It doesn’t get more Parisian than an apartment. Squeezed for space between civilisation’s greatest monuments, Paris apartments tend to be tiny but part of the city’s charm. Where better then to launch a new brand of boutique apartments. Catering just as strongly for leisure clients as discerning business clients, the arrival of the Citadines Suites brand signals a merger of the great apartment and hotel divide.
Citadines Suites Louvre opened in April last year, spearheaded by parent company Ascott Limited. A three-star apartment hotel in its previous incarnation, the rebrand is impressive and the ideal bolthole for families, couples and business travellers who want the flexibility of an apartment without sacrificing location or the particular character of Parisian chic design. Citadines Suites Louvre is bucking the usual apartment hotel trend, and accommodates roughly 70% leisure clients with 30% corporate occupancy.
The criteria to become a Citadines Suites property is based on location and so far this style of accommodation has been restricted to the French capital. “They were thinking of involving two sites and we looked at the places we could do it and this was the perfect location because it’s a cosy and small intimate property,” The Ascott Limited communications director Stephanie Jourdain said.
This is the first Citadines Suites but it is a concept that suits the Paris market and a second is soon to be rolled out in the 16th arrondisement, the Citadines Arc de Triomphe. “You must be in a historical area with a special location,” Jourdain said.
Citadines Louvre Paris offers local Parisian living in square footage, complete with a kitchen and a French cookbook prepared especially for the hotel. Being a five-star apartment hotel, the point of difference lies in a daily room overhaul. The four-star properties have a more modest daily refresh, while the three-star properties have a weekly spruce.
The concept is for a home away from home but being Paris, it’s not likely to feel like your average home. Built in 1908, the architecture is typically Parisian with wrought iron balustrades and French doors opening onto balconies in most of the suites, all of which overlook the Louvre museum and the Comedie-Francaise theatre. The hotel is Art Nouveau in style but the suites are thoroughly modern – aside from a retro splashback in the kitchen of black and white city images.
There are also fresh flowers in the room and library, where you’ll also come across a bar open from 5pm onwards. High quality elements such as Molton Brown toiletries and organic and biodynamic breakfast items ramp up the five-star appeal. The lack of room service is compensated by partnerships with local restaurant deliveries, which arrive in your room within 40 minutes.
Or you can walk to the nearby department stores and visit the famous food hall at Galeries Lafayette to procure French delicacies and whip up a feast in the kitchen or pre-dinner nibbles. If you don’t fancy the shop, Citadines Suites can arrange for a fully stocked fridge to be ready for your arrival. Even if you choose to dine out (it is Paris, after all), you’ll appreciate the kitchen’s Nespresso coffee machine in the morning.
The lobby has black and white vintage photography on the walls as well as hooded antique chairs. With 51 suites over seven floors, the rooms are based around the idea of cocooning, by being intimate yet comfortable. Out on the streets and in the square that the building fronts, well-heeled Parisians click-clack their way through throngs of taxis, tourists and tables while the room remains a haven of peace. If you’re on business there’s a fitness centre. If you’re a leisure traveller, Paris is the city to walk through, so you needn’t worry about the extra workout.
The room palette is mostly neutral tones of grey and white, with a splash of deep purple on the bed cushions and quilt. The mirrors are the most extravagant detail in the room, fashioned in a curly Versailles style. A fancy design element is the bedside lights which hang from rope. The wooden floorboards are cushioned by dense rugs and the walls and ceilings retain their historic adornment with embossing and cornices. The Molton brown toiletries go beyond your run-of-the-mill hotel stable of shampoo and soap with a lavender pillow spray, lip balm and eau de toilette. Another nice luxury in space-poor Paris is a bath in every room.
“We noticed that there is a need. We have some short stays as well as some longer stays,” Jourdain said. And for those longer stays there is the much-vaunted washing machine and dryer for clothes, allowing guests to pack light. Or shop their way through their stay – Paris’s shopping heart is just around the corner.