Review: Hotel Maison Colbert, Melia Collection, Paris, France

The French capital is synonymous with art, style and history – and as a visitor, finding a way to experience all three on a time-limited city break can be a challenge.

For a quick trip to Paris, I’d say there’s almost no better location – at least where I’ve had the joy of staying – than Hotel Maison Colbert. Nestled just off the Quai de Montebello, which runs along the south side of the Seine, it’s only a short walk from the hotel’s charming reception to the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral, the beloved Shakespeare bookshop and Company and the famous café culture of the Latin Quarter.

“Boutique” is far from doing justice to this Meliá Collection hotel. The impressive building, which dates from the 16th century, looks like a palatial gallery. Designed by Álvaro Sans and his daughter Adrianna Sans, the Maison Colbert hotel offers the chic one hopes for when visiting Paris.

Why stay here?

The hotel itself strikes that enviable Parisian balance between an effortlessly chic aesthetic and comfort in its most luxurious form. Enter through the street-facing courtyard, dominated by Juliette balconies and leafy-trimmed windows, before being welcomed into the decadent reception. Classic French furnishings add more than a little flair to the check-in.

Being a Meliá Collection hotel, it’s fitting that there’s also a little Spanish flair. Each of Maison Colbert’s 39 rooms is inspired by a painting by Joaquín Sorolla — a fitting choice, given that Sorolla is dubbed “the Spanish Impressionist,” according to the National Gallery.

Each room or suite has been individually designed to maximize space. Grab a coffee and gaze out the window at Notre Dame Cathedral, if you’re lucky enough to have a room with a view, or leaf through art books and magazines lying on the gorgeous beds.

The red velvet curtains in my room added a Moulin Rouge touch to the ambience (which is only a good thing, in my opinion), and the suites have waterfall showers and sumptuous Rituals toiletries.

The hotel's Café Clotilde

Eat and drink

Café Clotilde, named for Sorolla’s wife, serves an extensive breakfast menu, with a buffet, hot and cold menu, and delicious latte (or whatever caffeine you need). Enjoy it in the elegant dining room or alfresco in the courtyard.

For lunch and dinner, walk a few minutes around the corner from the hotel and you will be presented with a multitude of different restaurants catering to different budgets. Atelier Maître Albert comes highly recommended by the hotel. With a menu designed around grilled meats and spit roasts, it’s a treat for meat eaters and offers changing daily specials according to market offerings.

A little further in the heart of the Latin Quarter, the famous Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots compete for the attention of lovers of literature. Both breweries have hosted their fair share of creatives and intellectuals, including Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway. Although a little touristy as a result, it’s well worth stopping and watching the world go by with a coffee in hand – or something stronger.

The courtyard of the Hôtel Maison Colbert

What to do

After strolling the historic Parisian streets and visiting the city’s unparalleled art galleries and most famous attractions, you might be in search of a slightly different view of the French capital. There are arguably few better than those offered by a Seine River cruise.

Organized by the Maison Colbert hotel, you won’t find yourself crammed into one of the many tourist-laden ferries that ply the river every day. Instead, a much smaller (and more comfortable) boat will allow you to paddle upriver at a more leisurely pace for a much more enjoyable experience.

And if fashion is more your creative outlet than literature, then there’s no better place to express it than in Paris. The history of couture is intertwined with that of the city, but experiencing this cultural heritage as a visitor can be tricky, unless you’re visiting during Fashion Week.

Hotel Maison Colbert has collaborated with Teran Conde, a Spanish brand with strong roots in both Valencia and Paris, to offer guests an exclusive opportunity to learn the art of couture first-hand. Spend a morning making a couture accessory with designer Esperanza, using traditional techniques and exquisite materials to leave Paris with a souvenir miles above your ordinary fridge magnet…

Hotel Maison Colbert, 7 Rue de l’Hotel Colbert, 75005 Paris, France. Rooms start from £302 per night (B&B basis); melia.com

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