Suite 241 at Le Royal Monceau: Is this the Chicest Suite in Paris Right Now?

© Ambroise Tézenas

Classical French meets the 21st Century with wit and opulence at the Philippe Starck–designed Le Royal Monceau.

Let me be totally frank: This suite is not for everyone. Forget that it is immense (three bedrooms, two living rooms, an entire hallway of dressing rooms, and its own kitchen) or that the decor is très particular (the photographs in the mirrored dining room are by Marie Maillard). And as for the nightly tab, it could gag even Marie Antoinette. More later.

However, as an example of modern 21st-century French decor, Suite 241 at Le Royal Monceau is a case study in perfection. A bit of history: Qatari Diar, headquartered near Doha, helped reopen Le Royal Monceau as part of the Raffles brand in 2010. Two years later, Le Privé, housing five very grand apartments on five floors, opened in an adjoining but separate building. Three of those suites occupy their own floor, the two others are a mix of suites and rooms, able to be transformed from one to three bedrooms depending on need and budget. Le Privé has its own separate entrance (god forbid Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who brought their own furnishings from L.A. and decamped here for a month, should enter through the hotel’s public lobby), separate elevator, and totally personalized service. Two of the apartments have their own gym; they all have their own fully equipped kitchens.

The creative mastermind behind the hotel and Le Privé is Philippe Starck, who seems to be the go-to designer of both the haute and the hot, from hotels to restaurants. Though the top-floor penthouse Katara Suite with its fashionably “moderne” look may be most recognizably Starck, our personal favorite is Suite 241, pictured here. Grandly sophisticated, it’s a mix of classical French and Louis XVI meets the 21st century, remixed by Starck with wit and opulence. Take, for example, his materials. The furniture: Nothing so familiar as gold-leaf. But rather silver-leafed, adding the unexpected and bringing a very polished, contemporary finish to the room. The colors throughout are gray and white, the trademark palette of Dior whose offices are down the street, and a perfect backdrop for Starck’s red-velvet chairs.

What works here is Starck’s restraint. The cute and the kitsch have been banished; instead, one finds a rigor and discipline sometimes lacking in the designer’s work. (Out are those shallow sinks Starck first introduced at the Royalton in New York City that splatter and splash all over the place.) Then there’s the attention to detail: Bed linens are taupe cotton sateen, custom-made for the apartments by one of the great French artisans, Garnier-Thiebaut. Another grand house, Henryot & Cie, did the fabrications for the sofas. All the crystal lighting fixtures—of which there are many—are from Aristide Najean of Murano.

The best part about staying here, though, is that you can enjoy the hotel—or not. You can literally never leave your room. But what a shame to miss the classy gift shops, Le Royal Eclaireur and Art Bookstore, with their books, artisan glass, even Jean-Michel Basquiat candles; they surpass the cult favorite Colette for the new and chic. There’s the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, Il Carpaccio; the largest hotel pool in Paris (adjacent to the supremely satisfying Clarins spa); Viñales Club, a cigar room and lounge; and the fact that there is art everywhere, including a vast collection of plates designed and signed by artists à la Picasso.

As for the price? Suite 241 is $25,000 a night. But don’t despair, a one bedroom in Le Privé starts at a mere $2,360. At 37 Ave. Hoche; 33/1-42-998-836; leroyalmonceau.com.

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Image credit: © Ambroise Tézenas

 

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