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The Number One Hotel in the World Is…

La Réserve Paris

La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa entrance. Courtesy La Réserve Paris

La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa has been named the number one hotel in the world according to Condé Nast Traveler‘s 2017 Readers’ Choice Award.  This year, over 300,000 readers submitted millions of ratings and tens of thousands of comments, voting on 7,320 hotels and resorts.

La Réserve Paris

La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa suite. Courtesy La Réserve

The discreet boutique hotel, tucked behind the Champs Elysées and a stone’s throw from the Elysée Palace (parliament) in the upscale 8th arrondissement – overlooking the Eiffel Tower, Pantheon, Grand Palais, Concorde, and Obelisk – features an opulent, turn-of-the-20th century design by Jacques Garcia. Its 26 suites and 14 rooms with 24/7 dedicated butlers are swathed with velvet drapes, silk hung walls, and feature a parquet floor of herringbone oak. The hotel boasts a two Michelin star restaurant (Le Gabriel) while the spa features a 16-meter indoor pool, with three treatment rooms and one specifically for men.

La Réserve Paris

La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa Library, for hotel guests only. Courtesy La Réserve Paris

Vogue Arabia Features Director, Caterina Minthe, visited the spa for a closer look. 

“La Réserve Paris is increasingly appearing on my calendar as a meeting place for lunch or dinner during fashion weeks, but I’ve never had an opportunity (or the time) to discover its spa. Recently, work summoned and I was booked to test a facial and massage.

La Réserve Paris

La Réserve Paris Spa welcome desk. Courtesy La Réserve Paris

Once inside the opulent yet cozy manor, the first thing I noticed when the elevator door opened to the spa was the floor-to-ceiling red lacquer. Red is not a soothing color, per se, but it did serve to remind me that I was in an uber-chic Parisian boutique hotel. I was thankful to have scheduled a manicure, pedicure, and wax prior to this La Réserve facial and massage. In Paris, there are some establishments so elevated that one should consider preparing themselves in advance of the main event.

La Reserve Paris

La Réserve Hotel and Spa pool, curtained wall not shown. Courtesy La Réserve Paris

The smiling and English-speaking staff led me to a private changing room with full-length mirrors to slip into a terry cloth robe. It struck me how intimate the setting was, and crossing the hall to my treatment room I noticed a long wall of closed curtains. “A guest is using the pool,” remarked my facialist. I wondered what celebrity was practicing her crawl when she continued, “We make sure guests don’t cross each other, unless desired. The curtains are drawn for everyone.” Très chic.

Led into the room that wafted La Réserve’s signature woody smell due to scented candles placed throughout, I was asked what I hoped to gain from the day’s 60-minute facial. After revealing that I generally have time for a professional facial twice a year, my facialist (beholding exceptional skin), announced that she would give me an anti-aging deep tissue massage and a peel using Swiss-made Nescens exfoliator.


Nescens products, made in Switzerland

Without going into detail of the masterful kneading at the hands of the facialist, I must rave about the Nescens peel. While I experienced a slight tingling, once the weightless product was removed, my face was instantly smooth and matt while looking luminescent, and with no redness. The facialist advised that I use the peel once a week and it is truly the most effective exfoliator I have tried; in my profession, we are spoiled for choice.

Following the facial, I enjoyed a hearty lunch at the light-filled Pagode de Cos restaurant of blue lobster penne pasta with chanterelle mushrooms and parmesan cheese. Unlike some establishments, La Réserve does not skimp on the lobster (from Brittany), nor the parmesan. This is a restaurant that feeds the stomach, not just the eyes.

La Réserve Paris

La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa. Courtesy La Réserve Paris

After lunch, I descended the circular staircase (AKA rabbit hole to heaven) for my massage. Once again, the appointment began with a quick talk regarding my expectations and preferences with a massage therapist. I informed her that I wanted a deep tissue massage and what proceeded was a veritable duet of muscle presses and molds in synchronization with my breathing. Unlike a slow and gentle massage, the deep tissue massage that I experienced required me to be fully alert in order to time my breathing with the massage therapist’s manipulations to fully benefit from the treatment. After a green tea and a quick dip in the curtain-drawn pool, the disconnect felt so genuine that when the concierge drew back the red velvet curtain to reveal the fall landscape before me, I almost felt like I was stepping out of a dreamworld – but then, Paris is always a good idea, too.”

La Réserve Paris, 42 Avenue Gabriel, 75008. From 1,100 Euros/night for a prestige room and 1,450 Euros/night for a suite.
La Réserve Paris – Apartments, Place du Trocadéro.

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