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RIGHT BANK (8E, 9E, 10E, 11E, 16E)
Best Gay Stay
In the eleventh arrondissement, gay-owned H?tel Beaumarchais (3, rue Oberkampf, 11e; +33-1-43-53-86-86; from 75 EUR) is a chic and charming 31-room property with a clientele that's a fairly even mix of gays and straights. Decorated in bright colors and with a creative use of materials, all the rooms have private bathrooms, satellite TV and air conditioning and 24-hour room service. Breakfast is served in a pretty but small patio for 10 EUR or in your room for 12 EUR.
Hedonists will be delighted to learn of the Four Seasons George V (31, avenue George V, 8e; +33-1-49-52-70-00; from 695 EUR, suites from 1,450 EUR), near the vibrant Champs Elys?es (and the beneficiary of more than $125 million in renovations since the Four Seasons group purchased the hotel). It's expensive, but popular: Reserve as far in advance as possible. Expect the usual Four Seasons impeccable service and spacious, technologically advanced rooms (standard double rooms average 450 square feet), many with trippy views of cherished Parisian monuments. There is a health spa, too, for the exclusive use of patrons that offers sumptuous chocolate treatments. Le Cinq, the Four Season's two-Michelin star (previously three stars, but pay no mind to this) restaurant is legendary in Paris, as head chef Philippe Legendre and sommelier Eric Beaumard have received many accolades for their work. If you've recently inherited a Texas oil fortune, Le Cinq is where you should order your first $1,000 bottle of wine. If you want to soak up some of the atmosphere without paying the sky-high prices, pop into the lobby to experience world-famous florist (and Los Angeleno) Jeff Leatham's lavish floral artistry, which includes installations that sometimes change hourly.
Located on the Champs Elysees, The Hotel Fouquet?s Barriere Paris (46, avenue George V, 8e; +33-1-40-696-040) offers an updated take on traditional French luxury. This luxury boutique property is built around an interior garden. It features several irresistible dining options from the intimate Lucien Bar and La Galerie Joy overlooking the interior garden to le Fouquet?s, an internationally known brasserie to the very high-end Restaurant Le Diane, featuring an updated take on traditional French service, elegant but not overwrought. Check into your room, then receive a guided tour of all the features from a hotel butler. The hotel offers free internet service and free complimentary soft drinks in the room. The bath products are Fragonard and offered in plentiful portions.
The Hotel Plaza Ath?n?e (25 avenue Montaigne, 8e; +33-01-53-67-66-65; from 595 EUR, suites from 1030 EUR), which has been recently renovated, is unequivocally one of the finest places to stay in Paris. The service is extraordinary; courteously and without stuffiness the staff will cater to your every whim, even offering a "menu" of five different kinds of pillows. Most of the 188 rooms and suites are decorated in traditional Louis XVI and Regency styles, but the two top floors of the hotel encompass an Art Deco theme that will delight anyone nostalgic for the style and glamour of the Jazz Age. You will eat well here, as the director of all the restaurants and food service is Alain Ducasse, a virtuoso of Parisian gastronomie. The hip and hot Bar du Plaza Ath?n?e features a pressure-sensitive illuminated bar of sculpted and sandblasted glass, whose iceberg-blue hue sets a dramatic stage for the bar's 3-D layered cocktails. Designer Patrick Jouin also included a comfortable loungy area with a series of paintings with deep enough frames for patrons to sit in and become part of the art.
The Crillon (10 place de la Concorde, 8e; +33-1-44-71-15-00; from 750 EUR, suites from 1200 EUR) is a pristine luxury hotel that has rooms with arguably perfect views of Paris. Centrally located at Place de la Concorde from this destination you can reach most of your destinations in a short m?tro ride, and for the ride back every cabbie in Paris knows where the hotel is. Marked by Greek columns in the neoclassical style, the interior of the hotel is even more beautiful than the outside. The d?cor, management, and service at Le Crillon marry elegance, luxury and style without seeming horribly ostentatious. 103 rooms, 39 suites and five luxury apartments are available for guests, and Jean-Fran?ois Piege's Les Ambassadeurs is the hotel's restaurant, well known for its haute cuisine.
Hotel Ambassador (16 blvd Haussmann, 9e; +33-1-44-83-40-40; from 280 EUR) is a convenient and supremely chic address for Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores. Decorated in a fusion of styles that pays homage to the Art Deco movement, in the lobby period furniture of the 20s and 30s is lit with modern fixtures. In the rooms one can choose between classical or more contemporary decor. Guests also have the added treat of a well-known and stylish restaurant 16 Haussmann, located in the hotel. Chef Michel Hache's French cuisine is fresh, innovative, and served in a dining room designed by Sybille de Margerie. Guests can also have something light or just a drink at the equally stylish Bar Lindbergh in the lobby.
The H?tel Astor St-Honor? (11 rue d'Astorg, 8e; +33-1-53-05-05-05; from 350 EUR) is restored to late '30s chic, with high-tech amenities. The restaurant was once very "see and be seen," and although that has calmed down, it is still a great spot to dine among well-dressed Parisians and tourists alike.
The Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel (39 Ave Wagram, 17e; +33-1-5537-5537), with its signature wavy glass facade designed by Pritzker-prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, opened in spring 2009 but it?s already running smoothly and efficiently. This is a great choice for first-time visitors to Paris with its location close to the Arc de Triomphe and all the hoopla along the Champs Elysees and for design buffs who?ll marvel at the elegant, contemporary and airy feel of the property. Be sure to check out the 19th-century event space Salle Wagram, restored to reveal original murals, metal and carved woodwork. Rooms are spacious as well and many afford great views of both the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, especially rooms in the top most floors facing the street. There?s also a terrific restaurant, Makassar Restaurant and Lounge serving Indonesian cuisine all day such as Be Pasih Mepanggang -- Marinated and grilled swordfish, sweet potato and shallots. Try the Makassar cocktail with white tequila, Cointreau, lime, tamarind and sugar cane.
The Hotel Bel-Ami (7/11 rue St-Beno?t, 6e; +33-1-42-61-53-53) is a super stylish hotel, bar, lounge and spa tucked in a quiet street in the 6th arrondissement and around the corner from the lovely St. Germain des Pres church, the famous Caf? les deux Magots, a small art house cinema and many other Parisian attractions. The hotel boasts great service (they anticipate your needs and are quietly efficient), a spacious lobby, a lounge area that?s convivial but never thronged with patrons, a spa and fitness facility, and two large Mac workstations for guest use. Rooms are modestly sized but efficiently designed and include small flat screen TVs and wireless internet access. In summer 2009, the Bel-Ami added three luxuriously appointed suites with Pierre Frey fabrics and furniture, flat-screen televisions, high-speed wireless internet, marble baths and the feeling of having your own Parisian pied-a-terre. The location in the chic but approachable 6th arrondissement is among the hotel?s strongest selling points. The neighborhood is great for people watching, shopping and exploring but it?s also a central point for exploring most other parts of Paris. It?s only a 15 minute Metro ride to the heart of the gay Marais.
A good budget option bordering the northern end of the Marais is Hotel L'Annexe (4, rue Taylor, 10e; +33-1-42-08-23-91; from as low as 65 EUR, check online for the best rates). Formerly the Hotel Louxor, each of the 30 rooms features a private bath, phone and color TV. Located near the place de la R?publique, L'Annexe is also just a few steps south of the hip neighborhood that surrounds the Canal St.-Martin.
Libertel Croix-de-Malte (5, rue de Malte, 11e; +33-1-48-05-09-36 or 800-949-7562; from 70 EUR) is a good choice for smaller budgets. Modern, clean and gay-friendly, it is about 20 minutes by foot from the Marais and Les Halles.