Travel 2 minutes 08 April 2024

Inside Room 311 of the Only Three Key Château in Paris

The 'Piano Suite' is an exclusive oasis atop a completely singular Parisian manor.

In 2024, The MICHELIN Guide is announcing the first ever MICHELIN Keys – a brand new distinction that recognises the most outstanding hotels across the world. The Saint James Paris is one of the few Three Key selections in Paris. Find our selection team’s official take here.

And below, take a peek inside one of this hotel’s signature spaces.

Above: Scenes from room 311
Above: Scenes from room 311

The Space:

Room Number 311, one of eight prestige suites at the Saint James Paris.


The 16th arrondissement: an upscale, residential neighborhood, a ten minute drive from the Eiffel Tower.

Who Stays Here:

Honeymooners, royalty, celebrities... For good reason, this is one of the more expensive rooms in our selection.

What It’s Like:

A masterful French designer’s dreamscape. Open the door to room 311 and you squint against the bright white light of the suite’s own winter garden, sun streaming in through the glass roof. It’s a fitting complement to the glorious garden outside — another miraculous anomaly in Paris. Built in 1892, the Saint James is the only honest-to-god château hotel in the city, and it was once the enviable dorm space for university students on special scholarship. Once it became a private club in the 1980s, the architect added a glass roof to the attic to make for more pleasant bedrooms.

Mission accomplished. In the sun-filled winter garden, you find large green plants and a distinctive, mushroom-inspired ceramic sconce, a suitable touch in a design scheme intended by star designer Laura Gonzalez to feel like a time machine through centuries of French design.

Greek-style busts complement the building’s Neoclassical roots as they survey their domain from waist-high pedestals, while bold lamps, sofas and chairs collect the best of Art Deco shapes and colours.

All this and it never feels busy — even with the piano, a feature unique only to room 311. Just don’t spend all your time here, as the rest of the building is just as fantastical.

Above: The hotel restaurant and the "Chanel" staircase
Above: The hotel restaurant and the "Chanel" staircase

The Background:

This is the only hotel in Paris that fits the definition of a classic, country-style château, and its existence is extremely unlikely. Just look at the gargantuan lobby for your proof — it has absolutely no practical reason to exist. That it does is only because the widow of former president Adolphe Thiers used her fortune to build it as an ode to her husband, and spared no expense in his memory.

Every time we look up at the neoclassical facade we’re a little more in awe, but it’s the gardens — and the 5,000 square meters of green space — that make the setting. There are posh little mansions on gorgeous grounds all across the French countryside. This one’s just down the street from the Arc de Triomphe.

Here's a hint:

Skip the elevator and marvel up the Chanel staircase instead. Coco Chanel had a similar mirror-lined staircase in her studio, and she’d stand at the top to watch her audiences and models without being seen herself. Here, it’s not models that fill the mirrors, but a dazzling red carpet, its Art Deco pattern an energetic contrast to the rest of 19th-century mansion’s pillars and balustrades.

Room Service?

The Michelin-Starred restaurant, Bellefeuille, is open to the public only on weekdays, and even then for just two hours and fifteen minutes. When you’re a guest (or a member of the private club) you’ll have access to breakfast and lunch. That said, the dishes from Bellefeuille are only served in the restaurant itself — room service is a specific menu, available 24/7.

Above: The library, a Budoir room type, and a view from the garden
Above: The library, a Budoir room type, and a view from the garden

How to book it immediately:

Head over to the hotel page and select a prestige suite (add a special note at checkout to request the piano suite).

If you can't:

Every room is remarkable; and all follow the same principles of design put in place by Laura Gonzalez. Of special note: four fully serviced luxury apartments in a villa next door. Or, a Boudoir room for a significantly more affordable rate.

Hero Image: Saint James Paris – Paris, France


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