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Hôtel Plaza Athénée: A Haute Couture Haven in Paris

Embrace old-world elegance, Parisian glamour and unparalleled views of the Eifel Tower at the legendary Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris 

Recognisable by its iconic lipstick-red awnings, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée is located on Avenue Montaigne, one of Paris’ most luxurious rows. Neighbours include Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Valentino and Prada, which sets the tone for a building synonymous with Haute Couture glamour, where both discretion and tradition are key.

For over a century, the Plaza has been a fashionable playhouse for the rich and regarded: Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly and Rudolph Valentino were all regular guests, while Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton once booked into the Royal Suite for six months. Christian Dior namechecked the grand location as his favourite in Paris, and opened his flagship boutique across the road in 1947.

HBO fans may also recall when Carrie Bradshaw famously took a tumble in the marble-clad lobby in the final episode of Sex and the City, and posed on her Art Nouveau balcony against a picturesque view of the Eifel Tower, trimmed in red geraniums.  

The prestigious hotel is one of eight in Paris with the distinguished ‘Palace’ super-star status, one degree higher than five-star. 

Elegant, Regency-style French rooms are swathed in plush velvet and taffeta trimmed in gilt and gold. Every detail, from the fresh bedside bouquets to the glittering marble bathroom exudes luxury of the highest degree. 

Punctilious staff operate with the upmost discretion; no ask is too great or too late, be it a fresh flute of champagne to your bedroom at 3am, or a selection of feather fancies from the pillow menu.   

In contrast to the historic upper floors, the street level cocktail bar, Le Bar du Plaza Athénée has recently undergone a lavish, ultra-modern redesign, characterised by a draped ceiling canopy in electric International Klein Blue. On a Friday evening, the after-dark hangout is awash with hip, young Parisians, unusual for a hotel of such historic grandeur.

The sparkling two Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse restaurant is decked out with plush, space-age banquet pods (inspired by serving bells), beneath a spectacular crystal-drop chandelier centrepiece. It truly is one of the most opulent places in Paris. 

The haute couture theme runs right down to the Dior Institut spa, the only one of its kind in city. The marble-clad, celestial haven features six treatment rooms and a serene, relaxation space, swathed in silver and mauve. 

Following a one-on-one consultation, I enjoy a tailor-made, rejuvenating facial, complete with a posture-building back massage and thick ‘n’ creamy, exfoliating peel. 

Cocooned in the world of Dior beauty, I challenge anybody to resist the soothing, serene appeal of this glamour-soaked spa. Just the ticket to set yourself up for a night of cocktails and people spotting upstairs at Le Bar du Plaza Athénée. 

25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, (+33)1 5367 6665