There’s no shortage of swish hotels in the 8th arrondissement, but from its Parisian perch on the grand boulevard, Hotel Bowmann does things a little differently. Marble, gold, wood and other tactile delights have been used in light touches to give this rather respectable establishment a playful makeover. Forget Baron Haussmann’s straight-laced vision and savour instead the pool in the spa, food from the top-name chef in the kitchen and the postcard-perfect views of the Eiffel Tower.
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A selection of macarons and an in-room bottle of wine
There’s something of the jewel box in Hotel Bowmann’s pale and interesting rooms: expect padded headboards, reflective gold surfaces and bathrooms encased in white diamond-cut boxes. If you’re staying a while, plump for the more spacious Deluxe Haussmann Room, with its waterfall shower and petite sitting area. For a wow-worthy getaway, the Eiffel Prestige Suite has a balcony with unbeatable views of Gustave’s most iconic creation.
Open from 7am for pre-breakfast dips to 10pm for post-stroll soaks, the spa’s marble-walled pool is a sleek indoor number.
The hotel’s bijou spa packs in a sauna, balneotherapy shower and two treatment rooms. Holistic and organic, Lacure Officine treatments focus on inside-out wellbeing. Plump for an uplifting Japanese facial, slimming massages or a tension-busting horizontal shower.
Bring a foldable shopper: an understated Longchamp number will strike the right style note for those spur-of-the-moment buys in the neighbourhood.
Three Bowmann Rooms have been adapted for wheelchair users, who also have access to the restaurant, bar and spa.
Hotel Bowmann is more of a grown-up stay, but cots for under-3s are available in Deluxe Rooms and above for €45 a night.
On a balmy day, the pretty courtyard’s gilt-edged tables are the epitome of Parisian charm.
Liven impeccable tailoring with silk scarves and pocket squares from a certain celebrated saddler.
Open to hotel guests only, 99 Haussmann restaurant refreshes classic brasserie stylings – velvet banquettes, a handsome marble-clad bar – with a scattering of black lacquer and polished gilding. The menu is short, sweet and divinely plated; a feast here might start with scallop carpaccio, move on to calf sweetbreads with earthy jerusalem artichoke, then dither between a chestnut mille-feuille and a tropical tartlet.
Guests can cosy up by the fireplace in winter or take their tipples out onto the terrace on sun-kissed days. Opt for a crisp Chablis, or a cocktail expertly mixed from French spirits.
Open Monday to Friday, 99 Haussmann serves breakfast from 7am to 10am (11am during the weekend); lunch from noon to 2.30pm; dinner from 7pm to 10.30pm. The restaurant is closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Feast in-room from the restaurant’s menu until 11pm; cold cuts, salads and heartier classics (salmon carbonara, beef bourguignon) can be ordered around the clock.
A stone’s throw from Paris’s luxe grands magasins, Hotel Bowmann sits pretty on a well-heeled stretch of Boulevard Haussmann.
Both an hour’s drive away, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly are the nearest airports; the former serves flights from most international hubs.
The Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord is a 20-minute drive away. Gare Saint-Lazare, a 10-minute walk away, serves regional trains to Normandy.
The ease of public transport makes driving in Paris more of a chore than a pleasure.
Worth getting out of bed for
Plan your stay around a shopping spree. Nearby department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette now both open on Sundays, meaning a leisurely browse of their on-trend labels, must-have beauty buys and exquisite food halls is practically mandatory. If you’re in the market for an upscale treat, drop in on the likes of Vuitton, Chanel and Céline in the Golden Triangle, the 8th arrondissement’s glitziest shopping district. Get a culture fix at the Palais de Tokyo, the Right Bank’s paean to boundary-pushing contemporary art. The glasshouses of the Grand Palais house in turn an ice rink, Fashion Week shows and big-ticket exhibitions with the changing seasons. Dress up for a soul-stirring ballet at the ostentatious Opéra Garnier, then head to rue Sainte-Anne to slurp on ramen and sobas in the city’s Little Tokyo.
For lunch on the trot, grab something around the corner at Lamée: the artisanal sandwicherie elevates humble slices of bread with rare hams, smoked aubergine and farm-fresh cheeses. Or pick up old-school treats from Maison Pou (lobster salad, say, or gold-hued pâté en croûte) for a picnic in genteel Parc Monceau. Having left the hipster heartlands to the east, chef Manon Fleury is whipping up seasonal, critic-pleasing small plates at Le Mermoz, which, come nightfall, doubles up as an intimate wine bar. For grand gestures and whispered sweet nothings, rooftop Girafe has bags of 1930s elegance and Eiffel Tower views to boot.
It’s hard to beat the Buddha Bar for pan-Asian drinks, live DJ sets and all-out glitz. The Ritz’s Bar Hemingway is a triumph of tradition and invention: the literary heavyweight, no doubt, would still approve of the plump leather seats and tastebud-tingling tipples. Rooftop Maison Blanche has nothing to do with its stateside homonym; head here for striking views at dusk and nocturnal weekend antics.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this elegant hotel on Boulevard Haussmann and unpacked their Louboutins and silk scarves, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel Bowmann in Paris…
If Baron Haussmann had a vision for Paris, it was of a grand, lofty and elegant city. Set proudly on the boulevard that bears his name, Hotel Bowmann takes its cues from the great urban renovator, but with a healthy dose of comfort and joy thrown in for good measure. Smartly dressed in black and white, the staff would rightly make their Belle Époque forebears proud. Light and airy rooms – zhuzhed with plump headboards and touches of gold – nod to the past but flirt with contemporary design, such as bathrooms encased in bold geometric boxes. Chef Gregory Cohen’s deft and inventive cuisine is making splashes in the neighbourhood (linger a while in the charming courtyard with a cocktail in hand, should you wish to explore the 8th arrondissement’s growing gourmet credentials). And, after a heady day of hitting the nearby boutiques or sampling Paris’s cultural highs, an intimate spa and petite pool await.