by Stephen Jermanok
Stepping under the signature red awning into the lobby of the Plaza Athenee and exhaustion was immediately replaced with a deep sense of comfort and relaxation. It wasn’t only the doorman who opened the door and carried in the luggage. No, it was the man behind the reception desk stating that our room was already available at such an early hour, and the nearby concierge, standing at a desk twice as large as the reception area, already helping with dinner reservations and museum passes. Then being escorted to a stately suite, where the antique rugs and furniture blended with the latest technologies. The French country windows opened to see a garden box planted with flowers and the Eiffel Tower was standing on the horizon in all its glory. Everything was bliss.
Plaza Athenee is certainly a splurge, but in many ways it is the perfect Parisian retreat and worth every penny. The address, on a fashionable city street, is within easy walking distance to the Eiffel Tower, Champs Ellysees, the Seine River and the restaurants and food markets in the 7th arrondissement. Breakfast, included in the price, is a glorious feast of freshly made croissants, brioche, fruit and omelets served with strong French-pressed coffee. At night, the restaurant serves innovative fare in the same dining room. There is also a magnificent outdoor courtyard where the walls are covered with ivy, perfect for a drink or lunch. Downstairs is the ultra-sybaritic Christian Dior spa, recently renovated, along with many of the suites in the hotel.
Then there are the little added touches like tea in the atrium, serenaded by a harpist. An exciting moment for children every morning was waking up and going outside to see the collection of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Rolls-Royces that were always parked in front of the hotel. Yet, the best part of the Plaza Athenee is returning to the hotel after a day of sightseeing and relaxing in the sumptuous room.
Our Editor Loves
- Unparalleled service
- Scrumptious breakfast each morning
- Walking distance to the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysees
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Plaza Athenee features 146 guestrooms and suites, with either Louis XVI Regency or Art Deco decor. Rooms come equipped with air conditioning, DVD players, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and hypoallergenic linens.
Room selections include superior and deluxe rooms with a king bed (best suited to families bringing an infant or booking two rooms); junior and superior suites starting at 485 square feet and accommodating three people; and larger two-bedroom suites to accommodate larger families, maxing out at 1,270 square feet (unless you elect the presidential suite, which is 1,590 square feet). A signature collection of suites is also available, from the Royal Suite, which sleeps eight, to the Eiffel Suites, which offer the best views of the Eiffel Tower.
The first floor suite with an adjoining bedroom for the children offered the two rooms with a glorious living room area with sofas to sit and watch the flat-screen television, a large desk to do work, and French doors that opened onto the street below and Eiffel Tower sparkling in the distance. The room was furnished with a mix of antique lamps, rugs, and end tables that made the place feel like a classic room in the King's court. There was even a third bathroom in the sitting area. Each room also had its own fresh vase of flowers, too.
The spacious bathroom played host to a rainforest shower, sunken tub, and bidet. The dense shampoo and sweet-smelling soap was created specifically for the hotel. There was always an ample supply of free water in the room, a small refrigerator to place all those leftover cheeses, meats and other market food, a blow dryer, safe, and umbrella in each room. Remarkably, after breakfast the rooms were already cleaned by the maids.
Having stayed here many years ago, I found the renovation spectacular. This is a landmark and a very well located hotel. The Concierges are excellent and so is all the staff in the front desk. Everything in the hotel is incredible although there is one small thing that I would change which is the outdated Guerlain bath products which are really bad. Breakfast is also amazing!
a typical french style building situated on the Avenue Montaigne, a few steps away from Champs Ellysee. Beautiful and spacious rooms and very friendly staff. If you get a room with a view you can see the Eifel Tower. Beautiful view in the evening.
The hotel is truly a city hotel, where the world outside its doors is the main attraction. You won't find kids' clubs or hotel swimming pools (outside the spa) here. Instead, refer to the attractions listed under the review of Paris. That said, if you have small tykes with you, be sure to visit the hotel lobby, where they can ride around in the hotel's signature red push cars.
However, with the Eiffel Tower just a stone's throw away, follow our lead and walk over to the food market at Rue Cler. There is a boulangerie selling hot-out-of-the-oven baguettes, a fromagerie selling soft Camembert cheese, a butcherie selling jambon (ham) and sliced saucisson. At a small grocer, grab a pint of fresh strawberries and several bottles of water. Picnic food in tow, march over to the large grassy area smack dab in front of the Eiffel Tower and eat your goodies, staring up in awe at the structure. What a glorious introduction to the city.
Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athenee
Wake up every morning and start the day with a gluttonous feast in the same restaurant the famous chef, Alain Ducasse, serves dinner every evening. Sit under the magnificent chandeliers and stare out at the courtyard, where ivy crawls up and down the red-brick walls. Then get ready for exceptional service as waiters bring over baskets brimming over with raspberry and chocolate filled brioche, croissant, pain au chocolat, and other assorted fresh baked bread. The fruit plate was filled with strawberries, blueberries, and tasty chunks of mango. There's also eggs, omelets, bacon, sausage, cereals, and yoghurt, all washed down with fresh squeezed juices and strong French pressed coffee. There's no need to leave the hotel at night, when you can dine at one of the best restaurants in France and sample the latest innovations of three-star Michelin chef, Alain Ducasse. The dinner menu is seasonal, but favors seafood like sole meuniere, turbot, lobster, and caviar.
If you opt for afternoon tea just off the lobby in the atrium at La Galerie des Gobelins, you'll be listening to the sounds of a harpist as you sip tea and try some of the patisseries from one of the best-known pastry chefs in Paris.
Le Relais Plaza
Popular with the pre-theater crowd at nearby Theatre des Champs Elysees is the sophisticated bistro Le Relais Bistro. Grilled Angus sirloin, the French specialty steak tartar, and king prawns doused in a coconut sauce are some of the signature entrees.
La Cour Jardin
The Plaza's outdoor seasonal dining, set beneath its signature red umbrellas, is filled with wall-climbing ivy and red flowers spilled from oversized planters. During the winter, when the garden closes, the hotel transforms the space into its winter ice skating rink!
La Terrasse Montaigne
Sitting at an outdoor cafe overlooking a street and watching the people go by is a favorite pastime of the Parisians, and at the Plaza's street-level terrace, you can do the same. Open for light bites, Las Terrasse Montaigne provides snacks and a summer menu, and is closed during the winter months.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
You not only pay for the comfort of your room at the Plaza Athenee, but the over-the-top service. Start with the concierge who will book your dinner reservations long before you arrive. He will also give you hints on when to visit sites, like heading to the Louvre on Wednesday nights with far less crowds. Special treats for birthdays, like a big block of chocolate for children. There was also milk and cookies upon arrival. When it was raining one night, a doorman handed us all umbrellas to take for the walk. The hotel will go overboard to ensure your children are happy, supplying them with bathrobes and slippers, even letting them drive the small red cars just outside the lobby.
The hotel's housekeeping department can arrange for a qualified "nurse" to watch the kids, en suite, so you can have a date night in the most romantic city in the world.
The Plaza Athenee features a small, but well-equipped fitness center, with its very own personal trainer available daily to assist you in creating the perfect workout. The fitness center is connected to the Dior Institut and provides access into the steam room and sauna.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available.
The Art of Smart Timing
Yes, everybody loves Paris in the springtime, but if you can head to the city in winter, when that ivy-covered courtyard at the Plaza Athenee transforms into a skating rink and you get to warm up with rich hot chocolate in the atrium. Prices at the Plaza Athenee are also reduced, along with significant reductions for overseas flights.
Taxis from the Charles De Gaulle Airport to Plaza Athenee are easily available. If you're arriving from London or another European city, the train is a better option than flying, as you'll arrive at Gare du Nord station in the heart of Paris.
The location of this hotel makes Paris easily walkable.
For Mom and Dad
Located at the Plaza Athenee is the Dior (as in Christian) Institut, a world-renowned spa. Sneak away to enjoy one of its many body and face treatments, or better yet, book a couples massage in the VIP Cabin.
The adults will love to have a cocktail and dancing at Le Bar du Plaza. The Plaza's bar features its own house DJ who spins records until 2 a.m., while the lighting changes colors from blue to red.