Hot List 2010

Banke Hotel, Paris 

20 Rue La Fayette

France 75009

Tel: 33 1 55 33 22 22

The first French property of the Spanish Derby Hotels group, known for such edgy properties as the Urban in Madrid and the Claris in Barcelona, occupies a gorgeous turn-of-the-twentieth-century bank building just steps from the Palais Garnier and the city's big department stores. The stunning round glass-domed lobby of the 94-room hotel has a decor that recalls a lush Proustian bordello with vermilion walls, an original mosaic floor, a long gold-leather sofa, and low lighting in the adjacent bar, restaurant, and reception area, and it's ringed by an elegant mezzanine gallery. The standard rooms are small but comfortable with built in desks, high ceilings, and white walls wittily decorated with theater set-like black drawings inspired by the moldings and caryatids that make the hotel's jewel box of central atrium such a stunner. The contemporary art displayed in the hallways and public spaces create an elegant atmosphere, and the fact that you don't need to rob a bank to stay here means that this newcomer has been attracting lots of travelers who formerly swore by the Left Bank. To be sure, this business neighborhood is quiet at night, but the locals know that nearby Chez Georgette is one of Paris's best and cheapest bistros. A spa is scheduled for July.
Which room to book: Ask for a fourth floor double overlooking the rue Pillet-Will—they're the quietest.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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