Paris is always a good idea, so the saying goes. With all of us now heading into lock down – duration time unknown – I was lucky enough to sneak-in one final trip to Paris to review an exciting new five-star opening, Monsieur George. The latest in a line of creations by the international hotel designer, Anouska Hempel. Audaciously sexy, Hempel injected her daring and trademark design-forward aesthetics into the new property, reimagining the interiors to stylish effect.
Sitting pretty on Rue Washington – named after the illustrious first president of the United States, George Washington – the hotel is a quiet bolthole a stone’s throw away from the (then) bustling Champs-Élysées. From the incredible and attentive staff, to the sumptuous interiors and detailed design touches throughout – thanks to our illustrious Hempel and team whom I had the pleasure of meeting while she added her final touches to the interiors – and I can confirm it is the chicest hotel I’ve had the pleasure of staying in.
Tasked with creating a timeless yet modern hotel, bar and restaurant, offering a “family home” atmosphere within the busy milieu of Paris’s arrondissement, Monsieur George features 46 rooms – each floor has its own style – and three suites. The all-white Franklin rooms on the top floor of this Haussman-style building, open out onto sweeping views over Paris, from one end Montmartre, across to the otherside the Eiffel Tower.
During my stay, I had a beautiful corner room – one the Windsor rooms, named after the Duke of Windsor and Mrs Simpson – overlooking the intersection of Rue de Washington and Rue Chateaubriand. And whilst I was within view of passers-by, it offered a still and quiet escape from the bustle down below. On arrival, I was instantly blown away by the sumptuousness of it all. The lush grey taffeta and grey velvet curtains frame the room with matching silk hand-stitched cushions, velvet throws and bolsters – created by Hempel’s longtime friend Doreen. Gold églomisé mirrored furniture, is de rigeur and everything is made bespoke for every room. The gold brushed brass fixtures stood out against the black marble in the bathroom and the underfloor heated flooring further enhanced my luxurious surroundings. It was pure heaven.
We were given a tour of the top floor rooms which were inspired by lofty visions of floating white clouds. Named after Benjamin Franklin, the intimate attic rooms and suites are designed in gleaming white-on-white with pale grey motifs and cotton curtains from Kerala. The lighting is soft, romantic and very evocative of an artist’s studio. Each room also offers outdoor space with seated terraces and views over Paris and it’s most famous landmarks. Although not yet completed during my stay, the Marly Rooms and suite – a jade-green duplex with its own leafy private garden on the ground floor – will be a haven of luscious greens, inspired by the iconic French gardens of Marly, created for Louis XIV at the Palace of Versailles.
Hempel’s modern style and innovation shine through in each and every detail – quite literally – and stand for what one could call commercial couture. The 24-hour Galanga Restaurant and Bar is a mirrored masterpiece and an absolute feast for the eyes, you can see hints of inspiration from her most recent five-year project in Istanbul, and a palace on the Bosphorus. The bombastic decor features dark green velvet in églomisé mirrors and glass screens, with low lighting creating its very own optical illusion as you walk through the bar and restaurant. My favourite feature – the incredible dark green Morocan Walili herringbone tiles from Fez on the hand-laid floors.
Head Chef Thomas Danigo and Sous Chef Simon created a world-cuisine inspired menu that will constantly evolve in line with seasonal ingredients. Foodie highlights for me: the delicious fresh Cod cooked in coconut milk served with long-stem broccoli; a sensational beef tataki – paired with a glass of Châteauneuf–du–Pape, of course; and a divine YellowTail carpaccio. For dessert, I would highly recommend the deconstructed dark chocolate Ganache and the poached pear with ice cream. The Monsieur George Wine Cellar housed a collection of the most amazing clarets of Bordeaux – my go-to red for all seasons! – and other world-renowned wines with the friendly wait staff on hand to advise on the best wine pairing for each dish. The cellar also doubles-up as a private dining space for those looking for added privacy.
Neatly tucked in the basement is a perfectly-sized gym with modern Techno-gym equipment and a spa with a sauna with beautiful low arched ceilings and ancient bricks – a reminder of the intrinsic history of the district. It was here that I received the best massage of my life – this is no exaggeration! – by Anne at the Spa by Le Tigre. She is their master masseuse and yoga instructor who was fortunately on site for the staff training sessions. She gave me a massage she invented, fusing Ayurvedic and more traditional techniques together, to help clients feel more centred. She magically kneaded away any knots on my upper shoulder and it acted as a form of therapy, I didn’t realise I needed. Le Tigre brings other custom programmes to the hotel, including special yoga courses, fitness sessions, therapeutic massages and other aesthetic services. From your room, it’s a direct line via the lift to the Spa – parfait!
And the cherry on top – the incredibly helpful and knowledgeable staff on hand throughout my stay, who couldn’t have been more attentive.
As soon as the world resumes normal service, I look forward to meeting you again, Monsieur George.
Prices start from €300 per night for a classic double room. For more information, please visit www.monsieurgeorge.com
Fashionistas should book an appointment at Society Room – an exceptional tailoring house reimagined in a former 19th Century Swedish Embassy near the Madeleine. A contemporary version of a nineteenth-century Parisian salon, it offers a line of bespoke tailoring for women, as well as a ready-to-wear collection created by vivacious owner and designer, Yvan Benbanaste. Society Room is one of Paris’ most exclusive shopping destinations and the funnest. Guests can buy everything in the space, from the furniture and art, to the silverware and antique china. Visit with friends and drink champagne while you try on the bespoke garms. Once you’re done, Yvan might invite you upstairs to the Mallard blue dining room where he will prepare and serve a delicious home-cooked meal, paired with some of France’s finest champagne and wine. www.society-room.com