“Grand hotel just off the Champs Elysées that effortlessly demonstrates the gracious art of living à la française”
The 43 rooms and 14 suites are arranged over 8 floors, with a choice of over a dozen styles and sizes. All have fabulous antique furniture, luxurious fabrics in damask and silk, crisp cotton Frette sheets and the plumpest of pillows. But they're also very practical, with ample cupboard space for all those posh frocks (either in large antique armoires or built in wardrobes); and the turn-down service touchingly includes the next day's weather forecast. And there's no shortage of modern technology: 2 telephone lines, an i-pod dock, Nintendo Wii, complimentary WiFi, cable and satellite flatscreen TV/DVD...
Most bathrooms are dressed from top to toe in gleaming marble, with iroko-wood fittings, fluffy robes and towels, and bespoke toiletries from Contemporel.
For ancien regime grandeur, splash out on one of the vast Executive Suites. The Emile Wolf suite is named after the hotel’s creator, and features a vast living room, a grand piano, and a balcony. Overlooking the garden is Boris Pastpukhoff, with a spacious salon and (like the others) a kingsize bed which can divide into 2 singles. Felix Ziem has a walk-in dressing room and views towards the Sacré Coeur from its large balcony.
The Deluxe Suites have a more intimate feel. Some are upholstered in vivid red silk, while others are decorated in pastel-and-purple, yellow-and-gold or a subtler paprika shade. One of these suite looks towards the Eiffel Tower and Sacré Coeur. Junior Suites are very similar, both have living rooms, the only difference being that they’re a little smaller and overlook the garden.
The grandest suite of them all is the Presidential Suite Marlène Dietrich. It’s on the fourth floor where the legendary actress lived for 3 years, is festooned in lilac (her favourite colour) and boasts a fireplace, a grand piano, and views over the Parisian rooftops from the balconies.
If you're on a less regal budget, the Prestige, Deluxe, Superior and Single Rooms feature the same luxurious touches as the suites (tall ceilings, plush fabrics, modern bathrooms), with kingsize or twin beds. They're smaller than the suites, of course, but only the Single Rooms could be considered small, at about 260 square feet (25 sq.m.). Most others can take an extra bed, and many rooms interconnect, which could be useful for families - though for some reason children are not allowed in Superior Rooms.
Bear in mind that streetside rooms can experience some noise in the mornings although their windows are double-glazed and few guests notice; garden-side rooms are quieter.
The Oriental-influenced dining salon leads off Le Grand Salon and overlooks the courtyard garden. Here, from 7 to 10.30am, you'll find a delicately presented breakfast buffet. Besides the usual pastries, cereal and cold cuts, you get homemade jams, seasonal fruit salads and delicious little pots of rice pudding with apple compote or fjord with crushed raspberries. If that all sounds too dainty, you can order a full petit dejeuner anglais of eggs, bacon, tomato, mushrooms and sausages.
The award-winning restaurant, La Table du Lancaster, offers lunch from 12.30 to 2 and dinner from 7.30 to 10pm. Three-star Michelin chef Michel Troisgros has invented a "creative, elegant and light menu" organised into six themes, such as zesty (eg tartare of john dory and celeriac), piquant (eg sautéed frogs legs with tamarind and cauliflower), sweet (eg hot lime souffle with honey sauce) or sour (eg conchiglioni stuffed with ricotta, spinach and basil). Don't be surprised if your waiter talks about 'the wit of the tomato' or the 'playfulness' of crayfish escabèche with smoked anchovies and aubergine. You can mix your themes if you wish, or opt for the notes acidulées, a six course menu for the entire table.
Two notes pratiques: the restaurant closes annually from 23 July to 22 August; and cocktails, hot chocolate, high tea, lights meals and tapas are served in Le Grand Salon.
If you fancy dining out, big-name eateries on your doorstep include the triple Michelin-starred Pierre Gagnaire, the famous wine list of Taillevent, and Lasserre which is decorated in the style of a 1930's liner. Booking ahead is essential at all three. For something more modest, ask for the list of bistros, brasseries and other recommended restaurants at the front desk.
Paris has more world-famous sights than you can shake a stick at: the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Sacré Coeur, Notre Dame, Jardins du Luxembourg, Montmartre, Les Tuileries, Pompidou Centre and the Place de la Concorde, to name but a few (and let's not forget Versailles). The hotel's excellent reception staff know Paris by heart and will book tickets or give advice on almost any sight.
But, quite apart from these, don't overlook...
Children aged 0-6 stay for free on extra bed in parents' room (categories Deluxe or above); thereafter they are charged as adults. Some of the Lancaster suites have sofabeds and a second bathroom. Baby cots and babysitting are available.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Teens (over 12)
Some Prestige and Deluxe rooms interconnect. A number of suites have a sofabed, while all suites have room for an extra bed and a baby cot. Children are not allowed in the Superior Rooms
Babysitting available by arrangement
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking