Forget the flight chaos, if you fancy a mini-break in the City of Love with gourmet food you’ll swoon over, it couldn’t be easier than at La Clef Champs-Elysees, in the heart of Paris.
If you want a quick and easy get-away without the fear of losing your luggage and spending hours delayed at an airport, travelling to Paris on the Eurostar, couldn’t be easier. After a swift and painless journey, we headed to La Clef Champs-Elysees, which is just off The Avenue des Champs-Elysees, in the eighth arrondissement. It’s about 20 minutes in a taxi from Gare du Nord, right in the centre of Paris.
You couldn’t get a better location for seeing Paris’ tourist hotspots. The hotel is in a quiet street off the Champs-Elysees, so you can walk down the famous avenue to the Arc de Triomphe and wander around the Trocadéro, the Grand Palais, the Louvre and the Tuileries and the Eiffel Tower. It is surrounded by lovely cafes and restaurants, as well as the couture heaven that is Avenue Montaigne, with its designer stores. We have been to Paris before, so this time, we wanted to wander around like a local and see interesting sights, such as the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris and La Galerie Dior, which are both near the hotel. We had cocktails on the roof terrace of Galeries Lafayette and a picnic along the Seine. We packed loads into two days, thanks to the location of the hotel.
La Clef Champs-Elysees is part of The Crest Collection, which has two other locations in Paris. The exquisite heritage building is a traditional Haussmannian-style building, which was the former home of the Hennessey family. It has been converted into a five-star 70-room luxury boutique apartment-hotel, which opened in 2019.
It has been designed to feel like staying in a luxury flat in Paris and it offers impeccable service from the very-friendly and knowledgeable staff. The interior design, by renowned French interior architect, Jean-Philippe Nuel, is a sumptuous mix of French heritage with modern styling, so high ceilings, parquet floors and a slick palette of black, silver and marble contrasting the period architecture. The lobby, full of monochrome marble and mirrors, is like walking into a jewellery box and has a beautiful touch of a fragrance lounge, where you can try a collection of bespoke fragrances.
We loved the courtyard at the back – it’s a beautiful space to sit and relax, read or write, with a coffee or drink from the bar. Another high for us was the breakfast room, where a full continental buffet offered everything from delicious freshly-baked pastries to yoghurts, organic fruit, smoked salmon, cheese, meats and cereals and a small selection of hot items.
The rooms continued the mix of heritage and contemporary – balcony, high ceilings, panelled walls and marble fireplaces beautifully contrasted with modern statement furniture and sumptuous soft furnishings. We especially liked the touches like the mirror above the fireplace doubling as a flat-screen TV. Apartments have a bedroom, living room and kitchen, which means you have a relaxing base whilst visiting Paris. We loved the beautiful marble bathrooms – ours had a huge walk-in monsoon shower and L’Occitane products.
The Imperial Treasure restaurant
Le Clef is best-known for its fine-dining restaurant, The Imperial Treasure. This Chinese restaurant is part of the Michelin-starred Singaporean group and is based in the gorgeous restaurant within the hotel. It has two lovely dining rooms and a stunning, sleek modern bar, with a huge array of cocktails.
Dining here was a highlight of our stay and a remarkable experience. We tried the degustation menu, with was based around their signature dish, Peking Duck. The menu was a mix of delicate-steamed dumplings, the stand-out house spicy sauce with imperial shrimp, sautéed Carabinero jumbo prawn and perfect sticky rice. Everything was impeccably prepared and the service faultless and it made a fabulous alternative to eating out in traditional French bistros.
Rooms start at £383 per night, to book, visit discoverasr.com