Openings: Paris’ New Kimpton Saint Honoré Hotel is a Contemporary Art Deco Masterpiece
When the spectacular new Bourse de Commerce museum opened in May, we suddenly realized how acutely we had missed Paris during the year+ of COVID imposed travel restrictions. But with vaccination programs having proven effective, word finally came in July that France was at last opening back up to Americans – so autumn visits to the French capital are surely being eagerly arranged.
New hotels have a way of adding a particular sort of exhilaration to a trip, especially where it concerns a city we’ve already visited as much as we have Paris, as there is a kind of ineffable magic about that first entrance into an unfamiliar lobby space. To be sure, it’s where you’re being welcomed into the ideology and philosophy of a hotel, and if one isn’t too exhausted from a long flight, it can be a thrillingly sensory experience. And we must say, Kimpton’s first Paris property does seem to be every bit that kind of “destination” hotel, the sort that aficionados go enthusiastically out of their way to check into. It certainly helps that the Kimpton St Honoré Paris is fitted into genuinely historic architecture; and 25 Boulevard des Capucines is indeed the former home of storied department store Samaritaine, which just reopened in June at its new location at 9 Rue de la Monnaie.
This means that the hotel is rich with gorgeous Art Deco highlights (original marble flooring, strikingly ornamental railings) dating back to the building’s original 1917 inception, and its subsequent 1928 extension add-on. And designer Charles Zana has taken that inspiration and run with it, especially in the 149 rooms, where retro detailing and crisp, clean lines make the spaces feel both contemporary and traditional in equal measure. Some even have stylish soaking tubs with windows looking out over the nearby Paris rooftops – perfect for the occasional exhibitionist that lurks within us all.
And bucking the old adage that when visiting France, one should always eat French food, the hotel’s quite attractive restaurant is actually named Montecito, after the mountainous Santa Barbara, California community. So the coastal cuisine, focused around fresh produce, is actually Cali inspired, but French executed, and served in a light-filled room, amongst lush greenery. Upstairs, the 10th floor rooftop Sequoia bar – referencing the Sierra Nevada national park of the same name – pours signature cocktails to a DJ-curated international soundtrack. Views of the grand 19th Century Opéra Garnier are merely a glorious visual bonus.
The location is especially sublime, at the western edge of the 2nd arrondissement, with the aforementioned opera house just a few blocks north and west, and the Place Vendome, Louvre and Musee D’orsay also within an easy morning’s stroll. A little further north takes you to the trendy nightlife goings on of Le Pigalle, and near to there, at 44 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, the World of Banksy exhibit will be carrying on until December 31.
But considering the stresses and worries of the last eighteen months, our most urgent recommend upon checking in to the Kimpton Saint Honoré would be to order a bottle of room service Champagne, and spending as much time as possible in that aforementioned soaking tub…and que sera sera.