Today’s review in our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ series covers Hôtel Grand Amour in Paris.
A fortnight ago we asked you to raise your hand if you wanted to contribute your story. We were overwhelmed by the response, and we’re sorry to everyone we had to disappoint. You can read all of our reader reviews here.
Today we have a review of a lovely boutique hotel in Paris: Hôtel Grand Amour, reader Jake’s favourite hotel.
Over to Jake:
Paris happens to be a frequent stop in my business travel circuit as I work in fashion. Admittedly I work on the operations side, so I am familiar with the world of formalities, glass office meetings, and the likes.
Like most Head for Points readers, I anticipate that choosing a chain – whether airline, hotel or restaurant – brings with it a degree of consistency, expectation and, of most interest to us, a reward structure. I admittedly do fall victim to the latter, but can’t help feeling sometimes that hotel rooms and lobbies begin to blur together with their stylistic similarities. Can we not agree that if you were to be teleported into one of these rooms you may very well not know what city you are in (without obvious tell-tale signs like the view out your window or dial-out instructions on the phone)?
For that very reason I have a few favourites when I am travelling, and the Hôtel Grand Amour in the 9th arrondissement of Paris is one of them. Most notably, the experience far outweighs any opportunity costs that large hotel chains may offer by way of points. No free continental breakfast and newspaper, but instead a homely Parisian ambiance.
With two locations in Paris, I chose the 9th arrondissement location as I can be in the lobby with a brisk 10 minute walk from Gare du Nord (for reference – I live in London). The second location (direction Pigalle) is nominally further, but just enough to influence the decision of a frequent traveller. So, within 20 minutes of Eurostar arrival you can be checked in and downstairs in the lobby (or the outdoor hidden courtyard, be sure to check it out) enjoying a glass of red.
As with many well executed concepts, Amour Hotels began (in my experience) as a small fashion and art industry hot spot well known during fashion weeks, now boasting two Paris locations and having expanded to Nice. I have yet to visit the Nice location, but it’s on the agenda.
The cultural relevance of the modest Amour Hotels traces back to Swedish-French graffiti artist André. His playful art can be seen around Paris and in various pop culture references, but most importantly, all throughout the hotels. His playful artworking finds its way into the carpets, furniture, stationary, etc.
Nothing to write home about, but it does add to the experience and could potentially instill some creative note taking or brainstorming!
And did I mention that toiletries (last time I checked) were supplied by Hermès Paris? And yes, replenished daily without questions.
The Grand Amour is a boutique hotel, with a downstairs area that tends to adapt to the height of the sun and the energy of the day.
Breakfast – delicious! – can be served up French sweet or English savoury. The downstairs restaurant in the early hours serves as a great hot desk to start your day, maybe even host a more casual meeting and by the afternoon the French ambiance inevitably takes over as the red wine begins to flow. In the evening the atmosphere loosens and a delicious full menu and bar are at your disposal.
I find you don’t necessarily have to leave. The people watching is rather enjoyable as the hotel’s clientele vary across creatives, professionals, artists, etc. I have yet to experience an abundance of tourists, although I am sure it’s not far off!
Should you want to explore the neighbourhoods, the 9th and 10th have a lot to offer. The family-run seafood restaurant down the street – Le Comptoir Iode – is incredible, or for a more elevated culinary experience – Le Mordant – serves a fantastic take on modern French cuisine. In between you will find a flurry of wine bars, restaurants, etc. – a diverse offering within steps of the hotel. I have also become quite friendly with the hotel staff, and have taken their guidance multiple times for food or drink recommendations – none of which have ever disappointed.
Circling back to the more traditional aspects of the review reveals that the Grand Amour location has 42 rooms, with super reasonable central Paris price points across their small / medium / large / superior rooms, and even the apartment.
I tend to rotate between small and medium rooms, often travelling alone for business, and each time has been a pleasant surprise as no two rooms are the same. Each one features a completely different theme and colour palette, and feels more like a livable room in someone’s home unlike the stiff neutral palettes of larger hotel chains.
This is one of the small rooms:
This is one of the medium rooms:
In summary, Hotel Grand Amour has struck an effortless balance across location, vibe, price point, and authenticity. You can sense that the hotel is curated by locals, and offers a very comfortable landing pad for someone passing through the city for what is likely to be a whirlwind of meetings.
Returning to the hotel after a hard day’s work you will find the café you left in the morning converted into a relaxing (albeit lively) place to have a fantastic meal with what feels like locals or frequent visitors – instilling a sense of community that has made me a repeat visitor. Keep safe and hope to see you there soon!
The Hôtel Grand Amour website is here if you want to find out more.
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