THEPlaza Athenee holds a special place in the hearts of millions of women for being the romantic love nest – then love prison – of Carrie Bradshaw in the final episodes of Sex and the City. Now, if you don’t know much about Sex and the City, know this: the man who took Carrie to Paris was a man of the utmost distinction and wealth. That he chose the Plaza Athenee as his residence in Paris has to tell you something.
So much so that I went there for a night, with a friend, to see what made it the chosen place for the denouement of a programme that was – love it or hate it –all about style.
It is indeed a glorious, glamorous, antique hotel, all the more lovely for being smallish and tucked away on the end of the Avenue Montaigne. A croissant’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, its stone exterior and courtyards are festooned with jaunty red shutters, wrought iron mini-balconies and window boxes. As you’re ushered to your room, you’ll pass the glinting, chandelier-stuffed flagship Alan Ducasse restaurant, with chocolate sculptures sitting in glass cases, and impeccably attired oil barons and their wives sipping tea and nibbling cakes.
Rooms and suites are decked out in plush Louis XVI and Regency style, though two floors sport Art Deco furnishing. A cake stand awaits you laden with a selection of Ducasse’s famous macaroons – pistachio, apricot, raspberry, vanilla and chocolate. Heaven – especially when nibbled at the French windows looking past the trees of the Avenue Montaigne to the Eiffel Tower. Beds are luscious; the bathroom luxuriant grey marble; the bath inviting.
In addition to Alan Ducasse’s restaurant there is another, the Coeur de Jardin in the courtyard which prides itself on its seasonal , menus with a herb garden and a very holistic view of cuisine – it’s excellent, though, showing you ways with spelt you’d never imagined possible.
The hotel has recently unveiled its spa, the Dior Institut, which, as the name implies, takes beauty very seriously. It promises nothing less than to reverse ageing in ladies of all ages using a range of state-of-the-art techniques. This is Paris for those who want super-pampering, super food and super views. Hotel Plaza Athenee, 25 Avenue Montaigne, Paris, 0033 1 5367 6667, www.plaza-athenee-paris.com. Rates from €740 euros for a Superior Room per night.