TWO magnificent bronze candelabras flank the imposing entrance to The Westin Paris – Vendome. The building is on the corner of Rue de Rivoli and Rue de Castiglione, straight across from the Tuileries Garden.
It was designed by architect Henri Blondel in 1878 and is a grand establishment in both the English and the French sense of the word. Opening as the Hotel Continental, it was the largest and most luxurious hotel in Paris at that time, boasting 600 rooms and 300 bathrooms.
The Westin Paris – Vendome was refurbished by interior designer Sybille de Margerie in 2007, and the upper floors are decorated in a palette of soft beiges, mauves and gold. The building now houses 428 bedrooms (including 80 suites) and offers something very precious that’s not considered typically Parisian – floor space.
My large, airy room with its generously sized bed and bathroom could accommodate even the most statuesque of guests in comfort. Two balcony windows look straight out onto the Tuileries Gardens, where, when I was staying, the Christmas funfair is in full swing. A card beside the bed details the hotel’s belief in the recuperative powers of sleep and they provide a little bottle containing a lavender oil blend to help you drift off … at night I apply it to my wrists, close the window and draw back the heavy curtain. The fairground lights outside are filtered by the voile and I am lulled into sleep by their flickering dance.
Exploring the public rooms, I’m struck by how skilfully the hotel creates a sense of quiet intimacy. Restaurant Le First is the most comfortable setting for breakfast that I’ve ever experienced. With purple velvet banquettes and dark tables, it’s a peaceful space and although busy, it’s never too loud, as the soft furnishings dampen the acoustics. It’s the perfect place to re-caffeinate and recalibrate.
The Tuileries Bar is elegant, open from 11am to 11.30, and the lounge is pretty and comfortable, but my favourite space is La Terrace d’Été: a courtyard, protected from the elements, that offers an unexpected and enchanting view of the sky. It opens formally in the spring of each year to be enjoyed throughout the warmer, brighter months, but even in the winter it’s a lovely place to sit and dream.
But only dream for a moment because there is so much to do in Paris … you can have 24 hours of fun, just within two blocks of The Westin Paris – Vendome.
The hotel is so very close to Place Vendome (the epicentre of luxury shopping) that there wouldn’t be time on the walk there to smoke even the shortest of Gauloises. There are galleries, museums, historic buildings and monuments all around. The legendary music venue L’Olympe is a short walk away; seeing a show there, enjoying a very late drink at a neighbouring bar, and then sauntering ‘home’ in the early hours of the morning through a deserted and beautiful Place Vendome is a truly memorable experience.
And for children and all who love funfairs – what could be more magical than the Ferris wheel in the Tuileries being just outside your window?
Staying in the very heart of city, at the innermost whorl of the beautiful snail-shell that is Paris, means extra time and energy to explore as much or as little of the city as you care to. The emphasis placed by The Westin Paris Vendome on creating an ambience of comfort, space, and serenity make it an excellent choice for anyone determined to maximise every moment in the city without exhausting themselves in pursuit of the endless pleasures available.
by Rachel McCormack
Prices start from €306 based on double occupancy, room only