Hotel: Hotel Saint-Lazare
Address: 108, rue St. Lazare, 75008, Paris
TraveLife Ranking: Four Plus Stars
Room rates: $350+
Highlights: One of the truly opulent buildings in a city featuring many. It belongs to the highly-respected Concorde group and its location next to one of the city busiest train station – Gare St. Lazare – makes it a favorite with domestic travelers. It’s surrounded by history, great shopping and lots of neighborhood Paris restaurants and bakeries.
History: The hotel opened on May 7, 1889 to accommodate those flocking to Paris for the Great Exhibition (World’s Fair) of that year. The Saint-Lazare was known then as the Grand Hotel Terminus because of its location next to the Gare St. Lazare rail station. It was completed in just 15 months by architect Juste Lisch. The 19th-century hotel is now protected as a national landmark and draws as many sightseers as guests.
Interior highlights: The museum-like lobby is highlighted by a marvelous cathedral-like ceiling supported by massive columns trimmed in gold leaf. It was designed by none other than Gustave Eiffel, who also built another pretty impressive Paris landmark. This property welcomes you to a unique atmosphere, a subtle blend of contemporary design and timeless elegance wrapped in leather fauteuils and crystal lamps.
In the next room: Being so centrally located to shopping and the city’s grand department stores where runway fashion shows are held regularly, the St. Lazare’s clientele naturally includes many top models and fashion designers. Get set to see a lot of tall, skinny women in the hallways.
The rooms: After being greeted by the lavish lobby, it would be hard to expect the rooms to be as grand. They aren’t but what they lack in grandeur they more than make up for in space, which makes the St. Lazare much more comfortable than other space challenged Paris hotels. The bedrooms and suites are decorated in bright colors and come bursting with lots of modern-day toys.
Amenities: Being so old, this hotel offers a fitness area and some quality bath products but not much else.
Restaurants: You can’t be a great Paris hotel unless you have a great restaurant. The St. Lazare’s contribution to that list is The Cafe Terminus offering 19th century sophisticated decor and creative cooking with French modern cuisine. You can relax at the Golden Black bar whose decor was inspired by the Great Exhibition of 1889 and by Africa at the beginning of the 20th century – an interesting mix.
Shopping: Only a stones throw away from famous department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.
Close By The lavish Opera Garnier, Paris’ most dazzling building, and Place de la Concorde as well as many restaurants, theatres and the famous Montmartre district featuring the beautiful hilltop church Sacre Coeur and Paris’ artist colony.
Tips: With a bit more attention to detail, TraveLife would rate the St. Lazare alongside Paris’ famed 5-star properties. The hotel does offer lots of special rates in off season and is a wonderful base for sightseeing. In recent years the hotel has become fashionable with Russian tourists. If you intend to take day trips into the French countryside, then the St. Lazare is your hotel because of its rail station neighbor. It gets lots of sightseers so beware of scheduling lobby meetings.