Whether you are a visiting celebrity or simply want to feel like one, this hotel’s decadent indulgence is the perfect spot for a glamorous Parisian retreat.
By Michael M. Clements
WL TAKE: Located in the posh shopping district near Avenue Montaigne, Hôtel Plaza Athénée has an unparalleled reputation for invoking the art of stylish living. Its red taffeta curtains and vine- laced courtyard inspired Christian Dior starting in 1947 when the famed Parisian couturier began using the hotel as a staging area to attract a discerning clientele. The love affair continues via The Dior Institut – a luxurious all-Dior, all-the-time, urban beauty retreat. But, shhhh, the property is having a torrid affair with another creative genius – culinary master Alain Ducasse, who oversees all food creation (yes, room service, too) in the hotel’s six dining spots, including the signature Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athénée. Made famous in the U.S. as the backdrop of the final episode of HBO’s “Sex and The City” series, the hotel is the perfect high-end romantic Parisian escape. Tip for Budding Mr. Bigs: book the Terrace Eiffel Suite. You can’t go wrong.
LES CHAMBRES: A classic Parisian look dominates here. Comfortable Baroque sofas, chairs, and heavy curtains in shades of burgundy and gold create an opulent, yet feminine fairy tale atmosphere. You’ll enjoy courtyard views through windows openong onto small trellised balconies filled with fresh flowers (red of course). After a long day of shopping, fill the jacuzzi tub, drop in Plaza Athénée branded bath crystals and soak away the guilt associated with buying a few $5,000 minaudières. No hotel in the world can match the stunning floor-to-ceiling window view of the Eiffel Tower from the Terrace Eiffel Suite. Guests can luxuriate in the cosseted confines of the pink and gray hued suite with a baby grand piano, state-of-the-art 3D HD TV, and matching walk-in closets.The best view is from the private rooftop terrace of the Suite Royale where for about $15,000 per day you can have a 360- degree view of Paris all to yourself.
AU RESTAURANT: Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée is an impressive 5-star dining experience, but at La Cour Jardin in the hotel’s open-air courtyard, the vegetable dishes are pure genius and the setting is quiet, quaint and romantic. Tip: Don’t try to make reservations in December and January when it is transformed into an ice-rink. For the late night set, Le Bar Du Plaza Athéneé is notable for a sexy vibe and inventive designer cocktails. Scroll through the digital menu and try concoctions such as the Fashion Ice.The bar is a local haunt for the beau monde, many of whom store personal bottles on site. If you’re lucky, you might meet the owner of the $35,000 bottle of Louis XIV cognac. With decor directly inspired by the ocean liner Normandie, Le Relais Plaza is a bistro where chef Philippe Marc interprets Alain Ducasse’s culinary savoir faire, offering a traditionally authentic cuisine with a modern twist.The street-side café, La Terrase Montaigne, designed by Patrick Jouin, is the place to see and be seen on the most fashionable avenue in Paris. It’s open from midday to 8 p.m. and caters to shoppers on the run or those who prefer to simply linger discreetly in their chunky Chanel sunglasses.
LE SPA: The Dior Institut opened in 2008 and specializes in active life or multi-day options. Treatments include massages and micro- dermabrasion procedures using Dior’s coveted anti-aging concentrates.
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