Why we love it: Revived glam and rich history on the Left Bank
- A prime location for exploring the Left Bank
- Lots of social spaces in which to see and be seen
- Updated rooms still boast loads of character
Opened in 1910 by the family behind the iconic Bon Marché department store—then later owned by the Taittinger family of Champagne fame—this Left Bank landmark has served as a center of French culture and society for more than a century. From its early days hosting writers like Samuel Beckett, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce (who wrote Ulysses at the hotel), to serving as a jazz hub in the 1950s (with Miles Davis often in attendance), to hosting late-20th-century politicians, fashion designers, and filmmakers, the Lutetia has always lived up to its reputation as the only designated Grand Hotel on the “bohemian” Left Bank.
Even a legend needs an update every so often, however. A new member of The Set hotel group, the Lutetia reopened in the summer of 2018 following a four-year renovation led by noted architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Now, the original Art Nouveau–meets–Art Deco structure provides a backdrop for 184 enlarged rooms and suites, each with wood paneling, handblown Murano glass, and Carrara marble. The seven signature suites, which include two penthouses, also boast perks like private balconies and 360-degree views of the city. Enjoy a drink in the sophisticated Bar Aristide (with its two smoking rooms and cigar sommelier) or the chic Bar Josephine (named for actress and dancer Josephine Baker, another hotel regular), then find sanctuary in the glass-roofed Le Saint-Germain salon and its adjacent courtyard. L’Orangerie restaurant serves casual fare with a healthy, organic twist, while the sleek Lutetia Brasserie offers gourmet menus from three-Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passedat. Continue the indulgence at the brand-new, 7,500-square-foot Akasha Spa, with six treatment rooms, a pool and Jacuzzi, and a state-of-the-art gym.
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