Where to stay: FRANCE
#dnahotels #inspirationalhotels Authentic. Soulful. Charm. Design. Indie. Local.
Paris & Ile-de-France
Alpes - French Alps
Bourgogne - Burgundy
Bretagne - Brittany
Centre - Val de Loire
Champagne - Ardenne
Côte d'Azur - French Riviera
Lyon & Rhône
Normandie - Normandy
Pays de la Loire | Loire Valley
Poitou - Charentes
Château Voltaire | Paris 1e
In the former headquarters of entrepreneur Thierry Gillier’s fashion brand Zadig & Voltaire is his new venture, one of the French capital’s best new hotels. The 32-key building on Rue Saint-Roch is the work of French interior design company Festen and art director Franck Durand. And it’s a real treat. The mood of the restaurant Brasserie Emil feels like a lively scene from a Claude Sautet movie, complete with French fries served on monogrammed silver platters.
Villa Plageron | Le Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer, French Riviera
The Villa Plageron B&B is a hidden gem nestled in a seemingly wild area of the French Riviera. It features four large rooms with terraces offering breathtaking seaviews over the opulent Mediterranean and gardens below. A small stone staircase will take you down to a pretty sand and rocks cove.
Hôtel La Villa Douce | Le Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer, French Riviera
Not far down the coast from St. Tropez, in the seaside villages of Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer, is a hillside escape that promises a respite from the see-and-be-seen atmosphere of some of the French Riviera’s busier locales. La Villa Douce promises a gentle life, and it delivers it, though with perhaps a dash more modern style than you might expect.
PoMo Hôtel & Restaurant | Échirolles, France
Échirolles, on the south side of the French Alpine city of Grenoble, offers something unusual: a semi-urban environment just a few minutes from the ski slopes. And in the midst of it all, an unforgettable hotel. PoMo is named, one presumes, for the style of its design, a post-modern mélange of contemporary colors, bold graphics and typography, and handsome modernist-inspired architecture and furnishings.
Grand Hôtel Barrière | Dinard, France
Year opened: 1859. A significant refurbishment completed at the beginning of 2019 has freshened up the hotel with a new look and new amenities while still respecting the history of the building. Original features to look out for include the flooring in the bar and lobby, and the gorgeously old-fashioned lift. Black and white photographs depict days gone by and blue and white striped walls, which reference the Breton flag and Dinard’s beach tents, add a vintage seaside feel.
Hôtel Barrière Le Westminster | Le Touquet, France
The lobby is as splendid as when it was built in 1924, with grand chandeliers, mahogany panelling and the original Art Deco lifts. Elsewhere the décor has been updated to feel plush but contemporary, while the bar next to the lobby retains its clubby English air with red leather bar stools and more wood panelling.
Le Regina | Biarritz, France
Seemingly bigger on the inside than the outside, the fabulous galleried atrium at the heart of this hotel is quite a surprise. Built in 1907, it's gloriously Art Deco in red, black and gold with brightly coloured mannequins dotted around and oversized sofas and chairs which invite you to linger. There’s also an enormous porcelain bulldog in the lobby and regularly changing art exhibitions – wherever you are, there’s something to look at.
Royal Riviera | Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, French Riviera
This pink palace bears all the hallmarks of Riviera glamour. It offers a tempting combination of an exclusive Cap-Ferrat address, landscaped gardens and its own private beach. The beau monde have flocked here since 1904 (when it opened as the Panorama Palace), yet the informal ambience ensures young families with wandering toddlers won’t feel out of place.
Fondation CAB | Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
French architect Charles Zana renovated the modernist 1950s art gallery, adding a travertine reception desk, a bookshop-boutique, four guest rooms, a restaurant, and a lounge where you can flip through art books or just gaze out at artist Richard Long’s circle of white stones in the grass. The pièce de résistance is a 6mx6m demountable Prouvé house, perched between two koi ponds in the garden.
Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel | Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, French Riviera
Four Seasons has pushed the Grand-Hôtel back to the top of the French Riviera hotel charts. It’s always been a hangout for celebrities and royals since it opened in 1908, but it’s never looked this good. A tiled driveway leads to a pristine white façade with an iron latticework entranceway framed by topiary balls: the luxurious tone is set from the start. Light floods the lobby with its double-height ceilings, chandeliers and marble floors.
Hôtel La Ponche | Saint-Tropez
After a much needed renovation, the legendary Hôtel La Ponche, in the historic heart of Saint-Tropez unveils its new attire. Overlooking the small beach of La Ponche, this 21-room hotel (including 5 suites) has been given a makeover under the direction of interior designer Fabrizio Casiraghi. La Ponche belongs to the iconic hotels of the Riviera; it welcomed Françoise Sagan, Brigitte Bardot, Gunter Sachs, Romy Schneider, Michel Piccoli, Boris Vian, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir.
InterContinental Carlton Cannes | French Riviera
Year opened: 1911. This five-star hotel is like an ageing supermodel that may be a little faded in part, but whose bare bones are bewitching all the same. It’s now run by the Intercontinental hotel chain and has been gradually evolving. Gone are the overpoweringly rich shades of bygone years: now a lighter palate prevails upon the ground floor. Impressive high ceilings and white pillars in the lobby are softened with beige marble floors and pale wooden panelling.
Hôtel Martinez | Cannes, French Riviera
Year opened: 1929. The undulating white façade screams Art Deco, while the light-infused lobby gives a contemporary take on 1920s style. Blue and white tones create a beach-house feel, while high ceilings, chandeliers and artworks bring Riviera glamour. During the recent top-to-bottom renovation, sections of the interiors were demolished and rebuilt. Old pipework was renewed, French windows were doubled in height and the Art Deco staircase was carefully adjusted to fit safety regulations.
Hôtel Barrière L'Hermitage | La Baule, France
Hôtel Barrière L’Hermitage, old-money, solid 5-star traditional luxury on the spectacular 9 km beach of La Baule. Surrounded by immaculate gardens where the buzzing of bees mingles with the distant splash of the waves, it’s been attracting the moneyed since 1926. Churchill, the Agha Khan, Aristotle Onassis, and Maurice Chevalier have all stayed.
Chouchou Hotel | Paris 9e
Named for a French term of endearment, Chouchou opened in fall 2020—a launch that was delayed just a few months due to the pandemic. The 63 rooms are divided into five categories, from single to suite, and vary in size and shape, but all have a thoughtful design full of eye-catching details, from parquet floors and lush textiles to bold splashes of color. Views are either of the courtyard or street (a few even look out at the Opera), and some categories come with balconies.
Hôtel Raphaël | Paris 16e
Family-owned and operated since 1925 (it's now watched over by the fourth generation), this boutique five-star's intimate take on luxury has garnered it a legion of regulars, including a fair share of boldface names. Though the vibe is discreet, the public spaces are hardly subtle: Oriental rugs, trompe l’oeil walls, rich wood paneling, and antiques and artwork from the family’s collection.
Hôtel Daniel | Paris 8e
The 19th-century Hausmann exterior may be classic Paris, but the interiors take you on a journey to the east. Drawing on the owners' travels through Asia, designer Tarfa Salam has created a world of vibrant textures and colors, where Kazakh rugs and displays of Chinese calligraphy brushes live alongside custom-ordered De Gournay wallpaper emblazoned with garden motifs. Overstuffed furnishings and the warm color palette help keep things comfy and inviting.
Hôtel Particulier Montmartre | Paris 18e
Down a quiet cobblestoned street, past an unmarked gate, through the second door of a 19th-century mansion, and you’re home. Once the residence of people with last names like Rothschild and Hermès, this refuge has been transformed by Oscar Comtet, a young entrepreneur with a dynamic vision and keen eye, into the ultimate private hideaway.
Maison Souquet | Paris 9e
'Arabian Nights' meet Napoleon III at this heady hideaway envisioned by French designer extraordinaire, Jacques Garcia. Drawing inspiration from the building’s early-1900’s stint as a maison close (upscale brothel) frequented by well-to-do pleasure seekers, Garcia has kept the exterior understated—just look for the two red lanterns—then decked the interiors out in reams of lush velvet, Moorish tiles, antique furnishings, and oil paintings of women in seductive poses.
Hôtel Lancaster | Paris 8e
The creative spirit of former residents like Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, and Greta Garbo imbue the spaces of this elegant spot, which began in the 1880s as the residence of a Spanish aristocrat, and was enlarged into a hotel in the Roaring ‘20s. The private home feel lingers, with antique accents, original detailing, and portraits by 1930s Russian artist Boris Pastoukhoff (another former resident) balanced by comfy, contemporary furnishings.
Shangri-La Hotel, Paris | 16e
Set in the one-time mansion of Prince Roland Bonaparte, great nephew of Napoleon, the Shangri-La is a Parisian pied à terre on a palatial scale – with the most enviable Eiffel Tower views in the city. From a superb spa set in the old stables to the magnificent marble lobby, it seamlessly blends history with indulgence
Hôtel des Grands Hommes | Paris 5e
Prepare to live your best Left Bank life; Hotel des Grands Hommes location on Place du Pantheon is sublime, just steps from one of the city's most iconic monuments, and final resting place of a number of France's political leaders and literary heroes. The lobby pays homage to this with a series of busts behind the check-in desk. The ground floor lounge area has plenty of comfy chairs, an honor bar, and an abundance of coffee table books to get lost in.
Hôtel Amastan | Paris 8e
Welcome to your Parisian pied-à-terre—in the heart of one of the city’s toniest neighborhoods, no less. The brainchild of young entrepreneur/hotelier Zied Sanhaji, who named this flagship for a story written about his family nearly a millennium ago, Amastan takes the “lifestyle hotel” trend to heart, beginning with warm, retro-chic spaces that invite you to feel at home.
Hotel Bachaumont | Paris 2e
After three years of renovations, the former Grand Hotel Bachaumont—which checked out its last guests in the ’70s—has been transformed into an Art Deco dream that’s as much a hit with locals as visitors. Designed by Dorothée Meilichzon, who’s also envisioned several of Paris’s recent boutique hotel projects, the breezy spaces are accented by black-and-white geometric tiles, marble floors, and sculptural furniture.
Hôtel des Dromonts | Avoriaz, French Alps
It’d be difficult to miss the Hotel des Dromonts. Not only is the architecture truly eye-catching, but it’s also, until recently, been the only game in town. Granted, it’s not a large town, nor an old one: it’s Avoriaz, one of a string of purpose-built ski resorts built in the French Alps in the 1960s. The quirky building, angular and pyramid-esque, was inspired by Le Corbusier’s designs for economic urban dwellings, maximizing vertical space and providing great views from every room.