Having taken over two 19th-century buildings in the heart of the bustling 9th arrondissement, retro-inspired Hôtel Panache is a quintessential Parisian stay. A bold use of pattern and texture puts this boutique bolthole firmly on the map. Expect spacious rooms and the sort of indulgent Sunday brunch that will send you right back to your oh-so-comfy bed.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £139.12 (€162), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.88 per person per night on check-out.
Rates do not include the buffet breakfast of muesli, breads and pastries, fresh fruit, cold cuts, boiled eggs and juices (€18 an adult, €9 a child).
Hotel Panache has taken great care to be welcoming to disabled guests. The second and third floors are accessible by lift; some rooms have bathrooms adapted to wheelchair users.
At the hotel
Free WiFi. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, Bonne Nouvelle toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
Housed in a corner building, the 40 rooms are all different, with hallway sofas, corner mirrors and triangular desks making the most of quirky layouts. Designer Dorothée Meilichzon’s striking use of pattern is the backdrop for a clean-lined but eye-catching retro-flavoured decor. Room 203 has floor-to-ceiling windows and a small balcony. With top-floor vistas and its own one-hole putting green, room 701 is hard to resist.
Leave bulky plug adaptors at home: the hotel has some to borrow and you’ll save space for a jar or two of something delicious from Lafayette Gourmet.
Interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon is a rising star: look out for her trademark velvet sofas and graphic patterns at the Experimental Cocktail Bar in London and Ibiza.
Welcome. Children can stay in Family (a cot can be added for under threes if there are only three guests) or Triple rooms; under-12s can sleep on an extra bed in Superior Doubles (€30 a night).
Hotel Panache is in the heart of the 9th arrondissement, just a short stroll from the Folies Bergères and the shopping district of the Grands Boulevards.
Most international flights touch down at Charles de Gaulle Airport, a 40-minute drive from the hotel. Roughly equidistant, serves domestic routes and some international destinations. Taxis are readily available; both airports are served by RER line B from nearby Gare du Nord.
A quick 15-minute stroll from the hotel, Paris’ Gare du Nord is an international hub welcoming Eurostar services from London and Thalys trains from Brussels and Amsterdam, as well as domestic routes from the north of France.
Driving in Paris is not for those of meek disposition; you’re better off whizzing around on public transport or seeing the city on foot. If wheels are non-negotiable, park your car at the public Chauchat Drouot car park, a two-minute walk away.
Worth getting out of bed for
Often overlooked in favour of picturesque Montmartre to the north and hipper-than-thou Marais to the south, the 9th arrondissement is a pocket of authentic Parisian charm. Tourists flock to the nearby grands magasins with good reason: a quick dash (or leisurely afternoon stroll) through the aisles is mandatory if you’re in the area. Gawp at Galeries Lafayette’s stained-glass dome, steal beauty secrets from Parisiennes at Printemps Beauté and make a pit-stop at Lafayette Gourmet to sample matcha-infused Sadaharu Aokipastries or fragrant toasties from La Maison de la Truffe. All grand staircase and ostentatious gilding, Palais Garnier is a temple to tutus and grands jetés. Patrons are no longer allowed to explore the opera’s secret spots, but exclusive backstage tours can be booked for five people – if you have €700 to spare. Musée Grévin’s waxworks are just around the corner; those of a more sentimental nature may prefer the Musée de la Vie Romantique’s genteel exhibitions and delightful garden café.
Once the tasty little secret of in-the-know gastronomes, L’Abri (+33 (0)1 83 97 00 00) is now so popular you’ll need to plan months in advance for a chance to sample its four-course menu. Your best bet to try the Japanese chef’s surprising cuisine is at lunch on a Monday or Saturday, for a nibble of his legendary tonkatsu and mimolette sandwich. An English chef and Kiwi sommelier may sound like an odd pairing for a neighbourhood Parisian bistro, but the formula works at Restaurant Albion, where the unpretentious fare is as impressive as the wine list. Popular haunt Le Richer doesn’t take bookings; get there early, flop on the enormous leather seats and take your time with the pared-down menu that changes weekly.
The neighbourhoods’ covered galleries are perfect for stroll on a rainy day; cosy up with coffee and cake in Le Valentin’s tea room in Passage Jouffroy (+33 (0)1 47 70 88 50).
Grab a bar perch at Artisan Bar, a shabby-chic cocktail bar where drinks are shaken, stirred and served alongside mini croque monsieur.
Arriving at a hotel early, before your room is ready, is usually a hassle. In the case of Hotel Panache, it’s a welcome treat.
We’re ushered to a cozy corner of the lobby – adorned with peaks of crystals, art-deco shapes and exposed lights – where a delightful selection of teas and pastries awaits, and the old-world Hollywood treatment begins.
What seems like the whole of Paris passes us by out the window, the crowds moving swiftly through the chill – trying to stay warm in the morning rays. Our bags still sit beside us but it feels like we’ve lived here for days.
A friendly hotel staffer approaches us softly so as not to disturb the glamorous Parisian film fantasy playing in my mind. Our room is ready and we’re directed up to the third floor.
Mr Smith rides the petite elevator with our well-travelled luggage; I opt to take the spiral staircase with the monochrome carpet. Level by level, I hear the hum of exotic languages, and that filmic fantasy kicks back in.
Our expectations are high – Parisian native Dorothée Meilichzon is responsible for the interiors and is known around the world for her eclectic style and custom furniture designs.
We swing the door open to our Double Superior room and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s bright, with floor-to-ceiling windows softened with linen drapery, the busy Parisian streets just three floors below. Our double bed is framed by a feature wall covered in eye-catching wallpaper; a custom brass pendant light floats above. As I glide through the room searching for the perfect place to house my handbag I notice the corner seating nook complete with a set of lilac lounge chairs. Mr Smith is distracted by the quaint desk adorned with personalised Panache stationery (which will be making it’s way home with us…)
At the exact moment my stomach reminds me we’re in the land of sweet treats, fortune cookies appear – one for me and one for Mr Smith. It really feels like the secret messages were written just for us. We won’t spoil the surprise but bravo Hotel Panache: nice touch.
Our new home in the 9th arrondissement is just south of one of the city’s best lookouts: the church and steps of Sacre-Coeur and, after a quick freshen up, we set off to explore it and the surrounding streets – we’re spoilt with cafes, artsy boutiques and local produce markets
As late afternoon creeps up, we retire to what now feels like our private pied-à-terre. The muted chaos from the streets below makes the perfect soundtrack for a well-earned holiday nap.
We wake feeling rested and ready for dinner. We descend the spiral staircase and head out to a local restaurant, a small dose of confusion sets in as we sit down in an empty dining room just before 7.30pm – who knew Parisians ate so late? After toasting Paris with our chilled prosecco we turn our attention to some local cheeses and expertly cured charcuterie. We finish off our meal with a sweet chocolate dessert, a glass of red wine and a fond farewell to our waiter before we work our back way past the tables of food-loving locals.
A slight stumble up the slanted stairs, and we’re back in our suite, the window to our Juliette balcony left slightly ajar as the Paris streets below continue to buzz late into the night.
The long sleep fixes us for another day of exploring. With pastries on our mind we’re out the door in minutes to make our way down to breakfast.
Waiting by the elevator, the success of a girls-only shopping trip is uncovered as housekeeping clears the excess shopping bags from next door. Dior, Balmain, La Bon Marche, Chanel – the whole gang was there. I feel a return trip brewing…
As we exit through the oversized glass doors onto the street we reflect on just how lovely our stay has been. The impeccable service encourages you to make it your home; the sublime interiors have you rethinking your whole world.
Hotel Panache: so glamorous, so individual, so Paris…