The trend in Parisian luxury hotels these days seems to be to go to great lengths to achieve neutrality so as not to risk offending anyone’s tastes. Colors are neutral beiges, browns and grays, with the emphasis on rich materials and varied textures to reassure guests that they are getting their designer money’s worth.
This is the approach taken by the just-reopened haute-luxury Royal Monceau, designed by Philippe Starck all in beige, as well as by the new Pavillon des Lettres, recently opened by the same family that owns the Pavillon de la Reine on the Place des Vosges, which exhibits all the “sober elegance” that is the byword of these hotels.
The conceit of the four-star Pavillon des Lettres is that it is a literary hotel. This means that each of the 26 rooms is dedicated to a writer, one for each letter of the alphabet (even X is represented, by Xenophon). Inside each room, the linen covering the walls and the glass of the bathroom door are printed with a quotation from the writer in question. A copy of the book cited lies on the bedside table.
Designer Didier Benderli of Agence Kérylos Intérieurs has filled the hotel with custom-designed furnishings, right down to the handsome modern bathtubs with their slanting backs, and other sophisticated, offbeat touches. In the lobby, for example, the “Versailles parquet” is made of stylish polished concrete. Doors and other surfaces in the rooms are covered in textured stone dust. Bathroom doors are made of glass to avoid that closed-in feeling, but a curtain is provided for those who prefer privacy (or that closed-in feeling). The lobby and suites, with some welcome splashes of warm color, offer an exception to the overall greigeness of the color scheme.
Each room not only has an iPod charging station with speaker, but also its own iPad with an electronic library so guests can read the literary works in question. The deluxe rooms and suites under the eaves have balconies and views over the rooftops of Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the background. They are also equipped with Jacuzzis in the bathrooms.
While some of the standard doubles are small, they are well laid out and don’t feel cramped.
Guests can serve themselves at the honesty bar in one of a series of lounges in the lobby, where a real fire burns in the fireplace. A concierge is available to reserve restaurants, find a babysitter, etc.
If you are looking for something wackier or just a little less staid, try Mama Shelter, also designed by Starck; the Joyce, with its many amusing design touches; or the all-white BLC Design Hotel. But for that “sober elegance,” the Pavillon des Lettres can’t be beat.
Le Pavillon des Lettres: 12, rue des Saussaies, 75008 PARIS. Tel.: 01 49 24 26 26. E-mail: email@example.com. Rooms and suites: €300-€460. Two wheelchair-accessible rooms. www.pavillon-des-lettres.com