This is our review of the new Kimpton St Honore hotel in Paris.
In 2017, we visited Kimpton’s new European flagship in Amsterdam and gave it a bad review – despite being upgraded to a suite – due to general incompetence.
In 2021 …. well, you can guess the rest.
We had been talking to IHG about a review trip to Kimpton Paris but we couldn’t agree on dates. Following a lot of ‘yes but no but yes but no’ feedback from HfP readers, I decided it was better if HfP paid €440 for a standard room and turned up incognito. That said, you should note that I have Kimpton Inner Circle status following a media event a couple of years ago which should have positively impacted how I was treated.
What is Kimpton?
Back in 2014, IHG – owner of InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc – purchased US hotel brand Kimpton for $430m.
Apart from Aman – and even that was on the decline by then following a change of ownership – Kimpton was the nearest thing that the hotel industry had to a ‘cult’ offering. Positioning itself as an upscale boutique chain infused with a Californian lifestyle, it inspired feverish loyalty from those who found that its style and approach meshed with theirs.
Once IHG had bought the company – and dealt with the defection of a large number of Kimpton hotels to other brands – it had to decide what to do with it. To introduce the brand to Europe, it chose to convert the Crowne Plaza in Amsterdam into Kimpton De Witt.
Where is Kimpton Paris?
Top marks here. The hotel is directly opposite InterContinental Le Grand (my room faced onto it, see above) which means it is two minutes walk from the opera house, Galeries Lafeyette and Printempts. Virtually everything you would want to visit is within 20 minutes walk.
The key exceptions are the Eiffel Tower and the Fondation Louis Vuitton, which has an astonishing impressionist and post-impressionist show running until February, but with multiple metro stations nearby you will be fine. You can reach Disneyland Paris directly via the RER ‘A’ line, with Auber station being just two minutes away.
The Kimpton Paris building was previously a branch of department store La Samaritaine. Don’t get confused with the new Cheval Blanc hotel, which occupies part of the original (and now restored) flagship La Samaritaine store.
First impressions of Kimpton Paris
…. are great. Huge amounts of money have been spent on the conversion, far more than would have been necessary to create a purely functional hotel.
The original art nouveau lifts and equipment have been kept, for example. Sitting in the lobby are two lift cabins which have been converted into one-man work pods:
The original iron staircase has also been retained. One downside is that the rooms have had to be shoehorned into the remaining space – the room count could have been far higher if the staircase had been removed.
It went downhill at check-in
I had booked the IHG Luxury & Lifestyle rate via Emyr Thomas at Bon Vivant. We outline the IHG Luxury & Lifestyle programme here. This package is available for stays of just one night at this hotel and is therefore a no-brainer since you get:
- free breakfast (€42 per person otherwise)
- €85 food and beverage credit
- fruit platter in the room
- guaranteed 2pm check-out
- upgrade if available at check-in
This is €165+ of free stuff even if you book the smallest room for just one night, as I did. You’d be crazy to pay cash here for a one-night stay and not use Emyr. For longer stays, it depends how much you would save by booking a non-refundable room – assuming you were willing to book something non-refundable in the current environment – since ‘Emyr rates’ use the Best Flexible Rate.
I turned up at 10am, which I am allowed to do as an Inner Circle member (this is not a standard ‘Emyr’ benefit). The person who checked me in totally failed to recognise the booking as being via IHG Luxury & Lifestyle. There was no mention of how the €85 credit worked or the free breakfast or the in-room amenities. I ended up pulling out my phone and showing him the confirmation which outlined the benefits, but the agent had never heard of IHG Luxury & Lifestyle, yet alone checked anyone in who was booked on it.
This was a bad start. I had to mentally make a note to check-out a little earlier than planned because I knew it could be a long slog to get the cashback I was owed. Little did I know how long ….
I was upgraded to a fantastic room. Let’s put this on the record. This was because the hotel combined my Inner Circle upgrade with an extra one to reflect the IHG Luxury & Lifestyle package. It is unlikely you would get this if booking a standard room via Bon Vivant.
It was a suite on the 3rd floor (318). I can honestly say that it was probably the most ‘homely’ hotel suite I have ever had. Take a look at the living area:
You can easily imagine sitting there in your Paris apartment, looking out of the window – or in my case standing on the balcony – at Le Grand opposite and feeling that all is right with the world.
Unfortunately, all was not right with the world.
Before I go on, I should say that this suite sells for €1,200 on an average night and you should look at my comments in that context.
Here was the bedroom:
Here’s what was wrong with it:
- the aircon did not work properly – it was set at 19 degrees which for November in Paris is very much on the chilly side (the main room was set at 22 degrees which wasn’t great but survivable). I could do nothing to increase it. I ended up turning it off and hoping the warmer air from the living room would waft in, but it didn’t.
- the desk had no plug sockets – none at all, either standard or USB
- the TV was disproportionately huge and out of place (see below) but I accept this is personal preference
- turndown came well after 9pm – a better run hotel would have sent housekeeping around whilst I was in the restaurant earlier
The good news is that the bed was very comfy, the bedding of a very high quality and the sound-proofing (even though I directly overlooked Blvd des Capucines) was excellent.
The living room
As I said above, I felt very much at home here and could easily have moved in for a week. The combination of curved sofa, chairs and table really worked well, and I could open the window to hop out onto my balcony.
I should give the mini-bar a shout-out. Kimpton has gone to a huge amount of trouble to provide interesting brands, including pre-mixed cocktails and some interesting snacks.
There were other niggles though:
- there was no dustbin – no bin in the entire suite, except for the sanitary bin in the bathroom and you can’t fit much in that. The waste was piling up at random.
- the Nespresso machine – in a funky red – used unofficial compostable capsules. Whilst worthy, there was no guide to what capsule contained what. I was also given a grand total of two mini milk capsules, enough for one single cup of coffee. For €1,200 per night you shouldn’t be scrabbling for milk capsules, and a really good hotel would put a small jug of fresh milk in the minibar.
The platter of fruit and sweet snacks brought to the room (below) was also not in great shape, albeit it would have been sitting for 3-4 hours before I found it later that evening. I did like the reusable water bottles they use, with the copper coloured lids.
Clearly none of this stuff is a disaster in itself but it all adds up.
I loved the bathroom. There was a free standing bath with bath salts, letting you jump in the tub whilst looking out at InterContinental Le Grand opposite:
The shower was a huge wet room, see below.
There were two sinks and good quality toiletries, in large and presumably ‘not to be taken’ bottles.
My only gripe is that there was no underfloor heating and the tiles were chilly in the morning. Top marks overall though.
This is the end of Part 1 of our Kimpton St Honore Paris review. Click here to read Part 2, which covers the Kimpton Paris’s rooftop bar, pool, gym and my very interesting visits to the hotel restaurant.
The Kimpton Paris website is here if you want to find out more about the hotel.
IHG Rewards update – January 2022:
Get bonus points: IHG Rewards is not currently running a global promotion.
Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards points, you can buy them here.
Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.