After an effortless start to the day at the beautiful St Pancras station in London, my three young sons and I boarded the Eurostar for Paris. Just over two hours later, a simple twenty-minute taxi journey took us to one of Paris' most divine boutique hotels, La Trémoille.
The building where La Trémoille is housed has been respectfully restored to the Haussmannian era, with its elaborate stonework and continuous balconies lining the hotel. In 2002, decorative renovations were completed throughout, leaving an intimate, luxurious setting to be lived in. Located in the heart of Paris' Golden triangle, you are footsteps away from the fashionable Avenues Montaigne, George V and the infamous Champs Elysees; you can also walk to the River Seine in five minutes. Although close to the main boulevards, La Trémoille is tucked away on a quiet, discreet street that gives you the feeling of staying at a Parisian residence.
The fabulous Art Deco heavy iron doors open to a lobby that is both welcoming and elegant. There is a winding staircase central to the lobby that gives you the impression that you have arrived at someone's home, albeit a fabulous one! My boys immediately wanted to run up it, touch it and I had to stop them before they slid down it. Although a friendly environment from the get-go, there was still an air of sophistication one needed to adhere to, which I liked, and which even they respected.
I'll say now that we were the only family staying there that I saw. However, the staff was not uptight at all and instead was accommodating and extremely helpful. The concierge, in particular, made huge efforts to find the right shops, meaning toy stores, and restaurants, meaning a great place to eat entrecote and pomme frite, to suit our needs. Worth mentioning was the museum pass he arranged for me. It is a two-day pass that gets you into any museum in Paris without standing in a queue! Golden and worth every Euro; 37 to be exact.
We had two adjoining superior rooms - 215/216 - and a hallway in between that could be partitioned off from the outside to give you just that bit of extra space. All of the 80 rooms and 13 suites of the hotel have a decent square footage and I was extremely impressed on the quality of style and materials used in even the most basic of rooms. The blackout curtains, and I do mean black out, are lined in silks, flannel and various linens. The walls are textured with gorgeous prints and their use of colour throughout the hotel, especially their aubergine palette, is calming and tasteful. They stayed true to the French 30's look but didn't sacrifice on the comfort, adding extra cushions to arm chairs and lounges and a flat screen TV in every room with Wi-Fi and I pod speakers. The bathrooms are all designed in a classic modern and efficient way; a free standing oak and marble table sink, white marbled floors and walls with several Molton Brown products on offer, and the suites have a free standing shower unit as well as the bath. All rooms have air conditioning.
What I really loved about this hotel was its commitment to excellent service. Coming from a traditional view of service with a separate chambermaid assigned to every floor and a high standard of attention placed on the detail of each client's stay, La Trémoille prides itself on their returning client list. The majority of the head staff has been there for more than 20 years, and they have a very small turnover with the rest of their personnel. That translates to staff remembering your individual needs from trip to trip and gives the client the personal service that transforms a hotel visit into a home away from home.
A fabulous bonus to each room is the service 'hatch' that is connected to the interior of your room and the exterior hallway. If you choose to have room service, which is provided 24 hours a day, and not be disturbed on its arrival, they simply leave it in the butler's hatch ready for you to collect from within your room at your convenience. Naked, running from the shower... so be it!
The Louis2 bar and lounge in the hotel was designed for comfort, cosy conversations and relaxing. The fireplace, book shelves, ebony club chairs invite the guest to settle in and unwind. At all times of the day I saw various clienteles from overseas businessman, to locals, models and a few fashionistas. It was all very inviting and friendly, the energy exclusive yet warm, and I nearly joined in, until they saw the three small bodies behind me. However, we did manage to stay for a while at the end of the day, as the boys loved the pianist playing jazz - which happens daily from 6-9pm. And I think, well I hope, he loved them too.
The Louis2 restaurant has the same elegant, classic modern chic design, with wood paneling and rich embroidered fabrics. I loved the banquettes arranged for optimum privacy housed in wooden frames between tables. Again, comfort combined with luxury and exclusivity. A full, fabulous buffet breakfast is served each morning here, along with lunch and dinner from a talented Chef who creates a simple yet sophisticated seasonal menu.
It is worth mentioning that the hotel has a full service spa offering facials, make-up and massages, as well as a fitness centre housing cardio machines, each with their own televisions. For the business traveler in need of a meeting room, Le Trémoille has two, servicing 8 to 20 people.
Although we were only in Paris for one night, we managed to do a great deal, which I put down to the excellent location of La Trémoille. We took a boat trip down the Seine on the bateaux mouche which may be considered a bit cliché but hey, a great way to get your bearings without walking (something the kids appreciated). Shopping is ridiculously easy from the hotel, as well as eating great food, and we did indeed walk to the Eiffel Tower at night where it twinkles on the hour from 7-11pm for seven minutes. Gorgeous. The Louvre is a ten-minute taxi ride away, as well as the Musée D'Orsay. I'd be lying if I said we did both, but it was possible.
By the time we checked out on our second day, one of my sons sat in the lobby wearing the swankiest of hats, posing like a real Parisian. I think the hotel 'cool' factor had definitely rubbed off. None of the boys wanted to leave. "We'll be back for sure," I told the boys, "absolument."