Paris is a city made for wandering and only then does she reveal those best-kept secrets known only to Parisians.
I've endlessly walked down familiar streets, thinking that I know all about them, only to make a turn and discover something new. In this case it’s the unassuming luxury of a very special hotel and restaurant.
Discreetly tucked in a street off fashionable rue Saint-Honoré, the Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal is definitely one of those secrets.
This hidden gem just steps from the Palais-Royal gardens – a much loved location for fashion shoots and key boutiques. And it’s 5 minutes from the Louvre’s teeming crowds.
The Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal is a charming five-star hotel with 68 rooms housed in a grand 18th-century building, with a magnificent façade.
Celebrity interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, known for his swanky renovations of iconic buildings – including the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris – lent his golden touch to rejuvenating the interiors.
The outcome is a tastefully elegant hotel that has opted to preserve its heritage with a flourish of modern accents over being just painfully trendy.
Think Matisse and Picasso prints along with Pierre Frey chinoiserie wallpapered corridors anchored by a centerpiece 18th century iron staircase.
The hotel’s guests are a mix of in-the-know tourists, designers and leading fashion editors during fashion week.
No two rooms are alike, playing on variations of inviting taupe and neutral palettes, lots of natural light, modern furnishings and the occasional Louis XVI chair or two.
For the jet-setting fashionista looking for a stylish stay beyond the usual upscale hotel chain experience, the Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal is definitely a worthy choice.
The cherry on the cake has to be its two luxurious duplex suites on the 6th floor which offer sweeping panoramic views of Paris from Sacré-Cœur to the Tour Eiffel in a sea of zinc gray rooftops.
The hotel's restaurant, Le Lulli, where you sit on gorgeous Bertoia chairs, is surrounded by a secret garden of lush foliage.
Chef Clément Le Norcy, who took over in September, has kept the menu deliberately short – classic French with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients.
His take on succulent king prawns and caramelised lettuce hearts with a drizzle of shellfish vinaigrette pretty much seals the deal for me.
I'm almost reluctant to let you in on this secret spot, private enough for catching up with girlfriends without sitting elbow-to-elbow with fellow diners, and needless to say, also perfect for resting those tired feet between museums or after shopping.
With a two-course lunch menu for under 30 euros, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better or more chic choice in this neighborhood!
Grand Hotel du Palais Royal
4 Rue de Valois, 75001
Pictures: Brandie Raasch, Writer: Wee Ling Soh