L’Hotel literally translates to “The Hotel”. Oscar Wilde, Jorge Louise Borges, Marlon Brando, Salvador Dali, Princess Grace, Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger and Johnny Depp have all slept, or maybe more appropriately, cavorted in the Parisian hotel which needs no name.
As with most of Paris, the hotel has a dramatic history. The hotel has been in operation for over a century in St. Germain on a beautiful street leading to the national school of fine arts. Walk another direction and in moments you will be on the Seine river (left bank). Every direction you may take will lead you to a new discovery.
Simply walking up to your room, which you should do at least once in lieu of the charming lift, will expose you to one of the most signature elements of this small architectural wonder. The spiral staircase is off centered, creating a hollow cylinder in the central heart of the building that gazes into rooftop skylights.
Each room has its own personality, designed by the famed Jacques Garcia, an avid collector of furniture and royal art objects dispersed after the French revolution. New Yorkers should recognize Jacques, who recently redid the uber-hip, beaux-arts NoMad hotel in New York. It is better to reserve well in advance, as the hotel only has 20 quarters and you may be competing against starlets, diplomats, and dilettantes for one of the few apartments.
You would also be well advised to reserve time at the hammam pool, right when you check in. The hammam is settled in the base of the hotel and is for your private use. The pool is fitted with a single hydro therapy spa jet that can be adjusted to work out any kinks left from a trip across the Atlantic. Be warned, at full force the jet can literally push you to the other end of the pool. L’Hotel also has incredibly well trained massage therapists that can accompany your hammam reservation. The combination of massage and hammam will leave you floating in an absinthe-like state of bliss.
L’Hotel’s head chef, Julien Montabut prepares Michelin star rated cuisine. A trip to Paris is incomplete without experiencing the pastries and breads. Your search could begin and end at L’Hotel. A simple buffet breakfast is a heavenly assortment of the finest baked delicacies that will be the measure of all your other baguettes and croissants.
All of the bohemian opulence and historical coolness could intimidate the faint of heart. Those trepidations are swept away by a graceful and genuine staff that ushers you into your stay.
Welcome to “The Hotel”.
- Jeffery Owens
Photographs by Jeffery Owens for Socially Superlative