The swanky Hotel Raphael Paris–a favorite haunt of Hollywood stars–lands on the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World list.
One of the most famous photos ever taken of the great Cary Grant shows him perched on the roof of a hotel in 1956, the postcard-perfect Parisian skyline stretched out behind him. With his usual impeccable taste, the iconic actor, who had just begun his legendary collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock, chose Hotel Raphael Paris as his luxurious digs when visiting the City of Lights.
Sixty-five years later, the five-star hotel, a bastion of timeless elegance, understated luxury and unparalleled service, is as alluring as ever following the recent opening of a new rooftop terrace that would have certainly have been as captivating to Grant as it has Paris’ beau monde.
The property originally opened in 1925 and is part of the celebrated Parisian hotel group Les Hôtels Baverez, part of its boutique collection of five-star hotels managed by the same family for four generations.
It is also the newest Parisian member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) network, a collection of more than 500 small, independently-owned, exclusive hotels in more than 90 countries, known for their elegant accommodations, award-winning spas, and acclaimed dining venues, each one utterly unique.
Designed to appeal to aristocrats, celebrities and society types, the richly-decorated Hotel Raphael Paris quickly became known for its “intimate and private atmosphere” offering guests a luxurious respite from the outside world.
The carefully-cultivated ambience, which persists to the present day, is that of an elegant private mansion. Far from being a mere time capsule however, the Raphael Paris has evolved to meet the rarified tastes of every decade.
In terms of recent history, in 2003 the hotel opened its fitness room; in 2007 it debuted the Presidential Suite; in 2012 it was rated one of the top hotels in Paris by Condé Nast Traveler; and in 2018 it opened its new rooftop terrace, furnishing guests and locals alike with an alluring aerie with unsurpassed views.
It has also appeared in numerous movies over the years, and many famous actors in addition to Grant, including Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Katherine Hepburn, Natalie Portman and Eva Mendes have graced its posh rooms and public spaces.
The storied property on Avenue Kléber in Paris’ 16th arrondissement is in one of the most desirable districts in Paris, just off the Champs-Élysées and near both the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, with some suites boasting views of the landmarks.
One of its most famous and award-winning features is the hotel’s wood-paneled, velvet-upholstered Bar Anglais, known for its classic cocktails and wide range of whiskies, designed in homage to London’s famed gentleman’s clubs. You can easily picture Grant and Flynn charming the local Parisian beauties here over a Martini or three.
The lushly-planted hotel’s rooftop terrace, set to re-open for the season this spring, is also a big draw in clement weather, with its panoramic views of Paris and particularly the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. It offers an all-day menu, cocktails, and of course champagne, ideal whether celebrating with friends or seeking a more intimate moment. And it’s the perfect pairing with the hotel’s 83 elegant rooms and suites.
The hotel’s Eiffel Tower Suite with its private terrace also showcase the iconic structure, and comes decorated in classic Louis XV, Louis XVI and Directoire style with real antiques, crystal chandeliers and an opulent fireplace.
The Signature Suites meanwhile are like having a prestigious private apartment in the heart of Paris, and feature spacious living rooms with marble fireplaces. Then there are the plush Prestige Suites with hand-painted murals, which also boast two full bathrooms and are ideal for entertaining.
The Arc de Triomphe Terrace Suite is designed to appeal to those who favor more contemporary decor, and covet a view of the famous arch.
And the pièce de resistance is the Presidential Suite, at over 1,000 square feet, with two bedrooms with en-suite baths, and a large living room with a marble fireplace, an office alcove, and crystal chandeliers. It is truly on a par with Paris’ famed private palaces.
Rounding things off are luxe touches like the team of elite Les Clefs d’Or concierges and Bottega Veneta bath amenities. “As we continue to grow our presence of luxury boutique hotels in Paris, Hotel Raphael is our latest addition bringing quintessential French elegance to the Small Luxury Hotels of the World portfolio,” notes Richard Hyde, SLH’s Managing Director.
In a city like Paris you may well be spoiled for choice, but just as in Cary Grant’s day, the Hotel Raphael remains a cut above.