The Palace Hotels of Paris are icons of the city. Their luxury, opulence and glamour have become the stuff of legend. The 12 properties which hold this prestigious title each have their own identity and character, and most have made their own contribution to the eclectic weave of Parisian culture and history.

This can certainly be said of Hôtel Plaza Athénée – over its 110-year history, this magnificent property has served as both refuge and inspiration to some of the most famous creative minds the city has ever known.

It was here that Christian Dior first imagined his signature outfits, having witnessed ladies of the time struggle to perch on the chairs at Le Relais Plaza while sipping their aperitifs, and attracting those ladies to shop with him led to his boutique being opened just across Avenue Montaigne.

The magnificent, newly refurbished Dior Townhouse is still visible from the Plaza’s summer terrace, and is just one of the fashionable neighbours awaiting the visit of guests at this Haute Couture address.

Hôtel Plaza Athénée

Why Stay Here?

Plaza Athénée is definitely well-placed for fashion lovers, and this is often the reason guests choose it. Boutiques on the same street and in the surrounding area represent pretty much every luxury brand you could ask for.

Such proximity has naturally made the hotel a focal point for the couture crowd, whether they are visitors to the city or locals, and being seen with a cocktail at Le Bar is a common weekend pastime among the well-to-do residents of the local area, as well as some fairly high-profile visitors.

Fashion, and catching the eye of passers-by, is not the only reason to be based here, though. The Avenue Montaigne runs perpendicular to the Champs-Élysées, meaning the Arc de Triomphe is within walking distance.

The same is true of many of the main city landmarks – the Eiffel Tower is just a few streets away, and views of it are a feature of some of the most spectacular suites – which means a truly tourist-y trip is easily arranged from Plaza Athénée’s doorstep.

That being said, the beauty of this hotel is that it is so much more than a launchpad from which to enjoy an exceptional city. The feel of the place is that of your Parisian pied-à-terre, a place for a seasoned veteran to return to again and again as they go about their cosmopolitan, multi-city life.

Before the evening calls you to that magnificent bar, afternoon tea can be taken in La Galerie – an elegant section of the public space dedicated to lounging and watching the world go by – and seasonal entertainment enjoyed in La Cour Jardin at the heart of the building. In summer this area is a shaded, tranquil spot to escape the oppression of the heat on the streets; when winter descends it transforms into an icy paradise, complete with ice rink and Swiss-style chalet.

Plaza Athénée suite

How’s the Food?

The dining standards expected of a five-star hotel in Paris are higher than most – at Plaza Athénée, they are surpassed.

Days begin with breakfast in the main dining room – a room resplendent in marble and baroque styling – and it is not uncommon to see chef Jean Imbert personally overseeing the service. Traditional pastries, made each morning by a dedicated team, are complemented by fresh baking offered directly by the chef to each table, as well as a considerable menu of hot dishes.

Lunch can be provided in La Galerie or, in the summer, on La Terrasse Montaigne, under the famous red awnings of the avenue frontage.

In the evening, the hotel really comes into its own. The flagship gastronomic restaurant, Jean Imbert at Plaza Athénée, was launched in 2022 and took only 3 months to achieve a Michelin Star. The long, communal dining table in the centre of the room catches the eye immediately, and the menu is designed to be a modern reinvention of timeless French classics.

While the main restaurant reimagines traditional dishes, Le Relais Plaza stays proudly close to its art deco roots. Little has changed about the styling since Dior’s days at the bar, and the romance of the era still lingers in the atmosphere of a dinner service. The menu here is hearty and generous – elevated versions of simple French country food, and no-one will ever leave feeling less than stuffed. The sheer stature of the grilled sweetbread simply has to be seen to be believed.

The bar at Plaza Athénée

What are the rooms like?

Hotels in Paris are not generally the most spacious, but those at Plaza Athénée buck the trend. Views are either of the avenue or the courtyard, and the décor is stylish and understated.

The top two floors of the building were once home to staff apartments, but now play host to expansive private suites. The fact the ceilings here are so much lower than the first five floors, which were originally intended for guests, hints at the past use of the space, but the 2 art-deco apartments which have been created there now are examples of real Parisian luxury. Balconies with views across the skylines and self-contained, fully-stocked bars make the sensation of being in one’s own Parisian property really sink in.

To the western side of the building, suites boast a particularly spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower. One window in each is framed as a painting, reinforcing the feeling that this vista really is a work of art.

At night, when the lights of the tower dance to mark each passing hour, the ability to sit by the fire, champagne in hand, and watch from probably the best angle in the city is nothing short of incredible.

In an area of Paris so focussed on style and appearance, it would be easy for hotels and restaurants to invest purely in aesthetics and let the postcode justify their prices. Many do, but at Hôtel Plaza Athénée meticulous care is taken to ensure that the service received by guests is every bit as beautiful and impressive as the surroundings in which they receive it.

From the moment the top-hatted doormen welcome you inside until the time you are forced to bid adieu, this hotel will constantly remind you that you belong in one of Paris' Palaces.

Plaza Athénée suite

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