Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris

Emyr Thomas visits the Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris, one of the finest luxury hotels in Paris.

With its red geraniums and signature red awnings, the Plaza Athenee Paris blooms with elegance and glamour on the beautiful avenue Montaigne.

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On entering the lobby, you are immediately aware of a discrete, stylish operation, oozing with charm from every corner with a team of friendly, dedicated and highly professional staff, pre-empting your every whim.

The luxury hotel’s 146 rooms and 45 suites are sumptuously decorated in either Art Deco, Regency or Louis XVI style, expertly combining traditional opulence with up to the minute modern touches, including a television that operates from inside the mirror in our suite.

For the delicate sleepers, the Plaza Athenee Paris offers a special pillow menu with a choice of wheat, de-stressing, beautifying, horsehair, osteopathic or synthetic pillows.

A bedroom at the Plaza Athenee Paris

The rooms have views of either the avenue Montaigne or the tranquil interior courtyard, which is turned into an ice-skating rink in the winter.

The piece de résistance, however, stands with splendour 81 storeys in the air, a mere kilometre away, perfectly on view from the terraces of the hotel’s suites. Sitting on the terrace, bathed in red geraniums, with a glass of champagne in hand looking directly at the Eiffel Tour is a gentle reminder of Paris’s status as one of the most romantic destinations in the world.

Paris also has a reputation for its shops, and if that’s the reason for your visit, then the Plaza Athenee Paris is ideally situated – you are surrounded by some of the city’s best boutiques, with Dior just across the street, and Prada and Balenciaga a short walk away.

If you need to stop for respite, look no further than La Terrasse Montaigne, discretely hidden in foliage aligning the front of the hotel, which is perfect for a light lunch or a lingering afternoon of people watching.

Legendary French chef, the multi Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse, oversees every aspect of the hotel’s dining options, from his eponymous three-star restaurant, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, to the quality of the pastries in the breakfast basket.

We dined at Le Relais Plaza restaurant in the hotel, a true Parisian institution since the 1930s, loved by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sophia Lauren and Marlene Dietrich.

Entering the restaurant is like stepping back in time – the décor is perfectly preserved 1930s’ decadence, the service formal, the food classic and made from high quality ingredients and the live piano music a wonderful reminder of an almost forgotten era.

Le Relais Plaza at the Plaza Athenee Paris

Le Bar du Plaza Athénée remains one of the most chic and hip bars in Paris, a haven for celebrities and fashionistas, whether sipping cocktails on the illuminated bar sculpted out of glass, or lounging on the leather chairs in front of the fireplace towards the end of the bar.

Le Bar du Plaza Athénée

If in need of relaxation or pampering, visit the luxurious Dior Spa at the hotel, which has 5 treatment rooms, including a VIP double treatment room, and a relaxation lounge.

Paris is glorious in the spring and what better way of seeing its delights than from your private Plaza Athénée boat, which takes you along the length of the Seine in the comfort of the exclusive mahogany and chrome boat with champagne and cake at hand.

Earlier this month, the Plaza Athénée became one of only 8 hotels in the whole of France to be awarded the exclusive ‘Palace’ distinction by the ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry. For a hotel where the words ‘once upon a time, the Palace of tomorrow’ resonate throughout, this was, surely, always inevitable.

While many grand dames cling on to a former glory, the Plaza Athénée perfectly illustrates how history, tradition and modernity can thrive under the same majestic red awning.

For further inspiration, read our guide to the best luxury hotels in Paris featuring Le Bristol Hotel and Le Meurice Hotel.