Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris

37 Avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris, France

The façade may be classic, the doormen crisp, and the location tony, but once inside Le Royal Monceau, you’ll feel an independent, unexpectedly edgy spirit running through this luxury hotel. Opened in 1928, the historic spot, now part of the Raffles collection, underwent a complete renovation in the mid-2000s, overseen by interiors master Phillipe Starck, who—true to form—filled the spaces with contemporary style, dramatic flair (like oversized lobby sculptures and a stairwell adorned with dozens of chandeliers), and over 350 pieces of art, many culled from the hotel’s private collection. Art is a big focus here overall: along with a well-stocked art-library-cum-bookstore (which draws a lot of gift-seeking locals) and an on-site showroom curated by local gallerists (recent shows have spotlighted street artists, from Basquiat to Banksy), there’s a resident Art Concierge—the first in Paris—who can create bespoke itineraries for guests and arrange for special access, studio tours, and VIP experiences (including, with enough notice, an after-hours visit to the Louvre).

Unique art and photography also feature prominently in the 85 rooms and 64 suites, accenting Starck-designed furniture, walls of mirrors, marble bathrooms with Clarins products, and quirky touches like acoustic guitars and kids’ amenities from Bonpoint. A mobile recording studio can be set-up upon request, making the top suites favorites of musicians (including Kanye, Celine Dion, and Beyonce), while a cushy downstairs screening room hosts weekly movie nights and other events. Dining options include excellent Japanese fare at Matsuhisa (which also offers sushi-making classes), Michelin-starred Italian at the gorgeous Il Carpaccio, a decadent weekend brunch at La Cuisine (which draws crowds of locals), cigars and spirits at Vinales Lounge, and light bites and late nights at Le Bar Long. Work it off in the longest luxury hotel pool in Paris (it’s just over 75 feet), or relax with a custom facial or body treatment at the Spa My Blend by Clarins.

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