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Review: Hotel Lutetia, Paris (Global Hotel Alliance / The Set Collection)

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This is my review of the Hotel Lutetia in Paris, part of The Set Collection.

You may remember that Rhys reviewed Hotel Cafe Royal in London a couple of months ago. This is part of The Set Collection, a small chain of very high end hotels. Whilst it has been adding new hotels recently, the historic core of the group is Hotel Cafe Royal in London, Hotel Lutetia in Paris and the Conversatorium hotel in Amsterdam.

To promote the addition of The Set Collection to the Global Hotel Alliance loyalty programme, we were offered a review stay at each of the three hotels. Hotel Cafe Royal is reviewed here and the Conservatorium hotel is reviewed here.

Just before Christmas, I headed over to Paris to try Hotel Lutetia. The hotel website is here.

Hotel Lutetia exterior

The only Palace hotel on the Left Bank

Hotel Lutetia has one key selling point for the high-end traveller. It is the only ‘Palace’ hotel (a Government distinction for uber-luxury French hotels) on the Left Bank / Rive Gauche.

Or, as a Londoner would say, ‘south of the river’.

I’ve stayed in Paris over 30 times in my life, admittedly mainly for just 1-2 nights each time, but it’s only in the last decade that I’ve really started to appreciate the Left Bank. For shopping it is the Parisian equivalent of Sloane Street in London, with the same high end brands as Bond Street but in smaller, less touristy boutiques. You are just as close to the major museums as if you were staying in a luxury hotel near Opera.

Hotel Lutetia sits directly opposite, across a small park, from the Le Bon Marche department store. It was originally built in 1910 by the owner of Le Bon Marche so his customers and suppliers had somewhere to stay. It sits on Boulevard Raspail, in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of the 6th arrondissement.

If you’ve ever visited the Hermes store in Paris which is inside a historic swimming pool (yes, it’s as weird as it sounds) …. this used to be the Lutetia’s pool. Don’t worry …. they built a new one!

Hotel Lutetia Paris lobby

Inside Hotel Lutetia

The hotel reopened in 2018 after a top-to-toe €200 million refurbishment, although the lovely Art Deco / Art Nouveau exterior from 1910 is fully intact.

Off the ground floor, the rooms were apparently totally reconfigured. The total dropped from 233 to 184, very impressive soundproofing added (the hotel is on the corner of two roads) and new technology introduced. It was first time I’d ever had a hotel room with a Crestron automation system installed.

There is an impressive level of craziness about what has been done here. It runs from aggressive statements of modernity (the corridors and ceilings have a reflective black laquered look which is quite blingy) to lots of low key luxury.

The desk in my room, for example, had a marble top. The bathroom, as you will see, is almost entirely marble including the bath. I was told the hotel had to be reinforced during rebuilding because the weight of all the marble was causing structural issues.

I was given a small suite on the corner of the building. This came with its own little balcony overlooking the Eiffel Tower:

Hotel Lutetia Paris balcony

…. and who wouldn’t want this?

Here’s the inside of my suite (more of a Junior Suite in reality):

Hotel Lutetia Paris suite

and from the other side:

Hotel Lutetia Paris suite

What you can’t really see from the photos is that everything is of the highest quality. The furnishings were virtually all commissioned for the hotel. The curtains are automated, as you’d expect at this level, but what I didn’t expect was a wardrobe lightly scented with Culti fragrance!

And when you go to bed, you get this …. I’d heard about hotels that do this for regular guests but never seen it in action:

Hotel Lutetia Paris pillow case

There were no shortage of welcome gifts, including champagne, fruit, pastries, fresh flowers and a huge chocolate ship in the shape of the hotel logo. I saw these being delivered to other rooms so it wasn’t done just for me.

The hotel also offers a shoe shine service in association with Berluti, which has a large boutique opposite the hotel.

Here is the ‘so much marble it’s a little crazy’ bathroom:

Hotel Lutetia Paris bathroom


Hotel Lutetia Paris bathroom

The shower is in a separate space at the back, almost out of sight in the photo above, and the loo is totally out of shot. Toiletries are by Etro.

Step out of the room and you have those incredibly atmospheric reflective black walls and ceiling:

Hotel Lutetia Paris corridor

…. and when you step out of the lifts on my floor you get this:

Hotel Lutetia Paris lift lobby

The lifts were moved to the exterior of the building as part of the rebuilding and are glass walled. This creates a real contrast during the day when you move from corridor to elevator.

The pool and spa

As I mentioned earlier, the historic pool is now an Hermes boutique – inside a listed pool! The hotel has built a rather cool – albeit narrow – new pool:

Hotel Lutetia Paris pool

There is also a jacuzzi, sauna and the usual bits and pieces you’d expect. There are some smart loungers by the pool but, as its underground, it’s not really somewhere to hang out.

The shop

Hotel Lutetia has a lovely little bookshop / concept store:

Hotel Lutetia Paris shop

Food and drink at Hotel Lutetia

As with all grand hotels, the public areas are substantial and beautiful. I believe that major changes were made during the refurbisment although you’d never guess – an internal garden was built where there wasn’t one before, for example, although it isn’t in use during the winter.

The lobby is shown in the second photograph from the top. At the rear is a library which looked impressive but was locked when I tried to go in.

Apart from the library the layout is actually very simple. You enter, the lobby is in front of you, and if you turn immediately to the left you are in a long corridor:

Hotel Lutetia corridor

…. which leads to all of the bars and restaurants.

Le Saint-Germain

If you’re looking for the wow factor, you need to choose between the bar (see below) and Le Saint-Germain. This is basically the ‘all day dining’ and afternoon tea salon, featuring an astonishing painted glass ceiling. The website is here.

Hotel Lutetia Paris Le Saint Gerain


Hotel Lutetia Paris review

I had a lobster roll – see below – which, at €44, was decent by uber-luxury hotel standards and given the environment.

Hotel Lutetia Paris lobster roll Le Saint Gerain

Bar Josephine

Directly across from Le Saint-Gerain is Bar Josephine, named after Josephine Baker. This is another lovely space, and worth a visit if passing. I believe that there is live jazz on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Here is a photo I took of the main bar:

Hotel Lutetia Paris Bar Josephine review

…. and here is a PR shot of the broader space:

Bar Josephine Hotel Lutetia Paris

Bar Aristide

I must admit that I never expected to find something like Bar Aristide here. It is tucked away up a flight of stairs with only minimal signage.

It is a tiny bar which deliberately harks back to the early years of the 20th century. It was very busy when I went in, and given that many people had coats they were clearly locals and not hotel guests.

It’s a lot darker and moodier than my photo suggests (I took this the following morning) and the space includes a cigar lounge. Even if you are not staying at the Lutetia I’d recommend popping in here if you are nearby.

Bar Aristide Hotel Lutetia Paris

Brasserie Lutetia

Finally you have Brasserie Lutetia, which sits on the corner of Boulevard Raspail and Rue de Sèvres and is very much a neighbourhood restaurant. As well as this large indoor area, there is a conservatory on the edge of the street – I’m not sure if this is open air in summer.

Here is a PR image:

Brasserie Lutetia

Breakfast is also served here. It is a reassuringly expensive €58, including one cooked item:

Hotel Lutetia breakfast

It isn’t the largest buffet but you can’t argue with the quality.

Life could be far worse than sitting on the terrace with your breakfast and watching the world go by:

Hotel Lutetia Paris breakfast

For lunch and dinner, Brasserie Lutetia has a dedicated seafood bar:

Hotel Lutetia seafood bar

…. which I tried out very happily on my first night:

Hotel Lutetia seafood


It is surprisingly difficult to review an exceptionally high level hotel like the Lutetia. There is so much to talk about and so much I could show you but I could never squeeze it all in.

As the only Palace hotel on the Left Bank, Hotel Lutetia has a unique selling point. The sheer quality of the renovation in 2018 means that it is well worth considering, even if only to pop in for a drink in Bar Josephine or Bar Aristide.

Through Global Hotel Alliance – click for our introductory article – you can earn and redeem Discovery Dollars (GHA’s cashback currency) on your stays here.

Be aware, though, that a stay at Hotel Lutetia doesn’t come cheap. Rooms start at €1,400 per night (so on a par with rates at Raffles and The Peninsula in London) although the website does have ‘4-4-3’ deals. It is proportionately better value for a suite, with a Junior Suite offering a lot more space and starting from €1,700.

Thank you to Eliot in London and Mathilde in Paris for their help.

Looking for a hotel in Paris?

We’ve reviewed a number of hotels in the City of Lights, including:

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Comments (26)

  • e14 says:

    Did you take the pillowcases with you ?

    PS Romani ite domum

    • Rob says:

      No! I reckon they have about 300 sets made up using most common initials and just dig out the relevant one! When you think about it, it’s a modest investment for a big wow factor.

      • Azza says:

        Rosewood do initial embroidered pillow cases and dressing gowns. Does make you think “yep this is going to be nice”.

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      I’ve got to admit, I read this article around 4am when it first went up and have been thinking about the embroidered initials ever since. My guess would be that someone adept at needlework is sent a list of upcoming initials and sets to work on otherwise plain pillowcases. Too many wealthy people with double barrelled surnames to rely on a matching exercise from existing stocks.

  • Roberto says:

    Can’t blame Rob for enjoying!
    But for completion sake,
    Worth knowing about the Lutetia hotel’s gym & membership by Akasha
    (So you can mentally prepare that it serves house guests + others)

  • Michael C says:

    Absolutely love the look of it.
    In the words of my mum, I’ll definitely “pop in to use the loo” at
    some point this year!

  • Mark says:

    Worth mentioning that there is a metro station (Sèvres – Babylone) a couple of minutes walk away too.

    • Eoc says:

      If I’m paying £2k a night in August getting the metro is probably not high on my visit plan

      • Chabuddy Geezy says:

        The metro sure beats dealing with super rude Parisian taxi drivers 🙂

        • Nick says:

          Last time I took a taxi in Paris I genuinely thought I was going to end up like Diana. Metro always from then on.

  • Amy C says:

    Hmmm, I’ve never been so underwhelmed by pics of a hotel room/suite in my life. Perhaps my expectations were so monumental by that stage that I was always heading for ‘meh’. Bathroom looks lovely but the room was bland as hell and giving Premier Inn ‘vibes’ (thought I’d try sounding young and hip there).

    • JDB says:

      I agree @Amy C – the room looks cold/unwelcoming/dreary and an awkward shape. There also appears only to be one basin? Some hotel designers seem overly focussed on the ‘look’ rather than comfort or how a guest might use the room/suite. Peninsula and Mandarin are very notable exceptions; they really know how to do this properly. The corridor seems to have used that black lacquered or mirrored effect to make up for the fact it seems incredibly narrow for a smart hotel.

      There does seem to be a trend to put everything into the public areas which is a shame. I was surprised by an HfP review (maybe in Jakarta) saying the lobby was the fanciest he had ever seen, but the next pictures were of a room that was beyond dreary and soulless. For us at least, it’s the room that matters, but clearly the lobby is seductive for some. One of the best examples we know is the Mandarin in Hong Kong where the lobby is nothing really, but the rooms are exceptional.

    • BBbetter says:

      Am not sure the bathroom stands out either. It could be any luxury hotel in Dubai.

  • Gordon says:

    I know Paris is expensive, but I would have expected breakfast to be included on a room at €1,400 PN. Saying that, the property and food offerings looks nice.

    • Amy C says:

      Ritz in Paris (which I have just been looking at) doesn’t inc breakfast with their 2000 euro a night basic rooms.

    • JDB says:

      One of the many joys of Paris is having coffee and croissant in a beautiful but real life place! Also so much quicker so one can get out and enjoy the city.

    • CamFlyer says:

      Except usually less is included at more expensive hotels, so one can have the privilege of paying for it. Eg, Hampton Inn and HIX include breakfast, while their more expensive siblings don’t. And 15 years ago it was quite normal to be asked to pay extra for WiFi (or at least usable speeds) at 4/5* hotels, when it was free at lower end properties.

      • Gordon says:

        I guess the property sees it as, if you can afford upwards of £1k for a room pn, you won’t quibble about paying for your meals at extra expense.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      That’s because they hope you’ll book via FHR or Eymr or an equivalent also find the hotel website will always offer deals like inc breakfast at some point each month/qtr

      • JDB says:

        They don’t actually hope you will book via FHR or Virtuoso as that involves them paying a chunky commission, but they accept it as a fact of life to attract rich Americans who mainly book via these channels. That’s why so many hotels respond incredibly generously to direct bookers.

  • Sarah says:

    Comparing Paris’ Left Bank to London’s South of the River is a bit of a faux pas.

  • Ben says:

    I had the best cocktail of my life on Bar Josephine, I believe it was called Paris Paris – Champagne, vodka and St Germain.

    I highly recommend a visit if in the area.

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