It is clear just from looking at the exterior that there is something different about the Apostrophe. The unique trompe l'oeil façade stands out in this otherwise unremarkable side street off the Boulevard Montparnasse. If you are looking for an original, out-of-the-ordinary base from which to explore Paris, perhaps on a romantic weekend, then this is the place for you. Not only is the hotel like no other, you'll be safe in the knowledge that no one else in the hotel will have the same room as you!
The Apostrophe is found half way down a small street off of the Boulevard Montparnasse. It is a quiet location, just opposite the digs of an American university campus. Although not right in the mix of things when it comes to the capital's top attractions, the hotel is nevertheless well served by public transport being close to the metro, train, buses and there is a Velib' station right outside too! Close by is the Jardin du Luxembourg, the Cimetière du Montparnasse and the St. Germain-des-Près quarter.
The trompe l'oeil façade has been painted by Catherine Feff (after having received permission from the authorities) to make it look as though there are trees covering the hotel. And the result is fantastic, especially at night when the lighting comes in to play. If you happen to try and find the hotel on Google maps, don't be alarmed to see that the hotel appears to be unfinished! We can assure you that this is not the case and that it looks marvelous!
The outside of the building is kept very prim and proper, which could easily go unnoticed given the unorthodox façade. However this gives a good idea of what is to be found the other side of the entrance doors. The lobby, which is spotless, comprises the reception desk, behind which sits the unflappable (English-speaking) Madame Lozano, who together with her parents, manage the hotel. Over the other side there is a small area for relaxing and reading while just next to this are four small tables where a simple breakfast could be taken if required. The most striking aspect of the lobby is the modern, tasteful colour scheme of the chairs and cushions as well as the Italian-designed lamps; indeed all of the furniture and décor invites a closer look (and possibly a quick admiring stroke), such is its unconventionality. There is no bar, but the hotel has a licence to serve alcohol, of which there is a limited selection at the reception. The custom-made stair and hallway carpet gives the impression that the alphabet is tumbling down towards you while the exterior of each room door resembles a wooden panel.
The way the rooms are divided up into themes is quite complicated, so stick with us while we try to explain! The overall theme of the hotel is that of poetry, with each floor having a sub-theme, for example 'Signes' (signs) or 'Le Livre' (the book). Every floor, aside from the ground floor, has three rooms, each with its own distinctive sub-sub-theme, to which the room's letter (no room numbers in this hotel) corresponds (in French). Let's take the second floor as a model, where the sub-theme is 'Signes'. The three rooms on this level are 'A' for 'Alphabet', 'C' for 'Calligraphie' and 'M' for 'Musique'. This is how floors 1-4 work. On the ground floor there is one room whose theme is 'Mille et une Nuits' (The Arabian Nights). The final floor, the fifth has a different theme altogether. It is based on the well-known quotation by the French author Jules Renard which goes 'Add two letters to Paris and you have Paradise' (in French: 'Ajoutez deux lettres à Paris; c'est le Paradis'). Accordingly, the three rooms found at this level are lettered 'P' (for Paris-Paradis), 'D', one of the missing letters (for the Nile Delta, which is a feminine symbol) and 'A', the second missing letter (which, upside down, represents the head of a bull). Each of the rooms, has customized carpet and related artwork on the walls, whether a blown up photo, part of a text or a life size model ('Livre', 'Musique'). Every room has customised carpet and the tiling in the bathroom is coloured to match the rest of the room. Air conditioning, jet showers, (free, unlimited) wi-fi, LCD TV with international channels, entertainment system (capable of playing DVDs, CDs, MP3 files and iPods), cordless phones, safes and hairdryers are standard in all rooms (there are actually three categories of room, however this bears no relation to what floor the room is on). The quality of the linen is excellent throughout as is the sleek Italian design and original touches such as the sliding tables which run above the beds so as to allow you to take breakfast in bed. None of the bathrooms are completely shut off from the rest of the room, so discretion would be needed if friends are sharing a room. However they are all stylishly fitted with interesting shaped basins and Keiji toiletries. All Apostrophe category rooms have a light-up shower head, while the Balneo rooms have chromotherapy jacuzzi baths whose lights gradually change colour. The rooms, however innovative, are only slightly bigger than your average Parisian room. But this is no particular problem as the hotel is really aimed at those taking a short city break. For the best view, try and bag either rooms 'D' or 'P'.
There is no buffet as such at the Apostrophe, but they do offer a hot drink + pastries (6?) to which can be added a fruit juice (3? extra) or a smoothie (4? extra), which can be taken either in the lobby or in the confort of your own room. Lunch and dinner are not offered at the hotel.
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Mark out of 10 for geographical location
flights June : average price