Richard Nahem's Tale of Two Luxury Hotels: Royal Monceau and Le Pavillon des Lettres


Le Pavillon des Lettres

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (, and also writes a popular insider's blog

Luxury comes in many forms and in Paris it can be over the top glitz or restrained and refined. Here are two hotels, one brand-new and one newly refurbished that are the epitome of Paris luxe.

Le Royal Monceau

Opened in 1928, Le Royal Monceau Hotel immediately established itself as a magnet for the rich and powerful. It has not been a stranger to presidents, politicians, and celebrities and is steeped in history with former guests including President Eisenhower, Ho-Chi Minh— who stayed in the hotel for five months in 1947 forging the relationship between France and Vietnam— and David Ben Gourion and Golda Meier (who negotiated the Declaration of Independence for the new state of Israel).

Closed in 2008, the Raffles Hotel Group took it over and refurbished for it for two years to the tune of over $100,000,000. Designed by Philipe Starck, the hotel has chic trendy look to it, as one would expect with Starck at the design helm. It now has 150 rooms, 54 suites, and 10 apartments in a separate building. The My Blend spa by Clarins will open in 2011 and the hotel has the largest indoor pool in Paris. Restaurants include La Cuisine Palace Bistro run by Laurent Andre, formerly working for Alain Ducasse, and Il Carpaccio, with Sicilian cuisine. A unique service called Art Concierge provides guests with advice on top art auctions and contemporary art exhibits.

Now Open
Le Royal Monceau
37 Avenue Hoche, 75008
1 42 99 88 00?

Le Pavillon des Lettres

C is for clever, as the new hotel Le Pavillon des Lettres uses the letters of the alphabet to name its 26 rooms. Each letter represents a famous writer - A for Hans Christian Andersen, B for Charles Baudelaire, H for Victor Hugo, P for Marcel Proust, and S, for Shakespeare, of course!

Located near the prestigious shopping street Faubourg St. Honoré, the hotel is run by the Chevalier family that also runs the fabulous Pavillon de la Reine on the Place des Vosges square. They have stayed with the theme of quiet, unpretentious luxury with lots of comfort. Designed by Didier Benderli, each room is unique, and has lines from the author’s work transcribed above the bed. To give them a modern touch and an effort to become green, each room has an iPad, doing away with all printed material in the rooms.  The iPads will also have access to international newspapers and playlists – from jazz to classical and more. The hotel doesn’t have a restaurant but serves a full breakfast and has an honor system bar only open to guests.


Le Royal Monceau

Opening around November 15
Le Pavillon des Lettres
12 rue de Saussaies, 75008
Tel. + 33 (0) 4 49 24 26 26

So whether you want the hottest, trendiest hotel to be spotted at or prefer a quiet, literary inspired understated suite, you can have both at these new hotels.