Cool chic design oozes from this boutique hotel on the Left Bank in the heart of Saint Germain. French style for sure but maybe seasoned with a bit of South Beach brightness and bold colour to really up the hip factor. Ooh la la! This is not your parent’s stuffy hotel, but then, who would want to stay there when there is the Hotel Bel Ami. With retro, space age pod chairs to swing in, a mint green colour palette running through the decor, and continual sensual scent being spritzed in the lounge like lobby this is a fashionable place.
If you love the Left Bank of Paris like I do, then the location of the Bel Ami could not be better. Around the corner from the church of St. Germain de Pres, a stone’s throw from Cafe Flore, and right in the middle of wonderful shopping you need not walk far to get what you want. The staff are welcoming and affable and even with the ultra stylish decor the establishment feels quite cozy.
Rooms are small in general but feel roomy thanks to the comfortable minimal design with wood, whites, and limited flashes of colour to help give the feel of spaciousness to the rooms. Bathrooms are also quite small but have modern clean design, and I did like the way the bath products in bright coloured bottles added a bit of design conscious flair in a deliberate way to the functionality of the space. The bed was comfortable even though I did find the mattress a bit firm, that is just personal taste, but the pillows were heavenly to sleep on, and I slept well.
The bar downstairs, again, small but uber stylish, is quite the place for events it seems and here there was a bit of a problem (sorry mon amis!). In the evenings, around aperitivo hour this oasis in the middle of St. Germain literally turned into the happening gathering area of the Left Bank. This proved problematic when I wanted to have a cocktail before heading out for dinner one night and there was no room to get to the bar. Instead of giving guests priority, the concierge politely asked me to sit in the lobby space while he fetched the bartender to take my drink order. While this was clearly trying to be accommodating, the problem was that with event spilling out into the open planned space of bar and lobby I felt sort of like I was sitting alone at a party on the corner sofa instead if sitting at the bar relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere. The rest of the time the bar is a tranquil place to be, just not in the early evenings.
I really enjoyed my stay at the Bel Ami and am definitely planning on going back. I felt tres chic just by staying there and I am still dreaming of their perfumed lobby fragrance -I should have bought the candle! This is a hotel that prides itself on its design concept and I loved the style. That said, all types of travellers were guests in the hotel: from the fashionable to the tourist in jeans, from young trendsetters to conservative types. It is not so on trend that it is off putting, it is actually quite relaxed, and accessible. So I guess what I am saying here, is try it. you will like it.
Check-In: Easy, quick and effortless. My room was ready, though it should be noted I arrived just shy of their 3pm Check-In time so that would be expected. Bags were delivered promptly and I was settled in no time.
Staff: Ready to help, just ask.
Housekeeping: Could be better, truth be told. I came back to the room one mid afternoon and my room still hadn’t been made up which I think is unacceptable in a high end hotel. Also turn down service could have had better timing as they repeatedly showed up as I was getting ready to go out for the evening.
Rooms: Decor was modern and stylish but sounds and noises could be heard from rooms next door. Minibar was a bit sparse. Yet for a boutique hotel the room size, though not large, was airy and open.
Bed: While not a sink-in and float mattress, I was still comfortable. And the pillows were divine!
Pros: This is the kind of design hotel that is featured in many books and magazines so part of you will always be chic because you stayed here. And again location plays a big part and this hotel has a great one.
Cons: The fact that it is so trendy makes it an ideal draw for events that take over the public areas.
Extras: Returning guests get a welcome back cocktail on the house.