MANDARIN ORIENTAL – Paris

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I’m a big fan of the Mandarin Oriental group. I guess I have known them since first arriving in Hong Kong to live and work in 1983 when back then they were 7 hotels. Their flagship property in Hong Kong was very much part of the fabric of the city and still is. Drinks in the Captains Bar; a lunch to remember at the Mandarin Grill; shepherd’s pie in the Chinnery Bar… I digress. Since then the group has expanded to 30 hotels around the world and can rightfully be called one of the top 5 luxury hotel groups in the world.

The ‘MO’ Paris is an exceptional property. Nestled in the heart of the city on Rue Faubourg St Honoré it drew some early intakes of breath with its rather more modern approach on refashioning an older building. Heaven knows how much this cost but the hotel opened its doors in June 2011 and has since become a fixture in the palatial Paris hotel scene. 138 rooms and suites and 3 bars and restaurants and still the improvements keep on coming. I was there in November 2019 at a time when the hotel was gearing up for the end of year festive season and they had transformed the courtyard into a covered winter wonderland giving it a feeling of a nordic forest a long way from the middle of Paris.

A friendly arrival awaits you along with a lovely refreshing glass of champagne so you are immediately at ease. I have known the General Manager Philippe LeBoeuf for many years and he is one of the most genial, gentlemanly hoteliers imaginable – recently recognised by his peers with the Hotelier of the Year award in 2018. He will always be on hand to greet guests whenever possible and I think his personality has a lot to do with the hotel’s success.

More champagne in the room so within a short time of arrival you are feeling far too relaxed to want to go anywhere. The hotel has a decent sized pool (considering its location) and a wonderful health club/spa – not to mention the legendary Thierry Marx running the restaurants so it’s touch and go whether you are actually going to venture out to check out ‘fashion central’ on the doorstep of the hotel.

A remarkable new addition to the property is their new penthouse suite that is genuinely enormous and wonderful. Occupying pretty much the entire top floor this luxury residence can be taken as one gigantic palace or split into two. At the time of my visit it was just about ready to go and interest was already high. ‘The Parisian Apartment’ as it is known has an extraordinary 230 sq metre terrace with a dining area, pergola and lounge area so if its privacy, luxury and location you are after in Paris then look no further. This  is it.

Our delightful junior suite was spacious and totally comfortable. The best thing? The bed by a country mile. I asked Philippe the next morning what it was about the bed that made sleep a deep and meaningful experience. He pointed out that it wasn’t just the mattress but also the state of the art air conditioning and ventilation system. For many of you who have at times struggled with the temperature of your room in the middle of the night well, no need to worry. The solution is in the hands of the Mandarin Oriental Paris and I would put the sleep quality right up at the top of the charts amongst the many hotels I have stayed in around the world.

When you consider the other touch points in an overnight stay I think they are often technology, quietness, bathroom, cleanliness. The hotel scores highly in all these areas. The technology is cutting edge but easy to use – no issues with turning the lights on and off or using the TV. As most rooms face the courtyard we had our window open all night and it was pretty peaceful. The bathroom was enormous and wonderful and the room spotless.

OK Paris hotels are generally expensive but in that top tier of Parisian palaces the official hotel palaces are all around the same price mark and within that band the MO Paris compares well. Tip: become a ‘fan’ and join the MO loyalty programme which brings with it an array of benefits that increase as you stay more frequently, as you would expect. Unlike other large chain loyalty programmes the MO programme is a bit more touchy feely and designed to surprise you with smaller acts of kindness. I’m a big fan.

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