WHERE TO STAY
Situated on Rue Saint-Honoré, smack bang in the shimmery centre of the French capital’s exclusive, ultra-stylish 1st arrondissement, the Mandarin Oriental Paris is a fashion aficionado’s dream. Designer boutiques, high end jewellers and perennial places of interest like the Tuileries gardens, Louvre and Palais Garnier flank its perimeters, but stepping through the doors to the breezy lobby - with its hanging Swarovski crystal butterfly ornaments, sumptuous velvet sofas and floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking a verdant courtyard, it’s easy to forget the hustle and bustle of the outside world entirely.
The palatial 1930s building houses some of the most spacious rooms and suites in Paris, which are characterised by French designer Sybille de Margerie’s contemporary aesthetic that fuses French sophistication with oriental grandeur: think rich, jewel-toned cushions and throws; sleek, lacquered woods; haute couture-inspired artworks and ornate vases filled with freshly-cut camellias. An air of tranquility pervades the entire hotel, from the lush greenery of the courtyard garden (delightful year-round thanks to heaters and partial covering) to the oasis of calm that is the softly-lit, mosaic-tiled 900 square metre spa. Even the enormous all-white bathrooms, with their walk-in showers, freestanding tubs and bespoke Diptyque toiletries, exude a special sort of serenity that one would more likely associate with a remote tropical island than the centre of a heaving metropolis.
To further the escapist experience, a visit to Sur Mesure, renowned chef Thierry Marx’s two Michelin starred restaurant, is a must. The space is immediately transportive: with an all-white colour scheme, swathes of pleated fabrics draping the walls and intimate cocoon-like alcoves, it offers an experience that feels akin to dining in clouds. Marx’s menu, an innovative exercise in molecular gastronomy, intends to illicit a profound response from each diner, with dishes that showcase his technical expertise - from the famous ‘broken egg’ with black truffle to flamed Miyazaki Wagyu beef with roasted and smoked pepper. Other dining options include Marx’s Camelia, for a modern take on traditional French cuisine; the super sleek Bar 8 and the health-focused Honoré.