Staying at Le Meurice Hotel Paris has been on my very long bucket list of Parisian hotels for as long as I can remember. I’m going back a few years now, a trip to Paris celebrating my 40th birthday. We were so lucky to stay in another Paris great, The Hotel de Crillon which is less than a five minute walk from Le Meurice. I knew as I peeked inside one morning walking along the rue de Rivoli that I was going to stay here one day. That one day was a few weeks ago where I realised my dream of staying at this magical hotel with my husband: a double celebration for our 30th wedding anniversary and my birthday. Le Meurice is placed in the perfect spot in the 1st arrondissement on the elegant rue de Rivoli bathed in the beauty of the tranquil Tuileries Gardens opposite and just further along from the extraordinary Louvre Museum.
Along this street which stretches as far as the eye can see sits the gilded statue of Joan of Arc on the Place des Pyramides. Rue de Rivoli begins at the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement and ends in the Marais district in the 4th by the Saint-Paul metro.
A History of The Hotel
Le Meurice Hotel oozes luxury and opulence and has a long and illustrious history dating back to the 19th century. The hotel was named after its first owner Charles-Augustin Meurice, he was a former Postmaster who opened a hotel in Calais with the English tourist in mind. The Hotel Meurice de Calais was a hotel with homely comforts and conveniences and Charles-Augustin wanted to bring that same concept to Paris. He did just that in 1815 opening Le Meurice, its original location the prominent rue Saint-Honoré. The hotel was advertised “For the English Traveller, no hotel in Pairs offers more benefits than Le Meurice”.
A few years later 1835, Le Meurice moved to its current location, the rue de Rivoli, which is named after Napoleon’s Battle of Rivoli victory against the Austrian army. The street was constructed in 1806 and later in 1811, its beautiful arcades were created and designed by esteemed architects Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine.
Later, property developer François Corbie acquired the stretch of arcades which make rue de Rivoli so recognisable in order to re-build Le Meurice as we know it today. In the late 19th century, Henri-Joseph Scheurich acquired the hotel, it was under his ownership which saw the hotel become the first in Paris to have telephones in 1889.
Major renovations began in 1898 when new owner Arthur Million put the hotel firmly on the map cementing its place in history as the first hotel to have private bathrooms in all its guest rooms attracting Royalty and high profile clients. While renovations were underway, kind builders took in a stray greyhound dog (my husband’s favourite dog) and was loved so much by the staff, they adopted the greyhound which went on to become the hotel’s mascot and emblem.
Part of the renovations was the majestic and regal Salon Pompadour which is now the Ducasse restaurant run by esteemed Michelin starred chef Alain Ducasse. It’s a sight to behold and reminds me of London’s Ritz Hotel restaurant.
A roof terrace was also created with magical panoramic views of Paris and in 1936 a bar was opened featuring a stunning mural which has been delicately preserved and resides in the Salon de Paume event space to this day. Many years later in April 1997, Le Meurice became part of the Dorchester Collection of hotels which includes London’s Dorchester Hotel. I was surprised to learn that the Great Spanish artist Salvador Dali features in the interior design of the hotel. He considered Le Meurice his second home and I am not surprised to know this, once you’ve stayed at Le Meurice you’re hypnotised; such is the hotel’s magnetism drawing you in, so you never want to leave. Dali’s Avant Garde and playful nature inspired designer Philippe Stark to add design elements with a nod to Dali’s creativity. The hotels’ love of art features heavily at Le Meurice as they launched the Meurice Prize for contemporary art which ran for 10 years supporting up and coming artists. One of which was Zoulikha Bouabdellah whose “kiss” statue features in the lobby of the hotel.
In 2011, Le Meurice was awarded official “Palace” status and received the Luxury Hotel Label from the French Ministry of Tourism. Only a few hotels in Paris are bestowed with this accolade.
A plaque is proudly displayed on the façade of the hotel and if that wasn’t enough to cement this grand hotel as one of Paris’ finest, they were also named a Living Heritage Business by the Ministry of Craftsmanship, Trade, Tourism and Productive Recovery. The Ducasse restaurant was officially opened in 2013 and in 2018, a patisserie shop was opened featuring award winning pastry chef Cédric Grolet; La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet.
In 2019 shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the hotel unveiled forty-nine newly restored rooms and suites. Taking advantage of the time the hotel was closed during “confinement”, the French term for our lockdown (sounds so much more civilised than lockdown), the hotel continued with refurbishment of its rooms and suites. We were thrilled to know we were staying in one such room. I am sure it doesn’t end there, new moments in history will continue to be made at Le Meurice Hotel for years to come.
As you enter the grand revolving doors of the hotel flanked by uniformed door porters, you are immediately taken back to a bygone age, a time of pure elegance and class where charm, refinement, and glamour reigned above everything else. A moment where time stood still and for me that moment was the same as the very first time I entered London’s Ritz Hotel.
That special moment doesn’t just begin there, it starts the moment the taxi arrives at Le Meurice. It feels as if the hotel is alerted to your arrival just like when Royalty approaches because as soon as the taxi pulls up in front of the Rivoli arches, the porters are ready to greet you by name. I reach to open the door but before I know it I am walking toward the hotel and the moment I step foot inside, I feel like I’ve entered the magical kingdom of Narnia where the revoling doors are the much-loved novel’s wardrobe. We feel as if we are the hotel’s most important visitor and I feel I have come home.
Check-in formalities are swift with the friendliest of Parisian welcomes, the French accent I’ve grown to love is intoxicating. While we are chatting, our luggage takes its own journey through the hotel, they are the first to witness the grandeur of a Le Meurice room. Although official check-in at any hotel is at 3:00pm, our room is ready and it isn’t even 12 noon, such a pleasant surprise for which we are duly grateful. Our room is absolutely stunning, the service and hospitality that was bestowed upon us is an understatement, more on that later.
Rooms and Suites at Le Meurice Hotel
The hotel has 160 glorious rooms and suites, each are individual in style but never compromising on quality, comfort and splendour whether it’s a superior toom or a luxury suite. Most of the rooms and suites are styled in the French Regency fashion with echoes of the Palace of Versailles from regal furniture to luxuriously embossed fabrics and upholstery. Grand fireplaces feature heavily in a lot of the rooms not to mention sleek and ultra-modern bathrooms some of which offer stand-alone roll top baths, some are deep and sunken spa-like but oh so romantic; we are in Paris after all.
Some of the rooms recently refurbished are very much in the classic contemporary style ‘switching it up’ a little offering the traveller a different perspective on an otherwise very classic opulent hotel. Views are of the glamorous rue de Castiglione which merges with the prestigious Place Vendome home of The Ritz Paris or quiet courtyards, some overlook the beautiful green oasis of the Tuileries Gardens. The Suites are in a class of their own. With intriguing names such as The Parisienne, Pompadour and The Versailles, they’re unadulterated luxury on every level, unique, magical, dazzling and ornate with Parquet flooring, an expanse of space, bathrooms as huge as your living room and the hotel’s crowning glory, the famous Belle Etoile suite which has its own private lift and terrace with 360-degree views over Paris. I wish I were able to have a peek, maybe on another visit. There are several other Suites available from Junior right through to Prestige all with the same beautiful furnishings, fabrics and luxuries.
Our Deluxe room is the stuff of dreams; resplendent in the glorious Parisian light coming through the floor to ceiling windows, contemporary yet classic in style, it’s a stunning room. Beautiful exotic orchids, fruit and a sweet treat is standard in all rooms, in our case, a decadent chocolate cake by Cédric Grolet.
Our room is the ultimate in bedroom fantasy or as I like to call it, “bedroom goals”. The vast bed so huge it can comfortably sleep four not that you’d want four in your bed but yes, it’s that big! It’s sumptuous and plush dressed in creamy taupe oatmeal and silky white with the finest French Garnier Thiebaut bed linen and pillows as soft as clouds.
The delicate spun fawn-coloured bedspread is as soft as a feather and complements the colours and fabrics of the room. It has the iconic Le Meurice motif embossed on it and to my surprise, it’s completely waterproof; I was alerted to this when I accidently spilled a glass of water on the bed. The water lay there in wobbly globules until I wiped it off, not a trace was left behind, I don’t know why this little thing had me so impressed, but it did.
As, you can see, even before I was able to take a photo of it, Mr A had literally attacked the beautiful cake!
The voluptuous yellow gold curtains dressed the windows handsomely. Beyond, shadows of Parisian rooftops, dappled light dancing around the diaphanous blinds. These blinds transformed at night becoming the most incredible black out blinds you’ve ever seen – a ward of warning, keep them up just a little bit or set your alarm because these blinds are so deceptive giving the impression it’s still midnight even if the sun is beaming outside. For this reason, the curtains are styled in such a way that you don’t need draw them, the blinds offer all the privacy and shade you need. The lights and blinds are operated by tiny switches positioned on each side of the bed.
How do you give justice to the incredible bathrooms at Le Meurice? They’re everything you could ever wish for. For a start, they are a decadent affair, so big and if you’re a fan of marble like I am, you’ll adore the Arabesscato Italian marble in dreamy white and grey swirls.
The bath is so deep with a tranquil waterblade waterfall tap. The stand-alone shower is equipped with a hand-held shower attachment and operated by state-of-the-art digital controls as opposed to traditional shower controls. Bath and care products are by luxury French brand, Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
I loved the bath in our room, water flows so gently from the wide waterfall tap for the dreamiest of bathing experiences especially if you have a glass of champagne at hand. If it were winter, I would definitely have languished in a bath full of warm aromatic bubbles.
The shower is so cleverly designed. It’s like stepping inside your own marble cubicle with a sleek door in between pillars of marble. Complementing the bathrooms are baby soft towels and bathrobes all of which are embossed with the hotel’s iconic logo including the bathmats, slippers even the shower door.
A double ‘his and hers’ sink and expanse of marble tops to hold all your beauty essentials plus the most amazing magnifying mirror for all your make up needs. Not as popular as they once were, bidets. There is one in every Le Meurice bathroom should you wish to make use of it.
Bedrooms are also equipped with complimentary WiFi, the latest in TV technology that includes Apple TV and video games, a safe, mini bar, USB ports which is so welcome especially if you’ve forgotten your European adapters.
There’s even a book all about Paris for your perusal, the 500 Hidden Secrets of Paris by Marie Farman is exquisitely tied with the hotel’s gold embossed ribbon.
The corner study area is occupied by a handsome desk and plush velvet chair with a leather file full of beautiful Le Meurice stationary not to mention original artwork gracing the walls. In-room dining is offered 24 hours a day which we took advantage of on both mornings because there is nothing more comforting than a cup of tea in bed.
Facilities and Services at Le Meurice Hotel
You could spend the whole day at Le Meurice and not want for anything. Whether it’s an hour at the hotel’s fully equipped fitness centre followed by a couple of hours at the Spa or languishing over a leisurely Afternoon Tea. Dali Restaurant is the perfect place for lunch and romantic dinners. In the evening, the lights dim, and the gentle mellow tunes curtesy of the hotel’s pianist can be enjoyed. Similarly, you can sip on inventive cocktails at Bar 228 its rich glossy mahogany wood, deep leather chairs, bronze accents and dim lighting gives of an air of seductiveness, it’s the perfect place to enjoy drinks before or after dinner.
Concierge is on hand throughout the day and evening and will arrange anything you require during your stay in Paris. They know the city inside out and have first had experience on what’s open and what isn’t in terms of restaurants and bistros and are able to secure tickets to Paris’ iconic sights or theatres and shows. Other services at the hotel include laundry/dry cleaning, organised visits and activities for your little ones and there’s even complimentary parking at a secure private car park should you wish to drive to Paris. Pets are allowed at the hotel, staff are on hand offering dog-walking and how handy that the Tuileries Gardens is opposite the hotel, you just know your pooches will be well cared for.
La Maison Valmont pour Le Meurice is located on the mezzanine level and is arranged around a quiet interior courtyard giving the impression that you are outside in nature were it not the glass shielding you from the elements, it’s a lovely touch. The fitness centre has all the latest in fitness equipment so there are no excuses for missing your gym sessions. The Spa is a peaceful tranquil oasis to get away from it all especially after a weary day of sightseeing. There is all manner of treatments available and can be pre-booked prior to your arrival at the hotel. The spa has a steam room, sauna and relaxation room at your disposal.
Restaurant Dali is where breakfast and lunch is served and, in the evening, it transforms into a serene and romantic restaurant with exquisite dining options. The hotels extravaganza is most definitely the regal Salon Pompadour, the scene for the finest dining in Paris thanks to Michelin Star Chef, Alain Ducasse. Tasting menus showcasing the most inventive Parisian cuisine start at around 350 Euros per person with the option of a wine flight at 150 Euros each.
This discreet little corner inside the Restaurant Alain Ducasse appears to have plants growing inside glass domes but I am not entirely sure why, something I forgot to ask the hotel – Just another reason to come and stay at Le Meurice again!
Our Stay at Le Meurice Hotel
From the moment we arrived at The Hotel Le Meurice, it was obvious our stay would be a grandiose affair but as much as the hotel is spectacular in every sense of the word and what you won’t know until you experience Le Meurice for yourself is that every visitor to the hotel is the most important person there whether you’re a celebrity, dignitary or just an ordinary person; it’s evident the moment you step inside the hotel. I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to visit Le Meurice for as long as I can remember and finally, my dream came true in September. After cancelling our trip many times due to lockdown including May which was our 30th wedding anniversary, we chose to book again in September because it was my birthday too. Now that I run a food and travel blog, the desire to stay at Le Meurice has only intensified.
We arrived on Saturday 18th of September, the day before my birthday on an early Eurostar train arriving at the hotel at 11:30am.
Stepping inside the majestic richly ornate marble lobby cemented our first impressions of the hotel; so grand, so classy and so refined. It really reminded me of London’s Ritz Hotel where I’ve stayed many times.
The way the hotel porter greeted us by name suggested to me that this is a hotel that truly puts their guests first. Check-in was a quick process; our luggage had already made its way to our room. What surprised me more than anything was that the room was actually ready, as seasoned travellers we knew not to expect this until around 3:00pm which is the time most hotel rooms are ready to be occupied, “That’s a sign right there” I said to my husband; this hotel is first class in everything it does. We had a Deluxe room which was everything I had hoped it would be. More than that, it was the little touches that sealed the deal for me. Flowers in our room in the form of the most vibrant orchids you can imagine on a table alongside a bottle of chilled Moët champagne, a delicious chocolate cake by Cédric Grolet under a glass cloche which my husband devoured, chocolate is his favourite.
I wanted to take as many photos as I could, the beauty of the room with the sun shining through the blinds was breath taking and the exquisite Italian marble bathroom was incredible. Toiletries by French luxury brand Maison Francis Kurkdjian had me squealing with delight, I have their perfume Baccarat Rouge 540 so I’m familiar with the brand, I’ve never seen toiletries of this quality in a hotel before. A thoughtful note was left for us, it just makes everything even more special when you know you matter to a hotel. Their generosity and kindness really touched us as we clinked our champagne glasses, it was so good being back in my favourite city.
We checked with Concierge about the restaurants I had picked for dinner for both nights of our stay and they agreed we had made some brilliant choices; I’m usually spot on with restaurants in London and in Paris.
The day was spent meandering around the 1st arrondissement enjoying a leisurely lunch at Le Nemours soaking in the atmosphere and the last of the warm summer rays on our skin. I love to just wander around Paris at a leisurely pace, no pressure stopping at a café or museum or enjoying its many green spaces and we were so lucky to have the Tuileries Gardens right opposite the hotel. That phrase “people watching” was coined for a reason!
Whenever my husband and I stay overnight in a hotel, we always make time to have drinks at the hotel’s bar and Le Meurice is no exception. For me it’s an opportunity to relax and talk about our day and our plans and be entertained by the theatrics of the bartenders at work. It’s a real skill creating and making cocktails and an even bigger skill is to enjoy them ever so slowly and there’s no better place than at Bar 228 listening to the hotel’s resident pianist tickling the ivories.
The restaurants we had chosen for our two night stay was Le Bon Georges and Coco for the night of my birthday. We had an amazing time both nights, I hightly recommend both. We met our friends at Coco the night of my birthday for drinks, I always try to make a point of meeting up with Alix and Hugo whenever I’m in Paris and this time, it was amazing that Mr A also had a chance to meet this lovely couple who I’m super happy to call my friends.
Breakfast is served at the Dali Restaurant and it’s an extravagant affair, from healthy breakfasts like smoothie bowls, fruit salads and granola plus indulgent pancakes in the American breakfast or Eggs Benedict, it’s a diffcult choice when your’re spoilt with such an impressive array of breakfast delights. It wouldn’t be Paris if there wasn’t viennoiserie and though the name means “pastries or things from Vienna” the best in the world are from Paris bien sur.