In the south-west corner of the 9th Arrondissement of Paris, the lucky visitor finds themselves between the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, the wide open space of the Place de la Concorde and the postmodern edifice of the Centre Pompidou. Ideally situated with easy access to all of the essential Paris sights, the centre of this triangle is also home to Hotel de NELL, a five star boutique property from the Charm & More group. Design is, as one would expect in Paris, the beating heart of this hotel but no corners have been cut in ensuring every need is fully and thoroughly met!
Hotel de NELL’s entrance sits beside its bistro La Régalade Conservatoire on a narrow street opposite the beautiful Catholic church of Saint-Eugene and Saint Cecile. The sleek reception desk to the right of the door leads through to a small lounge with tan leather chairs and small booths. With just 33 rooms and suites, it’s a cosy place. Our room overlooked the street below and the rose gold of the sunset slid away across the traditional architecture of Paris as we prepared for dinner at L’Orangerie at the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris.
Inside the room, the design seems to have been inspired by Japanese simplicity and style. Neutral tones and wood have been used extensively and the beds are some of the most comfortable I have ever come across in a hotel. Enormous blackout curtains could be drawn across the length of the room to keep out all that nasty morning light – certainly good for those who have overindulged the night before!
The bathroom was the most unique part of the room. Twin sinks were heavy on the design, lighter on space to arrange your toiletries, but the shower was spacious and thoughtfully tucked completely away from sight – so many hotels assume one is happy to shower in full view of your travelling companion (not always ideal, whatever your relationship!). The bathtub again drew from Japanese design, in that it was a proper soaking tub, rather than a ‘Western style’ lying down bath. For those unfamiliar with the style, the soaking tub is roughly 1.5m square, and deep enough that you can be submerged up to the chest while sitting on its integral bench. Hotel de NELL provides BVLGARI bath ‘teabags’ so you can stew your water to the desired strength of fragrance before you get in. The only downside of the bathroom was that the separate toilet had no exclusive sink, so one had to scuttle back round the bed in order to wash one’s hands…
After a very relaxing sleep, breakfast at Hotel de NELL was ample, with many bread and pastry options as well as free-flowing coffee and a range of egg dishes that could be ordered. I had an excellent croissant, with bacon that was cooked to order, just as crispy as I had requested. We wanted to linger, but Paris was waiting, so we bade goodbye to Hotel de NELL, somewhere that definitely deserved more of our time than the one night we were able to spend there.
Hotel de NELL is a great base from which to explore Paris. Public transport is easy to access and use, or you can cheat and take a car if you’ve found yourself overburdened after a trip to the shops at Galeries Lafayette. In the immediate vicinity, the 9th Arrondissement offers a hip, lively nightlife, quirky shops and historic playhouses including the renowned 1869 Folies Bergère. The local Musée Grévin is a waxwork museum of international celebrities, if the uncanny is more your thing…
Obviously, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum and Montmartre are must-sees but a special treat on this occasion was a trip to the Paris Catacombs, a historic ossuary holding the bones of more than six million people. Established in 1810 to eliminate the cities problems with their overflowing cemeteries, rumour has it that the catacombs became a tourist destination after a group of students anonymously invited 100 local dignitaries to a death-themed concert, late one night in 1897. Nonetheless, the history of the dead is intertwined with the history of the living, and the catacombs hold a fascinating and unique perspective of Paris. Be aware, although a myriad languages are catered for in the audio guides, it’s pretty impossible to manage the 130ish stairs if you have any kind of mobility issues, so they might have to seek out a unique Paris of their own (don’t worry, the staff at Hotel de NELL are happy to suggest something you’ll love!).
Hotel de Nell
7 rue du Conservatoire