Ahh, Springtime in Paris. What could be better? How about a side trip to London? Add in five-star accommodations and you have the stuff a travel advisor’s dreams are made of. This is the situation I found myself in late March when I was invited by one of my favorite travel partners, Classic Vacations to tour 24 luxury hotels over seven days in these two world class cities.
After a two-year hiatus from European travel due to the pandemic, I was thrilled to be back in one of my favorite cities, Paris where my tour started. My 5:30am arrival meant it was too early to check into Hotel du Louvre, but the hotel staff graciously offered the use of the spa to freshen up and then off I went for a 4 ½ hour walk through the city seeing iconic sites like the Eiffel Tower, Tuileries Garden, and the Trocadero.
My stay at Hotel du Louvre provided that classic Haussmann style elegance with floor to ceiling double windows that opened onto views of the Louvre and the Comedie-Francaise. The room décor was fresh and new but still had that quintessential Parisian look and feel. My beautiful sunlit room was outshined only by the hotel’s friendly and welcoming staff.
Haussmann-style Hotel du Louvre with floor to ceiling windows that open onto views of the museum.
The four days spent touring 14 uniquely beautiful hotels in the City of Light not only gave me a new appreciation for comfortable chaussures but also allowed me to view different room categories and experience each hotels’ personality so that I may recommend accommodations that best meets my clients’ needs.
Hotel Regina Paris was my second stop and after touring this lovingly restored turn of the century Belle Epoque property we were treated to champagne and petites bouchées or small bites. Hotel Regina Paris is owned by the fourth generation of the same Parisian family who also owns Hotel Raphael and Majestic Hotel-Spa which I also toured.
Of all the properties I toured, Hotel de Crillon was the most opulent. Located next to the US Embassy and overlooking the Place de la Concorde, Hotel de Crillon is one of thirteen Parisian hotels to earn the coveted Palace status for their exceptional elevated 5-star service. The designation is even more fitting as it was a former private residence where Marie Antionette took piano lessons!
Gilded perfection at Bar Les Ambassadeurs at Hotel de Crillon.
Other Palace properties I toured were Hotel Lutetia and Le Bristol Paris. After touring Hotel Lutetia we were treated to champagne on the rooftop terrace of the Francis Ford Coppola Suite with sweeping views of the Paris skyline. At Le Bristol Paris, a popular hotel for Americans as well as movie locale for Midnight in Paris, we were told by our hosts that Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston were in residence while filming a movie. Although we didn’t get to rub elbows with the A-Listers we did meet resident house cat Socrate who is the real star at the hotel.
Perfect ending to a picture-perfect day. Champagne and a view on the terrace of the Francis Ford Coppola Suite.
The star of the show at Le Bristol Paris; resident house cat Socrate.
Mid-way through my Paris stay, I moved to Hotel Grand Powers located in the 8th Arrondissement a block from the Champs Elysees and steps from some of the top fashion houses like Chanel, Dior, and Balmain to name a few. This lovely boutique hotel was beautifully decorated in an art deco style but the piece de resistance for me was the Eiffel Tower view from my room!
Another hotel I toured that may appeal to fashionistas of the younger set was Grand Hotel du Palais Royal located in the 1st Arrondissement near the Louvre. The hotel is situated across from the fictional marketing company, Savoir where Emily Cooper of Netflix’ hit show Emily in Paris works. In fact, the hotel is playing up their proximity to her office by offering a marketing promotion of their own complete with a room with a view of Emily’s office, a Parisian beret (of course) and other items.
A collection of boutique properties I visited are part of BSignature Hotels, a family run, woman owned hotel group. The four hotels; Hotel Montalembert, Hotel Bel Ami, Hotel Vernet, and Hotel Edouard 7 are artfully designed with a casual, comfortable vibe. Rounding out my tour of Parisian hotels was Castille Paris with a decidedly Italian take on the Parisian experience.
All aboard the EuroStar, the Paris to London train that runs under the English Channel. Next stop is London to tour eleven luxury hotels in three days. Keep calm and carry on!
We checked into The Rubens at the Palace for two nights. And just as its name suggests it is literally across the street from the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace where the Queen keeps her carriages and cars. The hotel has fun with its royal neighbor by naming cocktails after the royal family including the Queen’s Swan, a twist on the monarch’s favorite libation a gin and Dubonnet.
The Rubens is part of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, so I also toured their other London properties including Hotel 41, The Milestone Hotel, The Egerton House Hotel, The Chesterfield Mayfair and The Montague on the Gardens. All lovely hotels with a classic British ambience and the friendliest staff at every location. A highlight though was a dinner in the private dining room at The Milestone Hotel across the street from Kensington Palace known to host members of the royal family for intimate dinners out.
A warm welcome at the Milestone Hotel across the street from Kensington Palace.
Other luxury hotels on the London tour included Hotel Café Royal and St. James’ Hotel and Club in Mayfair and SOHO; Rosewood London and The Bloomsbury both located near Covent Garden and the theater district. A standout property I toured was Corinthia London located between Trafalgar Square and the Thames Embankment. An impressive array of fresh flowers greet you as you enter; and the lobby’s gigantic orb light fixture makes a dramatic statement. It’s not surprising that many guests of the hotel are A-list celebrities like Beyonce, Jay Z and Lady Gaga.
My final night in London had me checking into The Savoy, the only luxury hotel located on the River Thames. Upon entering my room, I was immediately drawn to the view of the London Eye. A tour of the property included several room categories but the jewel in the crown was the Gucci Suite, a 2,852 square foot apartment that was completely furnished in all things Gucci. In fact, Lady Gaga used the suite while on a press junket for the recent movie House of Gucci.
Pro-tip: Always try to end your vacation on a high note. Room service at The Savoy with a view of the London Eye did not disappoint!
Having been wined, dined and champagned for the last week, my whirlwind trip came to an end. I was exhausted but also energized and excited to share my research with colleagues. I am also confident that the contacts I made at these outstanding hotels are eager to welcome our clients back and will go the extra mile to make their travel experience memorable. So, whether your next adventure takes you to Paris, London or any where for that matter, give Maupin Travel a call – we know people!