A concept imported straight from London, this boutique hotel is a new generation type of hotel for Paris. Nestled in the heart of the Parisian 9th district, it’s right at home in the neighbourhood well known for its hip and trendy bars and restaurants. A stone’s throw away from Strasbourg St Denis, the Marais and the shopping on the Grands Boulevards, there’s no doubt that the Hoxton is a hipster’s hangout. With that London vibe, and a touch of Miami via New York, the vintage style furnishings, the hip attitude and beautiful building make it a sexy new addition to the usually fairly classic Parisian hotel scene.
As soon as you walk in you know you’re somewhere special. The grandiose entrance has a classic period Parisian façade, but just beyond the sliding glass doors the edgy and contemporary atmosphere has worked its magic. In the “landing” space, complete with period spiral staircase, a cool bar (that makes a mean cocktail) to the right, and sofas to recline, on you’ll have a choice –either head right into the Rivé restaurant or head left towards the small reception desk at the back.
Strolling past the very cool ‘living wall’ the hotel has quickly become famous for I loved the way it creates another cosy space, bringing the outdoors in. Very clever – especially on the rainy night I visit, because although the courtyard is lovely and buzzing on a nice day, tonight only a couple of intrepid smokers dare to be there so it’s nice to have a little ‘jungle’ inside.
Check in is smooth. The staff hip, young and good-looking. Of course. I’m given minimal instructions, which I appreciate. It’s good when everything you need to know is basically self-explanatory. A quick zoom up the lift and we are in room 123. The style is definitely masculine – a gentleman’s chic boudoir if you will. I’m taken with the bulky leather headrests above the bed, and the checked cream and black bedding. The room is a good size by Parisian standards with a small desk in the corner, bedside units, a handful of books and a slender dressing cupboard where I find a kettle, 2 very cool Hoxton branded mugs (which I do not steal although I really want to) instant coffee and tea and milk in a minimalist minibar. The Hoxton doesn’t believe in fuss so the minibar contains essentials like water and milk, and if you want anything else you can get it from reception, at reasonable prices. If you like a million-dollar-Toblerone and a plethora of spirits bottles you’re out of luck.
There’s a giant vintage looking mirror I’d like to take home too, which make the room seem larger, and behind the black iron framed door, a surprisingly large bathroom. The style is a throw back to 30’s New York with white tiles and dark fittings. The only touch of colour in the monochromatic bathroom comes from the funky tiling on the floor. There aren’t any dinky toiletries either, but full size BL_NK shower gel, shampoo and conditioner on hand. No taking those home either!
We arrive just in time for dinner. Rivié, the hotel’s restaurant is heaving. Super busy, it’s super noisy and super buzzing. A real old school brasserie style with full-length leather banquettes and tables packed in tight. The food is French classic. We order scallops with creamed corn, Vendee ham and endives. It’s delicious though there are some unadvertised chilis that make it hotter than I anticipated! Across the table, my DH picks a chicken terrine with roasted pear, hazelnut crumble and mustard. Verdict? Good, plentiful, and surprisingly affordable at 9€. For the main, I push the boat out and order a 300g Entrecote with Béarnaise sauce with their specialty: truffle fries. I hadn’t quite realised how much 300g of meat was but happily finished it off. It was perfectly grilled, tender and tasty, with just the right amount of salt flaked over it. Possibly some of the best steak I’ve ever eaten. Opposite, the grilled octopus with fondue tomatoes, potatoes, capers, chilli and chorizo was also a hit. Even better news, although you can’t have a Heineken, the local craft beer is a pleasure, and the red by the glass from the Luberon, dangerously Moorish… Such as shame there wasn’t an inch of space left for desert!
The bar is uber cosy too, with dim lit sofas, elegant turquoise velvet barstools to perch on while watching the hot staff create a ‘Hox 007’ cocktail (Gin, noilly prat dry and sour sirop) or a ‘Dog Tail’ (rum, vodka, sirop caillaire, mint, lemon juice and bitters) – great names, great flavours! In fact, each cocktail on the (short) list has a name which makes you feel pretty cool on ordering. ‘Eastern Standard’ anyone?
The cocktails, the décor, the DJ – everything works to make you feel you are where it’s at. And more than just Paris, it’s a welcome vibrant blend of cosmopolitan cities so you get an international experience en France.