Leave the tourists to gawk at the ostentatious facade of the Hôtel Ritz on the Place Vendôme. The smart money is on — and presumably in — the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, just steps away, a row of discreetly converted Haussmann-style office blocks with only a small sign to mark the way.
Here, of course, the interior’s the thing; designed by the American architect Ed Tuttle, it’s cut from the same cloth as his masterful Eastern-modernist Amanresorts or his equally stylish and subtle Park Hyatt Milano. Tuttle’s signature touch makes familiar materials new again — free from futuristic resins or white leather, the Park Hyatt is a vision in beige limestone and dark mahogany, the black-and-tan palette evoking a subtle Zen atmosphere.
Bedrooms are lush, serene but not at all minimalist. Luxurious accommodations are a given in a Park Hyatt; here the value added comes from the inspired design, mixing neutral tones with rich textures, moody lighting and hybrid antique-modern furnishings, classic silhouettes rendered in crisp contemporary forms and colors. Space is plentiful, and the bathrooms are a thing of wonder, hidden behind sliding panels, complete with heated floors, deep tubs and sinks inside the stone showers for smoother shaving.
Guest facilities include a splendid lower-level hammam and spa, and meeting rooms, lounges and salons are plentiful — the Park Hyatt’s public spaces are meant to be used, and are nearly as exquisite as the guest rooms. The cuisine is haute modern French, as expected, and cocktails can be taken in the bar facing the interior courtyard, itself an unexpected outdoor interlude in the heart of Paris.
As for the location: no hotel in Paris is truly central, but from the Place Vendôme, the best the city has to offer is close at hand — there are worse fates than to be situated within walking distance of the shops along Avenue Montaigne and the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, along with such familiar sights as the Champs-Elysées and the Place de la Concorde.