Mentiona “Mandarin Oriental,” and images of impeccable service immediately comes to mind.
My guess is many think of a fan, the characteristic black and white shape, which is the brand of this Hong Kong-based group of international luxury hotels.
Few, however know that every one of their 45 properties creates its own physical fan, which meets the guests as soon as they walk into the lobby and conveys the hotel´s unique personality.
So the embroidered velvet fan, decorated by vintage sequins, pearls and faux butterflies gives a hint what Mandarin Oriental Paris has in store. Firstly no expense has been saved, as the installation was specially commissioned by Maison Lesage, the oldest embroidery studio in Paris, who quilted over 200 hours for this specific installation.
Softly draped fabrics, semi-precious jewels and lace. This opulent style follows from the fan into the 138 rooms and suites of Mandarin Oriental Paris. Sybille de Margerie, the French renowned interior designer has created this sensual and feminine style, which pays homage to the Art Deco and 1930s fashion designers Madeleine Vionnet, Gabrielle Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. There are refined materials, understated lines, and soothing colors: beiges and whites with accent colors of striking orange and deep burgundy. The walls are adorned by vintage fashion portraits by Man Ray, the American photographer, who took some of his best pics in the 1930s Paris.
The theme of Art Deco is almost pre-destined to these central premises. In fact, two of Mandarin Oriental Paris´s wings are drawn by Charles Letrosne, a distinguished Parisian architect of the 1930s who also contributed to World Fairs held in the city. Historical, however doesn´t mean scruffy and cramped. On the contrary, the eight-storey building has some of the city´s largest rooms from 38 to 350 sqm, which feature modern luxury amenities, such as Frette bathrobes and sheets, Fabrice Gillotte chocolate nibbles and Diptyque scented Parisian candles.
All of these rooms have a panoramic window, some even a terrace, such as the most exclusive Suite Royale Mandarin overlooking the Garnier Opera, the Grand Palais and even the Eiffel Tower. So the location is as central as it can be at the premier arrondissement, near the landmarks of Place Vendôme and Place de la Concorde. In addition to these sights, the quintessential museums of Paris are only minutes away: the Louvre, the Decorative Arts Museum and the Jeu de Paume, contemporary arts museum. A more consumerist approach to the cultural capital would be strolling on the nearby Champs-Élysées avenue and popping into high-fashion stores, chic cafeterias and fine restaurants on the way.
Not that there is a lack of indoor dining options in Mandarin Oriental Paris. Camélia, an all-day casual French restaurant spreads into the courtyard garden, and is named after the camellia flowers growing there. The freshest seasonal ingredients are used for their dishes, such as: Foie Gras Terrine with Macerated Cherries and Cherry Gelée, Lobster Bisque with Gnocchi and Green Peas Purée, and Veal Roasted with Potatoes Boulangère and Ratatouille.
Thierry Marx, the famous French chef has revised the menu and lends his name to the other dining spot, too: Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx. This gourmet restaurant received two Michelin stars just six months after opening. They offer set menus of five to nine dishes for lunch and six to nine for dinner, and include classics from Marx´s repertoire, such as Soya Risotto or Vegetal Ravioli. The setting is artistic and cocoon-like, with draped white walls by Heidi Winge Ström in collaboration with Jouin-Manku design agency. A special detail and an absolute eye-stopper is the ethereal light structure that appears to flow in mid-air, and adds a touch of elegance.
One facility which breaks from the pure and light color theme, is the Bar 8. The atmosphere is intimate with warm browns, and dark wooden walls with Lalique crystals like illuminous raindrops. As usual, the most dominant element in the bar is the bar sledge, but this nine tons of brown marble goes into extremes. Originally weighing 50 tons, this block was quarried in Spain, carried into Italy, and chiseled by craftsmen working around the clock for two months. The guests will perhaps take their €26 cocktail checks more mildly, when thinking it is just the “marble fee”, and their donations will support the modern Italian sculpture art.
In fact, one of the few things the guests have been complaining about in TripAdvisor, is the price tag: by a quick search the lowest of €825 a night. Steep even for European pricing. A compensation of sorts is the topnotch service though, which the customers have been praising. Reviewer “Tsaoh” for example said: “Entire staff was courteous, always greeted you and was very helpful.” Another reviewer, “Elizabeth R,” described the service as “impeccable,” and was especially impressed by the staff immediately memorizing their first names. Even more than the exquisite, hand-stitched fan in the lobby, this is what builds a positive character.