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Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris, 8th Arr. 

37 Avenue Hoche
France 75008
Tel: 33 1 42 99 88 00
Tel: 33 1 42 99 88 77
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Who knew that Le Royal Monceau, always an also-ran in the Paris luxury-hotel race, was in fact a sleeping beauty? With designer Philippe Starck as Prince Charming, this gut-renovated 149-room hotel near the Arc de Triomphe upended the conventions of what a Paris luxury hotel should be with wit and bold design. Red-glass lanterns on the facade hint at happy hanky-panky, and the warm welcome at reception is the first clue that this hotel has ditched the hauteur. Though snug, standard doubles are so well conceived that they overcome their diminutive dimensions. A bed with an ivory leather headboard sits in the middle of the room on a pretty area rug with a ribbon motif, facing a huge mirror that conceals the TV, and a pair of butternut leather chairs and night tables riff on the Art Deco grandeur of the original 1928 hotel. Large bathrooms feel even bigger due to mirrored walls and have showers with two settings (rain forest and handheld). The spaces brim with contemporary art—photos, paintings, collages—and there's a terrific bar, several beautifully decorated (if very expensive) restaurants, including the French-specialty La Cuisine, a smart boutique shilling art books and design objects, and a Clarins spa. Though the surrounding neighborhood is more suits than stockings, the Royal Monceau is a terrific choice whose only real flaw is that the noise-proofing could be better—to wit, you can hear the spike heels of your neighbor on the parquet. But then no one who stays here would be wearing sneakers. —2011 Hot List

Which room to book: If a suite is out of your budget, get a standard double overlooking the hotel garden.

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