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Checking In: Le Meurice, Paris

Considered one of the first luxury hotels in the world when it opened in 1815, over the years Le Meurice has played host to many distinguished guests – kings and queens, artists and A-listers.

Picasso’s wedding dinner was hosted here, and Salvador Dalí considered the hotel his Parisian home, staying at Le Meurice for a month every year for over three decades. Today, its artistic leanings can be acutely felt. On entry to this first arrondissement pinnacle of Parisian elegance, you’ll be greeted by Zoulikha Bouabdellah’s contemporary sculpture, The Kiss – your first clue that Le Meurice is far from old hat.

The Vibe

Grand and gilded, with an arty flair – think 18th-century opulence, with a smidge of Surrealism à la Salvador Dalí.

The Rooms

With a total headcount of 121 rooms and 39 suites, there’s ample choice when it comes to selecting a room to suit your needs. Should you require a little prompt: the sixth-floor suites, refurbished in early 2019 by young designers Margaux Lally and Luc Berger of Lally & Berger, are particularly lovely.

The Executive Suites, presented in the style of a modern-day Versailles, are very special. A peaches and cream palette, with flecks of duck-egg blue, creates a welcoming, restful atmosphere. Composed of one bedroom, one bathroom, and one living room, the Executive Suites are more than generous in size, and boast expansive views over the city. King-size beds are prepared with Garnier-Thiebaut linen and voluptuous pillows, desk spaces are kitted out with all the modcons you could need work-wise, and lounge tables are topped with fresh flowers. Spacious Italian marble bathrooms, which are well-stocked with Maison Francois Kurkdjian Paris products, or Le Petit Prince toiletries for those travelling with children, offer both bath and separate shower facilities.

The jewel in Le Meurice’s crown? The Belle Etoile suite. Located on the seventh floor, it has its own private elevator and terrace with 360-degree views of Paris. Its next-level bathroom, complete with hexagon-shaped marble bathtub, is swoonworthy.

The Little Extras 

The mini bar set up is rather impressive. Charading as a mirror, behind its reflective façade you’ll unearth a fully stocked cabinet of quality spirits, minerals, and a variety of glassware, as well as a selection of premium snacks. Chin-chin.

Turndown makes for a ‘bonne nuit’ with slippers neatly placed bedside atop an embroidered foot mat. On your bedside locker you’ll also find water and a miniature calming pillow spray to lull you to sleep.

The Food + Drink

Take breakfast in any of the hotel’s restaurants, or in your room – we’d opt for the later, robe clad in your suite, munching on a croissant doused in strawberry conserve whilst taking in views of the city as it slowly stirs awake. Choose from a wide selection of breakfast standards spanning eggs any style to fresh fruits and cereals.

The hotel’s Le Dalí restaurant is an ideal place to dine at any time of day. Chef Amaury Bouhours places focus on seasonal, local produce across his menus – for lunch we dined on starters of crispy crab from Roscoff and oysters from Kermancy, followed by confit cod with cauliflower, kumquat, and sesame, and a perfectly tender veal shank served with onions and pepper sauce. Pausing before pudding to admire Philippe and Ara Starck Dalí-inspired sweeping ceiling mural above you – an ode to the theatre of dining – offers a welcome respite (and a moment to digest). And so to dessert… Pastry Chef, Cédric Grolet’s cakes showcase superlative skill. Famed for his unique desserts, like his trompe-l’oeil sculpted fruit, order a trio of yuzu, green apple, and chestnut cake to end your meal on a (sugar) high.

Looking to change scenes? The two-Michelin starred restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse is a supremely elegant affair. Inspired by the Salon de la Paix at the Château de Versailles, the majestic setting is perfectly suited to the symphonic menu, which sees classic haute cuisine reinterpreted under the mastery of chef des cuisines Amaury Bouhous.

Cocktail time is best enjoyed at Le Bar 228. Settle into a deep, leather Chesterfield-style armchair, with a l’Impérial black (a medley of whisky, mandarin, cacao, and cranberry) in hand and take in the bar’s nightly live jazz whilst admiring the bar’s three restored Lavalley paintings hanging on the walls, in addition to the hand-painted ceiling depicting the evening sky.

The To-Do List

A 10-minute stroll through the Tuileries Garden will take you to the Louvre Museum – make a pit stop at Musée des Arts Décoratifs en route, or double back here for lunch at Loulou’s a little later in the day. A little further on, you’ll reach the luxury boutiques of Place Vendôme and Rue Saint-Honoré. Other neighbours of Le Meurice include: Palais Garnier, the Hôtel de la Marine, Musée de l’Orangerie; you’re spoilt for choice.

Eurostar operates nine trains a day from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare Du Nord with one-way fares starting from £39.

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