Hotel Review: Tatler Checks Into… Hôtel Plaza Athénée (With A Tatling In Tow)
March 12, 2018 | BY Daphne Chen-Cordeiro
We discover how the Plaza Athénée is no ordinary hotel… especially when it comes to hosting kids.
Those distinctive red awnings. The unparalleled view of the Eiffel Tower from your room balcony. And that iconic scene from Sex and the City. It’s no wonder a stay here feels like you’re in a film set. But it isn’t just the adults that are spoilt silly at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée—little Tatlings are given the VIP treatment too.
The location? Superb. Built in 1913, Hôtel Plaza Athénée has become an iconic spot on the prestigious Avenue Montaigne—one of Paris most luxurious shopping stretches. It sits alongside its stylish neighbours: Dior (both the boutique and its HQ), Louis Vuitton, Celine and Valentino.
After checking in, we stepped into Le Galerie (where we were served coffee and muffins while waiting for our suite). It’s a long corridor that is classically French, featuring rows of chandeliers, elegant gilded armchairs and melodies from the resident harpist. It constantly draws an incredibly well-dressed Parisian crowd.
The tall windows from Le Galerie look into Cour Jardin, a breath-taking garden courtyard is surrounded by four ivy-covered walls of the hotel. In the summer, guests can enjoy alfresco afternoon tea and pastries, while in winter, the space is transformed into an ice-skating rink flanked by fir trees for the littlest hotel guests—complete with complimentary lessons by an Olympian skater.
Do Not Disturb
Have you always dreamed of admiring the Eiffel Tower from the comfort of your… bathtub? Well, now you can. While there are many suites in this hotel that offer a stunning view of the Effiel tower, there is just one Suite Eiffel (room 878) that will allow you to soak in bubbles and sip on champagne whilst doing that.
The décor in Hôtel Plaza Athénée fall into two main design categories: Art Deco interiors and a classic Louis XVI style that recalls the same aesthetic as Dior boutiques (which happens to be an haute couture brand that is closely interlinked with the hotel: in 1947, Monsieur Christian Dior showed his inaugural collection at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, and his famous Bar suit was named after the hotel’s popular cocktail bar).
And then there are the occasional pop-up themed suites for the littlest guests. Previous themed suites include Barbie and Hot Wheels bedrooms, flanking all pink furniture and a custom car bed respectively.
What a treat it was for our little Tatling! Upon arriving in the suite, our three-year-old found the hotel’s signature red bear, Gustave, in the form of a plush waiting for him on the couch. In the bathroom, a kid-sized plush robe and slippers sat next to the grown-up ones, and a thoughtful step stool by the vanity counter. To satisfy their (and your) sweet tooth, do ask for the caramel madeleines and chocolate fudge cookies baked inhouse daily. They’re heaven—and even better with warm milk.
Kids get the VIP treatment with seasonal activities catered just for them throughout the year. They range from Easter egg hunts, Disney prince and princess appearances, oversized advent calendar in December (with a gift for the child every day till Christmas), Plaza Athénée pedal cars, mini Chef's uniforms and a concierge at hand to organise kids’ activities. There is even a kid's porcelain set by Pillivuyt featuring Gustave, which appears during breakfast service, in-room dining and is available for sale too.
Food & Drink
There are indulgent breakfasts, and then there is the exceptional breakfast at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée that is perfectly elegant and well, simply incomparable. Designed by Jouin Manku, the restaurant space (pictured above) is a sublime fantasy come true: dripping in crystal chandeliers, shell-like booths and mirrored domes that line the entrance.
The three-Michelin starred restaurant opens to hotel guests for breakfast service. Everything, from the food to the service—as expected—is a fine-dining affair. Upon being seated, before the mains are even ordered, a decadent mountain of French pastries, together with every jam imaginable arrives. Children in all the dining establishments here (including the old-school Le Relais Plaza) are offered a thoughtful illustrated kid’s menu, so that even if they can’t read, they can still easily decide what to eat.
It’s all about the view.
The room windows open onto either the Cour Jardin (the hotel’s beautiful courtyard) or Avenue Montaigne. Without a doubt, go for the latter: a balcony that overlooks the chestnut tree lined road and more importantly, commands a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower.
Even after countless trips to Paris, and seeing the city’s most recognisable monument more times that I thought I’d care for, there’s something magical and perfectly romantic about being able to marvel at the Eiffel Tower from the balcony of your hotel room. It’s true, it never gets old.
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