Smack in the center of Paris just off the Champs-Elysées, a new hotel offers more than a luxurious night’s stay — it leaves guests with the feeling of being at home. Focused on the art of Parisian living, La Clef is a renovated historic building near this most well-known of boulevards in the iconic 8th arrondissement. The prestigious location is complemented by the refined design and exceptional services that the property offers.
Instead of the expected property usually found in the international hotel industry, La Clef is more like a large private residence emblematic of the je ne sais quoi of the Parisian lifestyle. A number of aspects concerning the art of life in Paris are expressed in the residence including art, gastronomy, elegance and glamour. The hotel’s 70 rooms, suites and apartments deftly combine Haussmannian moldings with various contemporary accents.
“This hotel is not just about décor,” says designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. “It is a place where everyone must feel like a true Parisian, where the heritage combines with creativity, and where the spirit reflects the soul of Paris today. ”
The main level of the space is inspired by jewelry and features a stunning golden reception desk that stands out against the marble backdrop, like a gem in a jewelry box. Above the desk, gleaming pendant lights dangle like stylish earrings while the sculpted columns flanking the front entrance are reminiscent of beads. Throughout the property, Nuel’s design respects the building’s origins by preserving the original walls in the lobby, which was once a thoroughfare for horses and carts heading to the garden. The new look adds a modern flair via the monochrome flooring, tall gold and black light fixtures, and mirrored ceiling.
Nuel is best known for his skill in creating original environments for high-end luxury hotels and has designed locations for some of the biggest global hotel groups such as Marriott, Hilton, Accor, Starwood, Ascott and Intercontinental. La Clef Champs Élysées is The Ascott Limited’s third property under The Crest Collection, which includes some of the group’s most prestigious luxury offerings for discriminating travelers who desire a home-like but extraordinary experience. The hotel’s location on Rue de Bassano is ideal, just a few minutes from major attractions such as the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Grand Palais, Théâtre du Rond-Point — and of course its namesake Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Haute couture and luxury shopping are also nearby on Avenue Montaigne and Avenue Georges V for those looking for some stylish apparel. La Clef will also soon host its own restaurant, also designed by Nuel, in a partnership with the Michelin two-star restaurant, Imperial Treasure.
Unique to La Clef, the lobby holds a special experience for guests: A Salon des Fragrances — essentially a fragrance bar — where those staying at the hotel can develop their own unique fragrances. The special lounge includes five essential oils and a signature fragrance that was created exclusively for La Clef Champs-Élysées Paris by one of France’s preeminent “noses”. It is a grand introduction to the artisan craft of perfumery. In the salon, guests can play and experiment with different scents, creating different combinations and take home a unique souvenir in the form of the hotel’s fragrance as a candle or spray.
Originally built in 1907 as a five-story private residence for renowned cognac distillers — the Hennessy family — La Clef Champs-Élysées Paris has retained all the character and charm of the original Haussmannian-style building. Finely preserved, the building’s cornices, corbels, gilding, period molding and delicate ironwork hark back to an earlier age of elegance and glamour.
The marvelously sculpted original staircase was updated with contemporary light fixtures, illuminating the way to the hotel’s bedrooms and suites. All the guest quarters are furnished in a palette of white, soft pink, and shades of grey, quite typical of a modern Parisian living space. Instead of the traditional desk and chair that you find in most hotels, the rooms at La Clef have feature a more personal selection of pieces such as a sofa, table and chairs, well-stocked bookcases, accessories, artworks and a fireplace, which is likely an original.
The sense of home La Clef is very evident for guests who can enjoy the comfort and convenience of accommodations that have a fully-equipped kitchenette, Nespresso machine, dishwasher, elegant dishware and even a washer-dryer. Amenities at the property include a 24-hour concierge and room service, valet-parking, laundry, buffet breakfast, fitness suite, residents’ lounge, complimentary L’Occitane toiletries and high-speed Internet access.
Bathrooms truly look more like a residence than a hotel, with some having a double vanity for traveling couples. Large mirrors, plentiful lighting and stylish details are all installed against a marble backdrop, similar to the look of the lobby area. Such attention to detail makes this a magnificent and functional space for business or leisure travelers.