Along the storied Boulevard Les Capucines, a 1917 Art Nouveau edifice breathes history.
Its turquoise facade is a paragon of Belle Èpoque design. Marble slabs and embossed geometric motifs surround a large gilded doorway. Just above it, arched bay window panels and copper and wrought iron balconies are trimmed with ornate floral patterns.
As Kimpton’s official foray into France, the St Honoré Paris outpost is a debut to remember. Its facade is as bold as its entrance into one of Europe’s most competitive hospitality scenes. And, as we discover during our stay, the hotel is fuelled by the Kimpton magic of merging historic charm with the energy of a boutique bolthole.
Art Deco Showpiece
Let’s start with the bones. A heritage building, it is formerly the upscale department store of Samaritane de Luxe. Kimpton took five years to complete this restoration, which also involved connecting three individual buildings of offices and apartments.
In restoring the property, architect Charles Zana wanted to honour its original glamour. The imposing interiors, the hallmark of classic Parisian department stores, were kept. Step inside and you’ll be greeted by the majestic wrought iron and wooden elevators, and a grand revolution spiral staircase that leads to the mezzanine-levels galleries.
To re-energise the space, Zana injected 1930s Art Deco elements into classic period decor with copper and brass fixtures as well as accents of lightness for a contemporary spin. The floor’s geometric patterns echo the hotel’s marble and glass facade. In its social spaces of the Living Room and Library, tulle woven with gold threads is hung over two floors to resemble the metal framework outside.
Zana worked with traditional French craftsmen, such as Pierre Masguich for ceramics and mosaics, and Le Manach, a renowned textile manufacturer. He also selected artwork that alludes to the property’s prestigious past – a marker of respect for the Coqnac-Jacq family, the original owners of Samaritane de Luxe who were also art collectors.
Where the lobby is Old-World grandiose, the rooms are light-filled crash pads designed to resemble Parisian apartments. Art Deco design is reinterpreted in subtler elements of panelling, woodwork and mouldings. Rest is the focus here, with calming whites, taupes and splashes of bold colour complemented with gentle, organic curves in the furnishings. In the bathroom, carrara marble and stained glass panels in the shower are prominent features. A personal touch we loved in our room were the fascinating biographies of contemporary artists such as David Bowie, Ai Wei Wei and David Hockney.
A Casual Affair
When Bill Kimpton started the brand, he was determined to offer high-end hospitality without rigid standards and elitism. “Luxury without the fuss” was his motto and it became the group’s core code, along with a focus on human connection.
Proof of this is in the convivial atmosphere of St Honoré Paris. We, along with the other guests, are greeted like friends by staff who remember our personal preferences and anecdotes. The formalities are also toned down. There are no starched uniforms here. Instead, staff wear casual polo shirts and relaxed trousers that often has us mistaking them for guests.
True to tradition, the hotel holds the Kimpton Social Hour at its Mezzanine Library between 5pm and 6pm, where drinks and snacks are served for guests to mingle or warm up before a game of backgammon. Public spaces are also designed for conversations in comfort, with their open concepts, large couches and armchairs.
While this Kimpton may be a large-scale property, it maintains a boutique feel with its approach to local-led brands and experiences. The in-room snacks are a selection of curated products by young French artisans. For guest toiletries, the hotel has partnered with Codage Paris, a high- performance local skincare brand that offers recyclable packaging and plastic-free content. It is also the partner of the hotel’s spa, which is home to the MyCodage laboratory where clients can customise bespoke formulas after a skin diagnosis.
As a luxury lifestyle hotel, services are designed to make you feel at home. Guests can take advantage of the bicycles, gleaned from a partnership with a nearby family- owned shop, in the lobby to explore the capital. There are thoughtful gestures everywhere to make everyone feel included, from yoga mats and Bluetooth speakers to a kid’s programme.
Your four-legged friends will feel at home as well, based on Kimpton’s policy, and will receive Dog Macarons by luxury dog treat company Bonne & Filou upon arrival.
Built for Buzz
One key point of difference for this Parisian property is its anchor to its American roots. Its restaurant, Montecito Restaurant Bar, brings Palm Springs to Paris with Californian cuisine of fresh, seasonal and healthy plates and interiors that merge French and Hollywood glamour.
On the menu, expect things like acai, kale, oat milk and biodynamic Californian wines. The weekends are the buzziest for the restaurant, with show cooking, live music and DJ sets best enjoyed over signature bourbon cocktails.
Head up to the rooftop bar, Sequoia, to take in the Paris panorama. The busy bar draws in coiffed locals and tourists with live music from Thursdays to Saturdays. The menu is kept tightly curated, with only six cocktails and wines and champagnes as well as tapas.
The only downside? As with all good rooftop bars in the city, it needs a reservation months in advance. While Sequoia was closed on our visit due to bad weather, we came up just in time to catch the sun dipping over the Paris skyline and the Eiffel Tower. Kimpton St Honoré Paris has a plum location on one of the busiest boulevards in Paris. It’s situated minutes away from the Palais Garnier opera house and Place Vendôme. It’s also ideally positioned for high-end shopping, with flagship stores of luxury houses and Galeries Lafayette a hop, skip and a jump away.
There is so much to see around the hotel, so stay a few days and make yourself at home. This is a place you’ll want to come back to time and again.
Kimpton St Honoré Paris, 27 – 29 Bd des Capucines, 75002 Paris, France
This story first appeared in the October 2022 issue of Prestige Singapore