There are luxurious five-star Parisian hotels dappled with gold and dangling chandeliers, and then there are Parisian palaces, which represent an even higher realm of elegance. The Royal Monceau, Raffles in Paris is one of these rare and regal gems, embodying Parisian sophistication “in all of its spontaneity, culture and sagacity”. The palace distinction is a highly prestigious title endowed upon the most luxurious five-star hotels. These handpicked establishments have to boast exceptional characteristics, like being nestled in an unbelievably stunning location with incredible historical and cultural significance to its name. They also must offer a bespoke service that is without doubt amongst the best in the world.
The Royal Monceau, on the ultra-chic avenue Hoche in Paris, is one such rare gem to be awarded this accolade, receiving its ‘palace hotel’ status in June 2013. The palace boasts five floors of beautifully sophisticated, breathtaking suites with opulent charm and surprises at every turn.
In this exclusive interview with The Royal Monceau’s General Manager, M. Aaron Kaupp, we discover exactly what it takes to win this prestigious award.
“There is a list of criteria that every palace hotel needs to have and follow, Royal Monceau has all those and more,” Kaupp tells Culture Trip. “The Hotel revolves around Art and Design where everything has a meaning in the way it was chosen and placed, making it feel like the home away from home.”
The aesthetic beauty of ‘Art and Design’ has always been of the utmost importance to The Royal Monceau. As soon as it was opened in 1928, the Royal Monceau hotel became a rendezvous of choice for artists, writers and intellectuals.
This attraction has only blossomed since the Roaring Twenties. For example, Suite 714 is where Ray Charles once lived, and it now bears his name and contains photographs by Arlette Kotchounian. In fact, you’ll soon discover that there’s a history of fame etched into most walls.
The interiors have been refurbished by world-renowned designer Philippe Starck, whose impeccable eye for detail has laboured over every last stitch of upholstery, leaving no aspect of design uncared for. In the words of Starck himself, he sees the hotel as “a shelter for people who deserve our attention, generosity and consideration”, placing their comfort as the primary concern.
Of course it’s not just luxury that has won this hotel its world-famous title, as there are plenty of luxurious hotels dotted around Paris. There also needs to be a spark of ingenious creativity and innovation in order to stand out from the crowd, which is one of Starck’s greatest strengths.
At The Royal Monceau, he has engineered, for example, a rather unusual bar whose structure is broken up by large white linen curtains, works of art and a surprising array of lamps and chandeliers. This long, narrow and luminous bar located at the heart of the hotel expresses Starck’s desire to break with convention – the repetitive face-to-face layout between patrons and a bartender moving behind a bar – with its unexpected design.
Though fear not, you’re sure to be dazzled by the traditional mirrored delights usually associated with palaces, as well as more chandeliers dotted throughout the hotel than you could possibly imagine.
“There are 10 palace hotels in Paris, and each of us complements each other as everyone is offering something completely unique to the their guests and each has a different heart and soul,” says Kaupp. “In this the Royal Monceau is very special in its own way, catering to more 21st-century palace guests that are looking for the new Paris, but still receiving the best in service.”
One of the ways in which this palace caters to its 21st-century clientele searching for a ‘new Paris’ – as opposed to its Roaring Twenties superstars – is discovered in the technological treats often tucked away where you least expect. For example, don’t be surprised to find an oversized television hidden behind your bedroom mirror.
With an Italian Michelin-starred restaurant in the quarters, flaunting a Sicilian baroque style with an extravagant shell decor on the walls, you can expect their food to be just as luxurious.
They offer a delectable and sophisticated cuisine that makes use of only the freshest seasonal produce, as inspired by the best traditional recipes from Italy’s many regions.
Despite all these impressive assets, from material luxury to masterful service, it seems like the ultimate factor endowing this hotel with the status of a palace is down to ambiance and the self-assured ease it inspires.
“The true luxury today is feeling at home even when travelling to a foreign country, where you will be welcomed to feel as part of the family and your surroundings do not feel like a room number,” Kaupp explains.
“Le Royal Monceau is for those that want to experience 21st-century Paris and mingle in surroundings frequented by locals. Feel as if you have stepped into an Architectural Digest Parisian home, and experience the authentic Parisian service.”