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Hotel check: Mandarin Oriental

Published: 03/05/2013 - Filed under: Home » Archive » 2013 » May 2013 » Tried and Tested » Home » Archive » 2013 » May 2013 »

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HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 99 rooms and 39 suites 

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The beautiful swimming pool and bedrooms. The location is hard to beat too.

PRICE Internet rates for flexible midweek stay in March started from €825 ($1,083) for a Superior room.

CONTACT Mandarin Oriental 251 Rue Saint-Honoré; tel +33 170 987 888; mandarinoriental.com/paris 

VERDICT The Mandarin is one of the very best five-star hotels in Paris, with elegantly designed interiors and top-notch everything from the service to the food. An excellent luxury hotel that I would be delighted to go back to

WHAT’S IT LIKE? One of only six Mandarin Oriental properties in Europe, the luxurious, five-star Parisian hotel opened in June 2011. The hotel is housed in an eight-floor building that was once home to offices for the Ministry of Justice. It has a decked garden courtyard in the middle, with abundant foliage and a water feature.

Echoing the brand’s Asian heritage, the hotel features delicate oriental touches. Stepping in from the chic shopping street of Rue Saint-Honoré, the gold-ceilinged lobby is light and airy, looking on to the garden courtyard through double-height, floor-to-ceiling windows. Reception is to the left, and as I waited for my room to become available (this took about 20 minutes – I arrived at about 10:00 AM) I was offered a cup of coffee and hot towel for my hands, while I sat in one of the nearby velvet armchairs. The shiny floor is of white and gray marble, laid out in stripes, and staff uniforms have a classy, Asian look.

WHERE IS IT? Opposite the Emporio Armani store on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris’s fashionable Arrondissement 1. It’s about 20 minutes by taxi to Gare du Nord, traffic permitting, 18 miles from Charles de Gaulle airport and 15 miles from Orly. Metro stops Concorde, Tuileries and Opera are all within a five minute walk.

ROOM FACILITIES The Superior bedrooms start from 400 square feet, with views of Rue Saint-Honoré (some higher category rooms look on to the garden courtyard or city skyline). The classy, modern décor is neutral, in the main, with splashes of pink.

Bathrooms all feature walk-in showers, Frette robes and Diptyque amenities. Other standard features and services include twice daily housekeeping, Nespresso coffee machines, workdesks, Bang and Olufsen TVs, wired and wireless internet ($20 for 24 hours or free in suites), and iPod docks.

I was staying in the next category up (Deluxe), which was a little larger, at 420 to 475 square feet, and featured the same décor and amenities but also a separate bath tub (though the overall wet room was fairly small) and another area with twin sinks and plenty of toiletries. The king-size bed was extremely comfortable.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS  The ground-floor Bar Eight serves champagne cocktails and “street food” from 11:00 AM to midnight (until 2:00 AM Tues-Sat). Adjacent to the moody bar is the two-Michelin starred fine-dining restaurant, Sur Mesure by Thierry Marx, which, when you enter, is like walking on to a set from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The avant garde, French (with a Japanese twist) menu listed dishes such as structured and de-structured sweet potato, “Earth and Estuary,” and risotto under pressure with black truffle. A six course tasting menu costs 165 ($217), while nine courses in 195 ($256). 

Simpler (yet equally expensive) food is served in the all-day Camélia restaurant, also on the ground floor but on the other side of the lobby. Diners can either sit outside in the garden or inside, and I enjoyed a wonderful buffet breakfast of the highest quality here in the morning. (The bread and pastries are a must.)

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There are four event spaces (Jasmine, Darjeeling, Oolong and Ginseng), seating between 24 and 60 attendees in the largest, and overlooking the inner courtyard. This garden area can also be booked and features a giant birdcage in one corner with seating for eight around a table in the middle. 

LEISURE FACILITIES The Mandarin has a 9,700-square-foot spa on level two with a 14-meter pool (open 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM) with soft lighting and a wall at one end with water trickling down it. There is also a 24-hour fitness center with Technogym equipment, a Kinesis machine and free weights, though the room offers no natural light. 

— Jenny Southan


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