at the corner of the rue Saint-Maur and rue Oberkampf. 


Creativity: I love this sense of life and art at Le Royal Monceau
Recently there was a show of Dennis Hopper’s work at the hotel. Or the art concierge will lead you to the most discussed contemporary art. Showcasing four major installations annually, the gallery encourages open dialogue among artists in tune with the world at large.

Art concierge, Domoina de Brantes

Contact Domoina at domoina.debrantes@raffles.com or check on www.artforbreakfast.com




On the Menu
Paris is the total exception to the adage ‘never dine in a hotel restaurant’. Many top hotels (Costes, definitely, and Plaza-Athenee, Crillon, Meurice, Raphael, spring to mind) have an atmospheric restaurant where dining is superbly presented and Parisians make up most of the clientele.

Le Royal Monceau leaps forward to first among many—with Pierre Herme as the patissier, and a fabulous ‘casual/dressy’ La Cuisine (The Kitchen) restaurant, where you can gather at a long table for lunch, or snuggle in a private banquette for a romantic dinner.

I was so impressed with the freshness and modernity of the ultra-seasonal fresh menus at La Cuisine restaurant. Everything on the menu is what you want to eat that very day, that moment. Dishes are classically inspired-but arrive at the table looking inspired, beautifully presented, high on flavor and visual delight. I dine there even when I’m not staying at the hotel. I met my friend Jean-Louis there, and he loved it.

You might want to dash over to the hotel for brunch on Saturdays (until noon)…or for lunch (until 2.30) on Sundays. 


Here are some selections from the Royal lunch on Sundays:
I’ve gone a bit overboard with the following menus…skip over them if you are not interested in Paris dining (Hah!)

Sweet …

La Boulangerie: A selection of Pierre Hermé Paris breads and viennoiseries (croissants, Ispahan, pains au chocolat), Kouign-amann cakes, Kugelhopfs, pumpkin muffins, seasonal fruit tarts.

Seasonal fruit salad, plain or with juice.

Smoothie shooters: The “Energizer”—low-fat or regular yoghurt with orange juice, banana, strawberries and honey; the “Relaxer”— strawberries, mangoes, bananas, guava nectar and coconut extract.

Sublime deserts by Pierre Hermé Paris: Miss Gla’Gla, the “instant millefeuille,” waffles and crepes prepared to order, Tarte infiniment caramel, Ispahan, and Pierre Hermé’s classic.

And savory …

Dairy/ Laitiers: Organic yoghurt, ripened cheeses, relishes and chutneys, fromage frais or faisselle, plain or with fines herbes and pepper.

From the farm: Eggs to order

Selection of salads: Classics and more. The traditional Caesar; the Pommé (mango and green papaya, walnut oil and sesame); organic endives with Roquefort and chestnut honey; mâche and duck foie gras croutons. 





La Cuisine restaurant
Saturday:
Breakfast from 7am to noon (€45)
And from noon to 2:30pm (€69)

Sunday:
Royal Brunch, Sunday from noon to 3pm (€95)

Reservations: 01 42 99 88 00


For lunch or dinner, for the winter season:
BRITTANY CRAB
Seafood jelly, avocado cream, emulsion of warm Royal
29.00 €

DUBLIN BAY PRAWNS FROM SCOTLAND
Served on a salad of autumn vegetables, Paris button mushroom marmalade
35.00 €

HERRING FILLET MARINATED IN OLIVE OIL
Charlotte potato salad, baby onions and pickles
23.00 €

HOMEMADE DUCK PÂTÉ WITH CRUST
Barolo vinegar preserved shallots, mesclun salad
25.00 €

From the sea: 
CASSEROLE OF MONKFISH MEDALLIONS
Potato and shellfish stew, gratinated razor clams, mortar-mixed green herb
41.00 €

ROASTED SEABASS
Polenta, black olives and dried tomato condiments
45.00 €

STEAMED FILLET OF SOLE
Spinach, Paris button mushrooms, shrimps and potatoes Arbois wine sauce
43.00 €

From the land:
GRILLED “ANGUS” BEEF FILLET
Chartreuse of offal meats, romaine salad, souffléed potatoes, beef jus
55.00 €

ROASTED RACK OF LAMB FROM “LOZÈRE”
Autumn vegetables with garlic butter
47.00 €

ROASTED MILK-FED QUASI OF VEAL FROM “LIMOUSIN”
Turnips, carrots, baby onions, blanquette sauce
45.00 €


The Genius of Paris Patissier, Pierre Herme
Pierre Herme is the patissier at Le Royal Monceau—and that would be one great reason why I love this hotel. Pierre Herme is the genius patissier whose Left Bank shop on rue Bonaparte I visit almost (well, almost) every day when I’m in Paris. That’s where I buy Ispahan pastires with rose petals, and his wonderful white truffle divine macaroons (in season), and the passionfruit macaroon.

Pierre Herme makes the most wonderful Mille Feuille pastries—that you can custom design, with pistachio crème and fresh fruit with crisp crunchy carmalized pastry.

Here’s a recent menu of deserts at the hotel:
ISPAHAN
Rose ice cream, litchi compote, raspberry sorbet, two macaron biscuits
15.00 €

MONTEBELLO
Pistachio ice cream, strawberry sorbet, two macaroon biscuits
15.00 €

INFINIMENT CHOCOLAT
Pure origin Madagascar dark chocolate sorbet, Nougatine with small pieces of cacao beans, fleur de sel, Pepper from Sarawak, two chocolate macaroon biscuits
15.00 €

Signatures:

ISPAHAN
Macaroon biscuit, rose petal cream, raspberries and litchis 16.00 €

CARRÉMENT CHOCOLAT
Tender chocolate cake, rich chocolate cream,
Chocolate mousse and chocolate crisp, thin sheets of crisp chocolate
16.00 €

TARTE MAUDE
Shortcrust pastry, roasted peaches and crème Chiboust with caramelized cinnamon 16.00 €

TARTE INFINIMENT VANILLE
Pâte sablée, white chocolate and vanilla ganache, Soft biscuit moistened with a vanilla infused clear sauce And vanilla mascarpone cream
15.00 €

CHEESE - CAKE MOZAÏC
Pâte sablée, tender pistachio cheesecake, Morello cherries and Morello compote, Pistachio cream with a cream-cheese base
16.00 €

Also on the Menu: (sorry…wish I had pictures of all them to show you. You’ll have to go to the restaurant to try them yourself.)

ECLAIR CHOCOLAT
Choux pastry, chocolate crème pâtissière
15.00 €

UNE SURPRISE
Crunchy meringue, vanilla mousseline cream Soft biscuit with toasted almond slivers Strawberry and exotic fruit marmalade
16.00 €

BABA AU RHUM
Brioche dough moistened with old agricultural rum, Chantilly cream
16.00 €

ICECREAMS & SORBETS
Ispahan / Mosaïc / Glace envie
12.00 €


The Spa
I must say, confidentially, I am not a spa groupie nor a spa junkie. Not at all. Other than the Hammam treatment at the Royal Mansour Hotel in Marrakech (more about that in a future post) I seldom spend time in hotel spas, or any spas for that matter. Boredom sets in after about two minutes. (Make that one…). 






Le Royal Monceau has the largest swimming pool of any hotel in Paris. That I could go for.

Starck created an ethereal white retreat/spa of luxurious simplicity.

Definitely a great way to relax. 


The Bookstore
“La Librarie des Arts,” the bookstore of Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris is the first and only bookstore in a Parisian five-star hotel dedicated to not only contemporary art but also architecture and design. La Librairie des Arts has on its shelves more than 700 contemporary works, rare objects (photography books, limited editions, etc.) and meticulously chosen multiples. 



Marie de Jacquelot is the brilliant bookstore manager of Le Royal Monceau — Raffles Paris. 


Raffles Hotels & Resorts: Raffles Hotels & Resorts is an award-winning, luxury international hotel company with a history dating back to 1887 with the opening of Raffles Hotel, Singapore. The portfolio currently comprises nine luxurious properties, from secluded resorts to chic hotels in key locations around the world: in Singapore, Cambodia, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles and Paris, each one is an oasis of calm and charm. The company is embarking on a new phase of expansion, with openings in Istanbul, the Maldives, Indonesia, the Philippines and China scheduled over the next two years. Every hotel in the Raffles group has its own personality and story, and Le Royal Monceau is a one-of-a-kind.


Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris 
37, avenue Hoche 
75008 Paris
Tel 01 42 99 80 24

www.raffles.com/paris/
Images: All photographs courtesy of Raffles, and used with express permission.


15 comments:

vicki archer said...

All I can say Diane is lovely, lovely and more than lovely... My next trip I am trying this gorgeous hotel.... xv

Ragland Hill Social by Gwen Driscoll said...

Amazing & just dreamy! You have my dream job my friend!

Concrete Jungle said...

Street art in Paris...what fun! I'm off to read art for breakfast...

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

HI VICKI-Thank you! I suggest even a lunch or a lovely evening drink at the Monceau would be an experience.
One thing I also (among many) love about the hotel is that it is in the 8th...a neighborhood I'm not as familiar with but want to explore. So it throws me into the middle of the 8th--near the Parc Monceau and the wine shops and elegant boutiques of the neighborhood. Delicious.

Hi Gwen--I am fortunate that my work gives me the opportunity to meet accomplished and fascinating people. I was impressed that Domoina the art concierge, for example, suggested viewing street art! I'd asked about the Gagosian Gallery (and went there) and another private gallery--and she recommended, the perfect counterpoint--to head over to the more distant and vivid area. I loved it. The art concierge is a totally brilliant idea. I took a decorator friend to lunch at the hotel--and we lingered for hours in the book shop, and he bought a small art piece by Anish Kappor. Great.

Hello, my dear Concrete Jungle, the lovely Heather--of course, your blog image is you in the Tuileries, so you are rather partial to Paris. Yes, really, art for breakfast. Great concept.
I love the idea that a Paris art specialist can translate what you want to see--the top shows (they'll figure out the best times to go, book tickets) and will know which galleries are really happening, who is new, what is going on at the Centre Pompidou.
It gives you a boost, gives you confidence and purpose. I love it. Free service for guests of the hotel.
cheers, DIANE

Grant K. Gibson said...

Makes me want to jump on a plane for Paris RIGHT now!


grantkgibson.com
grantkgibson.blogspot.com

Lynne Rutter said...

ooh i am intrigued by the "librarie" as part of the hotel! I have to say every hotel that Philippe Starck designs is wonderfully (if barely) lit, and where most hotels, even posh ones, have hallways as boring as dry toast, Starck makes a real experience out of just going to your room.
What a great find, thanks for sharing it!

Greet said...

What would we do without you Diane! You share with us all the latest high society news around the world!
The hotel is amazing!! And so is Philippe Starck!
xx
Greet

quintessence said...

WOW!!! What an incredible review - so totally enticing for eye, mind and spirit!!

Susan Jamieson said...

Tres Bien!

peggy braswell said...

What a grand post + made me want to visit that hotel immediately. xx peggybraswelldesign.com

honeybeeandmeonline.net said...

I LOVE PARIS AND WILL FILE THIS AS THESE ARE AMAZING..
I LOVE RENTING APARTMENTS WHEN I TRAVEL OVER HOTELS, AS I LOVE TO COOK, AND IT FEELS MORE RELAXING AND I FIND I SPEND LESS TIME SHOPPING, WHICH THESE DAYS ARE A WELCOMED THING ON MY PART...
HAVE YOU EVER DONE A WRITE UP ON THE AMAZING APARTMENTS IN CITIES ALL OVER THE WORLD, SOMETIMES FOR A FRACTION OF THE COST WITH MORE ROOM AND THE ABILITY TO COOK YOU OWN FOOD, USING YOU OWN LOVE AND ENERGY, WHICH IS INFUSED INTO THE FOOD...


XOXO
M

Brillante Interiors said...

I stayed there in the past and it was a great Hotel, now it must be a SUPERB one. Thanks Diane for such an insider report with fabulous images. I wish you all the best for the Holidays and for a splendid New Year!

A Super Dilettante said...

My dear, I'm utterly dazzled by this post! Food, style, interior, elegance, art..it's most insightful! I love the hotels you selected for us. I feel completely uplifted. Whenever I read your blog, I've always felt that I'm in good hands. Yes, we can rely on your impeccable taste!! Many thanks.

john massengale said...

Ooh la la! We rented an apartment in Paris designed by Starck http://bit.ly/vvstarck

Valerie Wills Interiors said...

Oh my goodness, I have been so busy lately that I hadn't been reading much.... I've just read this wonderful piece Diane. All of my favourite details packed into one delightful hotel: .... Philippe Starck (as you say, at his most mellow and thoughtful), a book store and art concierge (wow) and last but not least, the menu!!!

I'll have the monkfish and a glass of Chablis please. Great great post. Thanks you!