Travel: Hotel des Grands Voyageurs, Paris, review - the Rive Gauche hotel that's inspired by the love of travel
It’s odd to think of a time when the journey was part of the joy of a holiday.
These days, it’s mostly a drudgery, and most of us are desperate to get off the plane or train, to stretch our legs and escape all the crisp munchers.
The newly opened 138-room Hotel des Grands Voyageurs in Paris celebrates a much more fabulous era. The corner block’s interior was created by Italian designer Fabrizio Casiraghi, who has been inspired by travel’s golden age. For example, its glossy mahogany-clad reception area has the feel of a Pullman carriage, and hotel corridors feature rope handles and thick sea-blue carpets scattered with yellow constellations, to conjeur up the sense of being on a luxury Art Deco ocean liner.
Casiraghi also tried to create the sensation of entering the private residence of a Parisian art collector, and has incorporated references to the homes of fashion’s power couple Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, as well as the antique dealers’ square in St-Germain-des-Prés. Look out for the artwork scattered throughout, including lithographs from Klimt and Chagall, and bas-relief sculptures of angels by Francois Gilles, which hang above the beds.
Budget or boutique
The sophisticated design features make this former Holiday Inn a very boutiquey property.
It’s typical for a luxury hotel in central Paris in that the rooms aren’t massive, with five tiers starting from up to 15m2 for a Signature Room, and rising to up to 27m2 for a Junior Suite, but they still feel very luxurious. We had a Signature Queen Room, which had a mosaic-tiled walk-in shower and Diptyque products. As well as boasting baths, the bigger suites have record players, along with a selection of albums from French and US artists.
Wining and dining
On the ground floor, the reception area flows into the open plan and very chic marble-floored ‘transatlantic brasserie’, with a menu that has French and US influences. We sampled options that included pate croute and sea bream carpaccio for starters, with New York steak and cod blanquette for mains. The desserts are upmarket comfort food classics, such as apple pie with tonka cream or baked Alaska. Breakfast is served down here too, with a buffet-style focus on continental options and pastries, as well as hot things like bacon, sausage and eggs.
As well as the ground floor bar, where we sipped lemon drops and Long Island iced tea, down in the basement, there’s a candle-lit and twinkly late night (it’s open until 2am) bar, Poppy, with a mirrored ceiling, lithographs on the wall and well-upholstered pistachio green seats.
Worth getting out of bed for
As the hotel manager told me, while this venue’s sister property, Hotel Dame des Arts, is in a well trodden touristy area, this is a more residential neighbourhood, though you’re still near plenty of boutiques, cafes and smaller galleries. Still, we were in the market for sightseeing activities, like visiting Musee d’Orsay and taking a boat trip along the Seine, and everything we wanted to do was an easy walking distance away. You’re especially close to the Jardin de Luxembourg, Musee Bourdelle and department store Le Bon Marche. If you want to stray further (or head back to the airport), the hotel is just across the road from Saint-Placide Metro Station.
There’s the obligatory Nespresso machine in the rooms, plus a mini bar and fresh flowers. We were also left a few little souvenirs, like branded socks, totes and notebooks. Down in the basement, they have a bookable infra-red sauna, which was on the cusp of opening when we visited, and a neat but well equipped orange-tiled gym, open from 6am until 10pm, with a fresco of topless muscle-men on the walls. They also offer private indoor parking, with 20 spaces and electric chargers for 30 Euros a day. There’s free wi-fi and USB-C and USB chargers by the beds. Pets are welcome.
The staff are incredibly warm and accommodating and the rooms are impeccably clean.
Rooms start at £258 per night. Hotel des Grands Voyageurs, 92 Rue de Vaugirard, Paris, www.hoteldesgrandsvoyageurs.com
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