Hotel Bel Ami was my long weekend home in September 2018; the intimate and contemporary 5-star hotel delighted me because it was so near the Left Bank cafés, galleries and shops in the vibrant Saint-Germain-des-Près quartier. This past November, I was thrilled to return to the oh-so-stylish, 108-room boutique hotel.
Much had stayed the same: the entry, with the front desk on the right, and the concierge desk, straight ahead; the Mid Century Modern décor extends from the lobby to the adjacent living room-style lounge, library and bar, with its Macassar Eboni alcoves. Beyond the elevators, the windowed walls of the Bel Ami Café brings light to the airy breakfast room that’s particularly popular for Sunday brunch. On a lower level, the Carita spa offers a relaxation lounge, sauna and two treatment cabines and a fitness room.
What had changed was an entirely reimagined first floor transformed during the COVID-19 closure from eight rooms to five smartly designed apartments, completely redecorated by interior designer Pascal Allaman.
In 2018, my smallish — though well-equipped and comfortable — room faced the street, had a custom-designed, built-in wood desk and cabinets, a wooden headboard, a leather trimmed rug and geometric patterns. This time, I stayed in an executive suite, with a couch, coffee table, coffee bar and TV in the living area and a desk and spacious closet in the sleeping section.
On both occasions, I tried to remain in the Saint-Germain-des-Près neighborhood to frequent famous nearby cafés Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore and Brasserie Lipp, where Sartre and de Beauvoir and Hemingway spent time. The concierge, who always greeted me by name, booked Chez Papa Jazz Club, across the street, where I drank wine, listened to wonderful music and ate dinner; he recommended nearby restaurants, shops and even the best hair stylist: Dessange.
On my recent visit, I walked along the Seine to Boulevard Saint Michel and up to rue Gay Lussac, near the Luxembourg Gardens, where I lived while studying at the Sorbonne. The Saint-Germain-des-Près quartier is likewise convenient for visitors eager to walk along the Seine to the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre. Mostly, it’s where one just wants to be in Paris.
7 Rue Saint-Benoît
75006 Paris, France
tel 33 1 42 61 53 53
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