Originally built to attract wealthy British travellers in 1925, the award-wining Raphael exudes French charm and luxury. A quintessential symbol within Paris's hotel industry; the hotel is a Paris institution despite it being on the smaller side. It welcomes high profile celebrities from all four corners of the globe and has recently become a Small Leading Hotel of the World.
Well located, the Raphael is close to the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower. The nearest metro station is Kléber (line 6). Close to exclusive boutiques of Victor Hugo and Parisian luxury lifestyle restaurants and cafés. In the evenings the area tends to be relatively quiet, so if you are expecting to stumble right into the heights of Parisian nightlife, this is not the place to be. However if you are looking for a little peace and quiet in a typical Parisian upmarket area, then Avenue Kléber is perfect.
Inaugurated in 1925, the award-wining Raphael is renowned as one of Paris' top hotels. A Leading Small Hotel of the World, The Raphael is palatial and truly emblematic of Parisian luxury. Awarded the 2008 excellence prize for its hospitality (out of 450 hotels over 80 countries) from the LSHW and the 2008 Villégiature (holiday) award for best hotel bar in Europe, the Raphael, envisaged by the creator of the group, Leonard Bavarez, for an exclusively VIP clientele, is without a shadow of a doubt, an unbeatable choice. Along with its sister hotels, the Régina (1st district) and the recently re-opened Majestic (16th), the group is now headed by Sir Taubert's granddaughter, Ms Françoise Bavarez. Rub shoulders with international stars and don't be surprised to stumble onto a film set! There are often Chanel photo shoots here, so Karl Lagerfeld could be lurking in the corridors. Iggy Pop and Dita Von Teese are loyal clients, as was Gainsbourg (room 503-504) and many more. The reception is open 24/7 so always at the ready for client requests; not forgetting that there is a rather elaborate wine list in each room for late night encounters on the terrace overlooking the Jardins des Tuileries under the Parisian moonlight. There is also valet parking available (at a fee). Luggage is brought in by a porter (who usually expects a tip) and is always taken up to the rooms for the guests. Another good indicator to the quality of service is the fact that the Head Concierge here, Mr Lionel Lorans, is vice-president of the French Clefs d'Or (prestigious concierge association) and he can organise just about anything.
Be ready to step into the early 20th century as you enter. The reception desk is on the left as you walk in; the lobby area feels slightly cramped, but when the rest of the lobby is discovered - the long corridor which looks as though it belongs in a castle, the guest is not disappointed. The Raphael's décor lives up to 1900s elegance. Walking along the chequered floors partly covered in thick Persian rugs, the guests can admire the paintings displayed until the lifts are reached. The hotel comprises of seven floors including the stunning flowery 'Ciel de Paris' terrace which boasts a 360° of the capital. The hotel also has a well-equipped gym and sauna on the ground floor. Despite its size, it is warm and cosy; it must be the clanking of the restaurant, the laughter in the bar...the Raphael is far from gloomy.
The Raphael has a total of 83 rooms (52 rooms and 38 suites) with individual thermostat control air-conditioning. The rooms all have flat-screen televisions with a wide range of channels (CNN, Skynews, Sat 1, BBC World, Rai Uno, TVE, Euro Sport, NHK/JSTV, DUBAI, Aljazeera, Saoudi One, Al Arabia, Canal+, Cartoon Network, Disney, CNBC, TRT, MBC, DWTV, Bloomberg). The bathrooms all have toiletries by the very French luxurious brand, Fragonard. Despite being anchored in French history, the Raphael moves forward with the times with the latest technology including DVD players (must be asked for at reception and are free), some bathrooms have televisions, baths double up as a Jacuzzi, remote controlled facilities are inbuilt (this must be mentioned as a requirement when booking as not all rooms have the sale facilities). The room directory is translated into English, Japanese and Russian. Some bathrooms are more spectacular than others - some boast stunning 1900s stained glass ceilings. The rooms styles are wide-ranging with a good number having recently been done up in beautiful contemporary fabrics, the colours always remaining soft. The carpets create an urge to dig in freshly-pedicured toes... The hotel has various suites, but for something a little different, 106m² Penthouse Suite, with its green panels of 18th century paintings is truly stunning. Spread over three floors, it has its own access to the roof terrace. The advantage of many rooms here, is that they can communicate to make one large suite, like the State Suite for example. For those midnight snacks, room service is open around the clock (hot dishes served till 10pm). As room prices vary, the hotel must be contacted for a quote. The Raphael's rooms would appeal to a guest looking for a luxury, classic and elegant authentic French hotel. Check-in: 3pm/check-out: 12pm.
There are three areas you can have a meal at the hotel: the 'Salle à Manger' (the dining room), the blue Room and the terrace, ?Jardins du Ciel' (Gardens of the Sky) and the 'Bar Anglais' (English Bar - open 10.30am-1am and open for food Mon-Fri from 7.30-10.30am/12.30-2.30pm/3.30-6pm). Have a look at the Bar Anglais' extensive (and non-exhaustive) beverage list by clicking here. The head chef is Philip Delahaye. The Salle à Manger is a typically opulent dining room, tables dressed in white linen and perfectly-polished silverware. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and here, guests as well as non-residents, while away course after course. A personal favourite is the 'Salon Bleu' (blue room), for it is fresh and enticing, drawing you away from the dark woodwork and crimson velvet seats and drapes of the English Bar and to a fresher blue walls of the calm sumptuous little sitting room between the Salle à Manger and the Bar Anglais. Keep your eyes peeled for celebrities lurking around in the depths of the Bar's shadows.
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