He may be 70 years old, but Philippe Starck is very much on a roll. The prolific designer whose work over the years has redefined what a design-lover’s hotel should look like is still doing just that. Earlier this year he transformed a small boutique hotel in Paris’ Marais. Now our latest selection for our series on exciting new hotels, the New Room with a View, is the hotel he designed, Brach Paris, that has managed to bring some sex to the sleepiest of Paris’ arrondissements—the 16th.
The 16th is one of Paris’ wealthier districts but it is also one of the more staid. You won’t find wild nightlife and you definitely won’t be overrun by tourists. While there are certainly luxury hotels (the St. James being a historic favorite), it certainly isn’t where you’d think to find a swanky and sexy hotel that caters to the casual luxury crowd. But Starck and the team at Brach have managed to pull just that off.
The hotel is about a 15-minute walk from Trocadero (where thousands gather every night to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle) in the direction of the Bois de Boulogne. It’s housed in a modern building and entered through revolving doors after running a gauntlet of security guards/bellmen outside. But once inside, I found it to be a hotel where one would have to be the nit-pickiest of nit-picky guests to find something wrong.
The first thing that hits you is the scent. The hotel smells amazing. The lobby is one floor up, and sets the tone with mirrored arched doors and a ceiling painting of black and white. The staff at every stage are some of the friendliest I’ve ever experienced in more than a decade of visiting Paris.
The rooms are also fantastic. Floor to ceiling windows (with mechanical blackout shades) flood the room with light. A switch on the wall gives you stations of curated playlists you can enjoy with surround sound. There are large comfy beds, and a gorgeous sink/tub/shower setup. Even better is that the toilet is in a separate room back at the entrance, and thus away from everything else. I visited in the height of summer and the hotel had central air, which proved a godsend. Nit-picky guests may have trouble figuring out some of the light switches if you haven’t stayed in a lot of new hotel rooms, and if you’re more into soulless spare rooms it might seem a little cluttered with the furniture, decor, books, and so on.
Already, the hotel is a winner in Paris. But what puts it above and beyond most other spots are the amenities. The gym is unlike any gym I’ve seen in a hotel in France. It has nearly everything a standard large gym in the States would have, plus a 25-yard swimming pool, a hot water pool, steam room and sauna.
And, of course, on the roof the hotel has the view everybody wants in Paris—the Eiffel Tower. Need we say more?