Located on one of Paris’s most fashionable strips (Avenue Montaigne), Plaza Athénée shot to international fame when Carrie Bradshaw walked into one of its suites and discovered uninterrupted views of Eiffel Tower. Fifteen years after that Sex and the City episode first aired, we can confirm, the hotel has lost none of its charms. Striking red awnings dot the building’s majestic beige façade, elegant columns soar in the circular lobby, while silk drapes and marble ensuites keep things suitably luxe in the rooms and suites. There’s a spa and a spate of eateries and bars but the pièce de résistance is the three-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse restaurant, where an enormous chandelier made of 10,000 crystals virtually covers the entire ceiling.
About 30 minutes’ drive from Charles de Gaulle Airport, Plaza Athénée is close to some of Paris’s top sights. The Seine is five minutes walk, the Eiffel Tower is 15 minutes away while the glossy shopping strip of Champs-Élysées is less than 10 minutes away.
At 25 square metres, the entry-level rooms are a bit small. But this is Paris. And what they lack in size they more than make up with sumptuous frills – marble bathrooms, Guerlain toiletries and rich fabrics. If your budget allows, opt for the Deluxe Suite, which features a separate living room with lashings of silk and brocade, a large bedroom with a king-sized bed and walk-in robe and a gleaming en suite with twin sinks.
Food and drink
Alain Ducasse’s eponymous three-Michelin-starred restaurant – currently No 21 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant’s list – is the ultimate indulgence at Plaza Athenee. But there are a bunch of other eating and drinking dens, including Le Relais Plaza for exquisite cocktails, La Galerie for afternoon tea, La Cour Jardin for courtyard dining, La Terrasse Montaigne for people-watching and the strikingly modern (and somewhat surreal) Le Bar for when you want to party.
For business travellers
As well as luxury travellers, the hotel has the corporate crowd squarely in its sights. There are five exquisite meeting and event spaces – from the gilded, chandelier-lit, wallpaper-clad Le Salon Haute Couture where to can host a gala dinner to contemporary Salon Creation A which can be turned into a boardroom awash with daylight.
For wellness travellers
Owing to the historic architecture of the building, there’s no pool on site, but there’s a fitness studio with personal training sessions and a heavenly Dior spa with facials, body treatments, hand and feet rituals, plus a separate menu for men.
The fab factor
The magnificent chandelier at the centre of the Alain Ducasse restaurant, its effect magnified by mirrors and shiny stainless steel booths.
Best for: Luxury travellers
Number of rooms: 188
From: €820 (about $1300)
Wi-fi: Complimentary, but there’s a premium option for €24 ($38) per day
Parking: Overnight parking is available for €45 ($71) per night
Address: 25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008
Telephone: +33 1 53 67 66 65