Talk about history. Now a gorgeously revamped 39-room hotel, this building began life in 1885 as Les Bains Guerbois, a public bathhouse with a steam room and restaurant where le tout Paris, including Marcel Proust, would dine. In the late 1970s and 80s, the venue was reborn as the Starck-designed Les Bains Douches, a nightclub stuffed to the rafters with models and stars such as Warhol, Bowie and Prince. When it was forced to close in 2010, film director Jean-Pierre Maurois came to its rescue, armed with a team of artists, designers and architects. His vision: to breathe new life into this city landmark by adding bedrooms and turning it into 24-hour restaurant-bar-club-hotel. There are nods to its past in the airy new rooms, with pool-blue vintage telephones and private marble hammams in the suites. A high point is the bar and brasserie, with its red lacquered walls and sensational water-drop dome ceiling, where chef Michaël Riss produces tasty modern dishes, including citronella-infused skate with pink lentils. Down below, the splash pool provides more than a hint of that old hedonistic magic.
Price: Doubles from about £285
Price: Doubles from about £285
With its creamy stone façade and slate-grey bar and restaurant, this freshly restored hotel is a real standout among its well-worn neighbours on a lively street in trendy SoPi (South Pigalle). It was conceived by the innovative Experimental Group - three childhood pals who founded the Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels and a flurry of Experimental Cocktail Clubs - as a 'Bed & Beverage' hotel. Here, the cocktail is gleefully celebrated, from the gold pineapple ornaments on the doors and the carpets patterned with Martini glasses right down to the bathrooms stocked with Cognac-scented products packaged in mini liquor bottles. Designed by Dorothée Meilichzon, the rooms are uncluttered, with vintage-style furniture, faux fireplaces, original pressed ceilings and colourful tiled bathrooms; mini-bars are well stocked with craft beers and pre-mixed Negronis for that one last nightcap. Book a garret-style room under the eaves on the top floor for the consummate bohemian experience and sweeping views across Montmartre. There's no need to venture far for sustenance: the restaurant serves delicious bistro food (sea-bass carpaccio with yuzu; Basque-inspired cheeseburgers with chorizo) and has an impressive wine menu (200 varieties and counting). The buffet breakfast is a riot of homemade breads, jams and cakes, laid out prettily on the zinc bar.
Website: www.grandpigalle.comPrice: Doubles from about £12
This gleaming white wedge of gorgeous 1930s architecture, which juts out like the prow of an ocean liner on a quiet side street in the smart 7th arrondissement, could be mistaken for another block of smart flats housing the neighbourhood's wealthy young professionals. Which is precisely what Parisian interior designer Jean-Philippe Nuel intended when he revamped this former France Telecom building into a stylish little five-star hotel. The arty pied-à-terre vibe intensifies the moment you step into the lobby, which at first glance has the appearance of someone's elegant sitting room. Le Cinq Codet has 67 bedrooms, all with custom-designed side tables, low-slung sofas, parquet floors, large-scale photographs and abstract art. They include a cosy duplex with a bath beside the bed, and the ultimate showstopper, Room 402, a massive penthouse with a wraparound terrace and views of the Eiffel Tower. There's also a miniature spa (the replenishing Omega 3 Body Polish is great) with an Asian-style heated outdoor whirlpool, and a charming bar and restaurant where simple suppers - creamy vegetable soup, fresh grilled fish, soft chocolate cake - are served on the adjoining leafy terrace. The hotel is also steps away from the Musée Rodin and a short walk from the Musée d'Orsay.
Website: www.le5codet.comPrice: Doubles from about £200
Just a stroll from the Moulin Rouge and on the same street where Emile Zola lived,Maison Souquet is a playful tribute to the glory days of the Belle Epoque when the building housed a bordello. Over a century later, current owners Sylviane Sanz and Yoni Aidan have given it a sumptuous, flagrantly exotic makeover with eye-catching Moorish details and wonderful antiques (imagine Napoleon III meets Arabian Nights). There are 20 deeply comfortable rooms, each named after a courtesan and designed by the increasingly baroque Jacques Garcia (Hôtel Costes, La Mamounia), who scoured the globe for rare fabrics including richly patterned silks for the theatrical walls, curvaceous headboards and heavy curtains. To this sumptuous backdrop, Garcia has added elements of audacious naughtiness: boudoir-style sofas, 19th-century paintings of voluptuous nudes, tasselled lampshades and strategically placed mirrors. After a day of museum-hopping - the newly renovated Musée Gustave Moreau is nearby and well worth a visit - book an hour in the private plunge pool and hammam for two. As it gets dark, you'll find Parisian sophisticates draped over plush red-velvet chairs in the bar, where Kevin Ligot concocts creative cocktails (try the gin with caramelised ginger, lime, apple and cinnamon) served with indulgent tapas from the Da Rosa caterers, who also supply The Chess Hotel. There's no restaurant, but breakfast (order the truffle hot chocolate) served in the conservatory winter garden is as romantic as you could hope for.
Website: www.maisonsouquet.comPPaul Bowyer
The Chess Hotelrice: Doubles from about £270
You'd never guess there was a brilliantly designed contemporary hotel behind the unassuming façade of this revamped private mansion. But step inside the lobby and the chess theme hits you immediately. There are checkerboard-tiled floors leading to a smart restaurant with white walls, which is decked out with lacquered black tables and monochrome artwork. The decor is by Parisian interior designers Gilles et Boissier and has a glossy edge that's not dissimilar to the work of Philippe Starck, under whom they both trained. The hotel doesn't have a chef, but its simple selection of salads, soups, smoked salmon and Spanish cheeses - provided by local outfit Da Rosa - is very good. Tea is a rainbow of mini choux buns from Popelini, one of several neighbourhood food shops selling everything from lovely homemade jams to the organic argan oil you'll drizzle on your salad. Upstairs, the corridors are lined with a cutting-edge art collection, and the 50 minimalist bedrooms - some with four-poster beds - have a restful vibe that makes up for their somewhat cosy dimensions. Best is the top-floor suite with views of the gilded roof of the Opéra, a vivid reminder that this is a prime location for ballet, concerts and antiques foraging.
Price: Doubles from about £135
Price: Doubles from about £135
words by LANIE GOODMAN, www.cntraveller.com