Hotel Recamier

Place Saint Sulpice, Paris, France Book from

Reviewed by Kate Erith
Gracefully elegant maison bourgeoise offering understated luxury and supreme service at an intimate address in Saint Germain des Près
Take a tired 2-star hotel set on one of the chic Place St. Sulpice on Paris’ Left Bank, add one new lady owner with a passion for the superlative, throw in a renovation by the renowned interior designer/architect Jean Louis Deniot, et voilà: the Hotel Récamier.

Reopened in July 2009 by the delightful Madame de Lattre, this 24-room hotel has been transformed into a very stylish yet homely townhouse B&B. Stepping through the door, thoughtful touches abound. The daily weather forecast is displayed - and the umbrella stand is stuffed with parapluies to cope with unpredictable Parisian downpours. Sweep through to the stylish salon, where you find snug sofas and comfy armchairs at tête-à-tête tables set for complimentary afternoon tea, or saunter out to the courtyard terrace for an alfresco apéritif. Drift upstairs to the handsome bedrooms: original artwork adorns the walls, the unique furniture is sourced from brocantes, and every aspect has been sumptuously finished.

Named after Madame Récamier, a 19th-century beauty famous for entertaining key political and intellectual figures, this gracious hotel extends a welcome worthy of its namesake and provides a pleasingly personal reception to Paris.

Highs

  • The courtyard terrace, equipped with cushioned wicker couches and a wrought-iron canopy of large lanterns; perfect for lazy breakfasts or pre-dinner drinks
  • Gorgeous classic-contemporary design; take time to descend the spiralling staircase with its cascade lighting and contemporary artists’ reworkings of Mme Récamier’s bust
  • Outstanding personnel, with service, smiles and suggestions day and night
  • Faultless location in the intellectual heart of the city, on a square that feels both exclusive and accessible - minutes from the Jardin du Luxembourg

Lows

  • In a city with over 10 million inhabitants, space is always at a premium, and the rooms here are no exception (most are 15-20 sq.m.)
  • Breakfast is expensive - if all you fancy is a quick croissant, skip it; but splurge if you're planning a long day exploring the city
  • No restaurant - but eating out is one of the reasons you come to Paris

Best time to go

Paris is a magnificent city in any season. Spring and summer offer the opportunity to saunter round the sights before eating on a restaurant terrace late into the soirée. Autumn and winter present an excuse to cosy up in candle-lit cafés in between cultural forays.

Our top tips

If museums are a must-see, avoid Mondays, when many are closed except the Louvre, which is closed on Tuesdays. Many museums are free on the first Sunday of the month.

Great for...

City Style
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 24
  • Breakfast only (+ walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Jean-Louis Deniot is a young designer with a growing reputation for breathing spectacular new life into hallowed premises - including the Coco Chanel suite at the Ritz. Hotel Récamier was lucky to get him. His bold geometric lines and subtle shades of cream, grey and gold combine with clever lighting and sun mirrors to produce graceful spaces that soothe - a ‘subtle and elegant background’, as he calls it - enhanced by superb attention to detail from Mme de Lattre.

Bed linen is the finest Egyptian cotton, slippers and satin hangers await in the wooden wardrobe, plush bathrobes hang in the bathroom, and the Loewe LCD TV has an integrated iPod dock. Other lovely touches include a proper hairdryer, scrumptious Fragonard toiletries, and a replete minibar for midnight-snackers.

The 24 ensuite bedrooms are spread over 6 levels, each with a different theme. The 6th floor is ‘Black and White’, the 5th ‘Red/Coral’, the 4th is ‘Chic ethnic’, the 3rd ‘Grey/Blue' (think Gustavian), the 2nd ‘Golden’ and the 1st ‘Soft Green'. All rooms are adorned with original artwork by photographer Claire de Virieu or by artists from the nearby Galerie Lumas; shrewdly chosen for their perspective, they draw the eye in and create a sense of space, enhanced by well placed sun mirrors.

There are 4 different categories of rooms, one of each type on every floor. The smallest - and none is very large - is the Classic (c. 14 sq.m.), which faces to the rear, so views are not the most romantic. Next is the Tradition; the only one to have a separate toilet. We stayed in this on the 3rd floor and loved it. It felt much more spacious than its 15 sq.m.; the walk-in shower seemed enormous, and there was space in the bedroom for a reading chair, writing desk and wardrobes. These look onto the courtyard terrace - a slight improvement. The Deluxe (17-18 sq.m.) has a kingsize bed (also possible as a twin) and the coveted view over Place Saint Sulpice. Finally, the much larger Club (25-26 sq.m.) has windows onto both the square and courtyard. For friends or families, the Deluxe and Club can be booked together to create a lavish suite with a private connecting corridor.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast (extra charge) is served from 7am, and is copious. It can be served in the salon or delivered to your room, and is beautifully presented with the finest ingredients. If the weather is fine we recommend breakfast on the terrace; otherwise enjoy a decadently long meal in your room, with silver pots of steaming drinks, airy viennoiseries and baguettes, fresh fruit and juice, yoghurt and cheese, and eggs cooked to your liking.

Complimentary tea, coffee, fruit juice and cake are served in the salon at tea-time, but for all other meals you will have to venture out. The area is not exactly short on eateries, and staff are delighted to provide suggestions and reserve tables. On their recommendation we tried the Café Tournon (18 rue de Tournon) and enjoyed an archetypal French meal of foie gras, followed by confit de canard, and the most divine piece of Camembert (which had been trying to run off the plate).

Alternatively, head 5 minutes' north to rue des Cannettes, which is stuffed full of cafés, crêperies and bistros – if you’re a big beef eater try Boucherie Roulière for excellent steak. Wander along Boulevard Saint-Germain and stop in at Brasserie Lipp or Café de Flore for drinks with literary links. Pick up a picnic at the covered Marché Saint-Germain, or at La Grande Epicerie (part of the delicious department store Bon Marché on rue de Sévres), then seek out the secluded Square Récamier and settle in for the afternoon.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Pass a pleasant hour indulging in the most Parisian of past-times - people-watching - in Place St Sulpice. This serene square, resplendent with fountains and lion statues, resembles a miniature Trafalgar Square (without Nelson’s column, naturally)

  • Stop in at the 17th-century Eglise Saint Sulpice, one of the largest churches in Paris and home of the Delacroix frescoes. It was also the site of the christening of the Marquis de Sade and the wedding of Victor Hugo. Just please don’t enter with a copy of The Da Vinci Code under your arm...

  • Discover how the Parisians look so effortlessly elegant - some of the best shopping streets in the world are a short walk from the hotel's front door

  • We loved the free fashion show (Fridays, 3pm) at Galeries Lafayette (boulevard Haussman)

  • Get a local's perspective by pedalling your way round Paris using the ‘Velib’ bike network (Velib)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Language courses
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Children are very welcome at the hotel but there is only 1 baby cot and 1 rollaway bed (by request in the Club room only). However on each of the 6 floors, the 2 front rooms (Deluxe and Club) can be interconnected and shut off from the rest of the floor, offering an ideal private suite for families.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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