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Review: the Kimpton St Honore Paris hotel – is the new European flagship worth a visit?

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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.

Review Kimpton St Honore Paris hotel

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.

The Kimpton Paris website is here.

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.

Other conversions have followed, including Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, but there have been few built from scratch before Paris. In theory, Kimpton Paris has no excuses.

Review Kimpton St Honore Paris hotel

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:

Review Kimpton St Honore Paris hotel

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 ….

My suite

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:

Review Kimpton St Honore Paris hotel

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.

The bedroom

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:

Review Kimpton St Honore Paris hotel

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.

Review Kimpton St Honore Paris hotel

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.

Review Kimpton St Honore Paris hotel

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.

Review Kimpton St Honore Paris hotel

The bathroom

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:

Review Kimpton St Honore Paris hotel

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.

Review Kimpton St Honore Paris hotel

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.

Looking for a hotel in Paris?

We’ve reviewed a number of hotels in the City of Lights, including:

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Comments (16)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Susan says:

    A one-PERSON workpod with a “desk” below knee-level is not a workpod. Such a silly design choice – form over function. A banquette and the table could have made an intimate cocktail nook.

    • Duncan says:

      💯 I wouldn’t want to work in there.

      Perhaps if the door closes (does the door close?) it would be a suitable booth to take a phone call or hop on a Zoom meeting. That’s about as much as I can imagine it being particularly useful for.

      Looks great though!

  • Harry T says:

    Interestingly, I had the exact opposite problem with the air con when I stayed in August – we were up until about 2am trying to find a room where the air con worked. My first room had a broken window and the air con remained stuck at 24 degrees after it was fixed. The next couple of rooms had non functioning air con and were also very hot. We eventually found a room that was 18 degrees and that worked for me. Sounds like you can only get one of two extremes at this hotel!

  • Hostime says:

    Sounds like an appalling property.

  • Kevin says:

    You do suffer for your art!

    • Anna says:

      Though it does sound marginally better than being snowed in with an Oasis tribute band for 3 days …

  • Greg Grant says:

    I’ve just stayed at the Kimpton in Edinburgh this weekend and found similar issues. The heating was set for 24C but never actually worked. The room wasn’t serviced by 4:15pm and when I contacted the desk I was told housekeeping were busy (you know your occupancy rate!). Breakfast was chaotic – just trying to get tea and coffee was a challenge. There seemed to be a complete lack of management in many parts of the hotel. A shame as the room was lovely as were the check-in staff.

    • Matt says:

      Kimpton Manchester was really bad when I stayed there in August. A holiday inn express is genuinely better.

  • Also says:

    homey or homely?

  • Michael Jennings says:

    They really need to merge Kimpton Inner Circle with Intercontinental Ambassador and whatever it is that Regent does. Having different schemes for their various high end brands is silly.

    • Craig Vassie says:

      +1 IHG senior management seemingly live in their own dreamworld though. Actual customers come way down their priority list. You’ve only to look at their lack of support for IHG Reward cardholders impacted by this current Creation-manufactured dispute.

      • Michael Jennings says:

        I got an e-mail from Creation last week telling me that they will be refunding the £99 annual fee on my IHG premium card that they are closing. Did everyone else get this?

        • Craig Vassie says:

          Yes I suspect that everyone impacted got the email. Still no points transfer or free night vouchers though. Shysters!

        • Alan says:

          Nope, only a select few appear to have received that email. Still awaiting a reply to my complaint.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Inner circle is more like Royal Ambassador where you are invited rather than buy (ambassador)

  • Alan says:

    Agree when put in context of the retail cost of that room there are a lot of aspects done poorly.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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