Definitely hip. Certainly stylish.
From the minute you enter the dark yet swanky hallway, past the veranda with its tropical feel ( a well of natural light and banana trees) to be greeted by the hipster reception staff, all leather jackets and groomed looks, it’s clear – the “National” is the hotspot in town.
With a certain ‘je ne sais’ quoi of Tribeca, that boutique edgy style that oozes out of the cooler hotels, its décor and attitude scream: cool. The vintage style vintage Tatra chairs, velvet couches, leather and wood mingle with aqua tones, well travelled knick-knacks and moody blacks all fitting together perfectly to make this Parisian hotel ‘somewhere else’. It’s not your usual Frenchie style, this is an international mix of global trendiness for the discerning. Designer Raphael Navot did a grand job in the bar ‘L’Herbarium’ and the Italian Trattoria where one can nibble on Italian tapas or regional pasta dishes.
Those in the know head up to the 7th floor, where the rooftop bar awaits. A magical spot it combines everything I love about rooftops – the view, of course but also that liberating sensation of being above it all, overlooking the city without being ‘in’ it – the Eiffel tower backdrop makes it a classic, while the tattooed, Italian head barman and mixologist give an extra edge. And, it’s always good to feel like you’re in on a secret…
The drinks menu is slimline – cocktails, one type of red, white or rose and only Parisienne lagers available but that’s good with me – who needs to spend hours perusing a menu when in a spot like this? The white sofas are ideal to recline in, framed by pretty plants and even in early October, there’s a balmy breeze to put you in an almost holiday-like mood. There’s a good atmosphere – background music, chattering, smoking and drinking in the best of conditions, sitting on top of the French capital rubbing shoulders with the hipster elite.
In the room I’m still thinking of New York. The space is small (they usually are in Paris) but perfectly appointed with a small black desk, dark armchair, comfy queen bed, xl flat screen TV and the right amount of art and books to make the room feel cosy, if functional. There’s plenty of storage space and a nice view onto the interior courtyard of this elegant Parisian building.
The bathroom is masculine – a mixture of black and marble featuring products from C.O Bigelow Apothecaries and – big plus – a good sized bath with its jet black taps and matching plug – now that’s attention to detail! More detail? Everything seems to be branded with the hotel’s logo – from the glass water bottles to the notepad, and the sugar!
With 70 rooms including a 100m2 penthouse, this bolthole in the Marais, is just the spot for a hip weekend away in the City of Lights.
What’s more – breakfast is a treat. From the perfect boiled egg with a skinny baguette slathered in salted butter to the organic muesli, nuts and greek yoghurt served in an earthenware bowls. Perfect with a café and a mini croissant, bien sur.
Hôtel National des Arts & Métiers, 243 Rue Saint-Martin, 75003. Tel: +33 (0)1 80 97 22 80. Rates from 188 euros. www.hotelnational.paris