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Le Meurice Paris

Room Request! Le Meurice

Inside Paris’s recently-renovated historic hotel, a decadent and discreet sanctuary

For more than a century, Le Meurice has offered the ultimate luxury Parisian experience and its recent renovation only takes that reputation to new heights. Under the supervision of French designers Charles Jouffre, Margaux Lally and Luc Berger, more than half of the hotel’s 160 rooms have been remodeled. Each feature some unique flair that honors the hotel’s history, along with contemporary comforts, like remote-controlled blackout shades, hidden behind custom French drapery bien sur.

Decadence remains on display everywhere, from the Valmont spa offering treatments using grapeseed oil from Château Lafite grapes to the nightly piano player. Practically every surface shines with marble and gold, with Philippe Starck-designed common spaces featuring surrealist dashes like suspended teardrop lamps and the large “frosted mirror” in the foyer, inviting guests to make art on the soft ice surface.

The Dorchester Collection’s hotel was originally founded as a place for the British to find British-type hospitality, like the teatime that’s still popular enough that you need an advance booking. When it opened, Le Meurice quickly earned the nickname “The Hotel of Kings,” attracting royals like Queen Victoria, the Maharajah of Jaipur, and the King of Spain–whose favorite suite was booked by Salvador Dali for a month every year when he wanted to live like a king, too. Dali was hardly the only artist to become a frequent guest. Picasso even hosted his wedding lunch at Le Meurice.

An Executive Junior Suite at Le Meurice

An Executive Junior Suite at Le Meurice

However, it’s impossible to elicit any current VIP names from the staff. They’re known for discretion, only admitting that privacy-loving celebrities and fashion designers like to stay during Fashion Week. During peak Covid-19, the hotel became popular among locals who started coming more than ever before for business lunches and drinks at the cozy bar. Now the tourists are back, hailing mostly from the U.S., U.K., U.A.E., Asia and increasingly, Brazil. The 24-hour concierge team—led for the past 19 years by Bertrand Kerzreho— assists these guests with everything from last minute reservations at trendy restaurants to advising on something specific like where to get the best ear piercing. The service is truly spectacular without ever feeling suffocating.

Still, Le Meurice remains a place for those in the know—a serene and refined hotel to take refuge in the heart of Paris’s historic district. It’s also incredibly quiet, thanks to new ordinances that prohibit traffic besides taxis, buses and bikes. While the iconic marble and mosaic entrance is just blocks from the Louvre, it still feels hidden away from the area’s tourist bustle. The giveaway? The pink ice cream stand parked outside, serving up gelato by Alain Ducasse.

Ducasse also operates the hotel’s Michelin 2-star restaurant. While it’s closed in August, an amusement park opens across the street, in the Tuileries Garden. Between the gelato and the rides, there’s more than enough bribes to get kids touring the museums.

DuJour spoke with Franka Holtmann, the property’s general manager since 2006, to learn more about this extraordinary hotel with a devoted clientele.

What is the most requested room at the property?

The Executive Balcony Room 605 which faces the Tuileries Garden.

What makes it so special?

It’s an attic room on the sixth floor kept as a Parisian apartment in a classical French style, with modern facilities, especially intuitive technology and dimmer lighting. The beautiful hand-painted wallpaper from de Gournay evokes the gardens outside which change colors with the seasons.

What is the nightly rate for this room?

Around €1,800 depending on the season. The rates are usually lowest in the winter.

Restaurant Le Dalí at Le Meurice

Restaurant Le Dalí at Le Meurice

What’s an interesting tidbit about the hotel that speaks to its status as an icon?

It has one of the most incredible penthouse suites on the seventh floor, the Belle Etoile. The landscaped terrace features a 360-degree view and was featured in the Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris. With our interior designers Lally & Berger, we have selected fine fabrics from Rubelli, Toyine Sellers or Veraseta in bronze and light blue shades, bespoke furniture from Charles Jouffre and some beautiful artwork from Carole Benzaken to make this place a harmonious Parisian apartment with opulent surroundings. You can even see a view of Sacré Cœur from the oversized marble bathtub’s window.

What is your personal favorite room and why?

There’s one suite on the sixth floor called La Parisienne which is intended for honeymooners. Designed in white and transparent colors with touches of gold, it feels romantic and elegant.

What special perk or amenity do you offer that no one knows about?

Perhaps our pastry lab, where new collections are created for every season by Cédric Grolet. His artistic trompe-l’oeil fruit pastries are particularly popular—they share a likeness to the fruits from which they’re made.

What’s your favorite design element on property?

I love the straw marquetry of Ateliers Lison de Caunes which was made for the bed alcove in one of the recently renovated rooms.

An Executive guest bedroom at Le Meurice

An Executive guest bedroom at Le Meurice

What are some special features of the new renovations?

Every time we start a new renovation program, we try to find some new items that might surprise our clients. Recently we have redone two floors with a considerable work on blinds, as this is something most of our clients expect. We have also selected some new artists and artisans such as Galatée Martin who has embellished our corridors with appealing paintings or Sylvaine Gorgo, a specialist of marble marquetry. Our main idea was to stay true to the 18th century French spirit with true elegance and chic, adding the perfect touches to match with today’s needs and modernity. It is more about sophisticated details that should be skillfully arranged in each of the rooms and suites providing a very authentic environment. When you wake up at Le Meurice, you definitely know you are in Paris!

How about one more fun fact about the property?

Some of our current employees knew Salvador Dali from when he stayed at the hotel. He was one of our most famous and loyal guests for more than thirty years. We even named our restaurant after him.