Art deco decadence: A review of Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Paris
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Paris is never a bad idea. And a luxury hotel in Paris is an even better one. The French capital is no stranger to posh places to lay your head, but, lucky for all of us, many of these high-priced hotels are actually points properties, often providing travelers with a great value.
One such spot is Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Paris that became a part of the Marriott family after the chain's merger with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. The Pierre-Yves Rochon-designed hotel has long piqued my interest, thanks to its wholehearted embrace of 1920s art deco glamour. It transports you back to a time far more glamorous than the one we live in now.
And thanks to a great award redemption, I experienced all this art deco palace has to offer on a trip to Paris this summer. Here's what it was like.
Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Paris is a Category 8 Marriott Bonvoy property. And, since Marriott's peak and off-peak pricing has now gone live, it will cost you 70,000 points for an off-peak night, 85,000 for a standard night and a whopping 100,000 for a peak night.
Predictably, cash rates are also quite steep for this high-end hotel. In the dead of winter -- low season in Europe -- you'll need to fork over 430 euros (about $480) for a night, and in summer, when cities in Europe are busiest, a room can cost all the way up to 895 euros (about $1,000).
My stay was booked far in advance, even before Marriott's Category 8 pricing went live, so I paid 60,000 points per night for my two-night stay and was charged no destination fee. Even though the number of points required for a stay has now gone up since I booked, you can still get a great value, considering those cash rates.
If you're short on Marriott points, consider applying for a card such as the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, which are both currently offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Prince de Galles is in the Eighth Arrondissement of Paris, on one of the city's most illustrious and high-end streets, Avenue George V. The surrounding neighborhood is classically posh, with an abundance of other luxe hotels (the Four Seasons Hotel George V is its next-door neighbor), high-end boutiques and trendy and see-and-be-seen restaurants. The Arc de Triomphe is about a 15-minute walk away, and the Eiffel Tower is 20 minutes away on foot.
It took me about an hour to get from Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to the hotel in an Uber, and cost me 52 euros or about $58. You could also take a combination of Paris' RER trains and the Metro to get from the airport to the hotel, which is about a five-minute walk from the George V Metro stop on the No. 1 line.
I arrived early in the morning, so, as expected, my room wasn't quite ready. The check-in process was routine, but the friendly front-desk agent could tell I was struggling and told me that they were working to get my room ready as quickly as possible.
I was pretty exhausted, as I'd just gotten off of a flight from Los Angeles (LAX) that departed midday, so I didn't sleep much on the way over. I set myself up in the lobby to get a little bit of work done, though this space was definitely not designed for working like some hotel lobbies these days -- it wasn't very big at all and only had a few places to sit.
It was, however, beautiful, with fresh flowers set in tall black vases set up in front of the main door, and plenty of gold-and-black decor to continue the art deco motifs that were introduced with the hotel's lettering outside.
About an hour after I sat down, I was told that my room was ready and that my bag would be waiting for me there.
I excitedly hopped on the very small European elevator and made my way to Room 604.
Before I even opened the door, I liked my room already. The door itself was a gorgeous lacquer gray and surrounded by an ornate chrome frame, with large chrome numbers on the front of it denoting the room number. It had a nice weight to it and closed with an authoritative thud, but swung open easily.
The art deco goodness continued on the other side of the door, with plenty of bold colors and mirrors. Though it was small, the room was well-appointed and had plenty of light. It felt high-end and luxurious without being stuffy.
Immediately to the left was the bathroom, which, despite its small size, had everything you could ever want, including a separate soaking tub, standing shower and water closet. It felt bigger thanks to plentiful mirrors, too.
I especially liked the shower, which featured black mosaic tiles with an intricate gold design on one wall -- it felt very luxurious. It didn't hurt that there were two shower heads, either.
The bathroom featured a single vanity, due to its size, but I loved the dark, wood countertop and heavy, high-end faucet.
Back in the main room, the foyer was trimmed in a beautiful dark lacquered wood that made me think of an ocean liner from the early 20th century, and just beyond that were two framed black-and-white photographs of fashionable Parisian women. All together, it oozed classic Frenchness, much like the butter escapes a flaky, slightly undercooked croissant.
In the foyer was the room's minibar and a Nespresso machine with several pods for all my caffeination needs.
The centerpiece of the room was the obscenely large bed and its mirrored headboard. There's no better sight for jet-lagged eyes than a sumptuous hotel bed, let me tell you.
Across from the bed was a desk and chair, along with the room's TV. I didn't use this space for working, as it felt a little cramped and I preferred to head to a nearby café to work.
There was also a sitting area with two bright orange chairs and a small table, which had a welcome amenity waiting for me.
The windows were actually a set of French doors that opened up to a positively tiny outdoor space, but it was all I needed. To be able to step out onto any terrace in the middle of Paris is a true pleasure.
Food and beverage
As this is a small property, the food and beverage options are limited -- but that's not necessarily a bad thing here. The property has two restaurants, Bar Les Heures and Le Patio.
Les Heures is the hotel's centerpiece restaurant, set in a dazzling space with elaborate art deco trimmings including chandeliers, ceiling frescoes and dark woods throughout.
I stopped into Les Heures for a quick late lunch before heading out to meet my cousin who was living in Paris at the time in the city's Le Marais area. I ordered a chicken Caesar salad (26 euros, or about $30) and a Diet Pepsi -- not exactly a gourmet pick, but the heart wants what it wants. It was pretty delicious, too -- I liked the addition of quail eggs that's common in European cities.
The second day of my stay, I invited my cousin to have a glass of wine (13 euros, or about $15) at Le Patio before dinner elsewhere.
It's a cool, Mediterranean-inspired space complete with abundant foliage and even palm trees -- in the middle of Paris!
We were there on the earlier side, so it wasn't too busy, but I'm sure on days with pleasant weather it becomes filled with hotel guests and trendy Parisians alike who want to enjoy a cocktail or a snack in a trendy but timeless setting. We didn't eat (besides the provided bar snacks), but certainly enjoyed the atmosphere.
As this is a city hotel -- and a small one at that -- I wasn't expecting much in the way of amenities. But that's not the point of this hotel, either. What it does offer, though, are a high-quality gym and a spa known as the Wellness Suite by Olivier Lecocq. The spa also featured a hammam.
I had absolutely no time for pampering on this quick two-day trip in Paris, but if you're looking for rest and relaxation in the City of Light, you shouldn't be left wanting for more at Prince de Galles.
The gym, also designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, was actually larger than I thought it'd be, though it was in the basement of the hotel, so there was no natural light. It was quite beautiful, though. I get my exercise, especially in Europe, by walking everywhere it's possible, so I didn't visit the gym, but on a longer stay it would have been a great place to get my heart rate up before indulging in a day of croissants and steak frites.
I wasn't at the hotel all that much on this stay, but every interaction I had with the staff was very positive. I appreciated the check-in agent who recognized that I was in need of a nap and did all he could to get my room ready well before the published check-in time.
Also, toward the end of my stay, a member of the staff came to my room in the evening before I headed out for the night and asked what time I'd be leaving the next morning. I told him that I had a very early flight from Charles de Gaulle, and he said that he'd send someone up to take my bag down and into a taxi the next morning. Sure enough, at 5:30 a.m., there was a knock on the door, and the staff member took my bag down while I was finishing packing my backpack for my travel ahead. Besides The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico, I'd never experienced a hotel being so proactive with taking my bags down from the room at the end of a stay.
I couldn't get enough of the art deco found in every corner of the hotel, and I had a beautifully appointed room with a sliver of outdoor space that still afforded an oh-so-Parisian view. Though I didn't spend a ton of time in the hotel on this trip to Paris, the service I did receive was professional and convivial, especially at Le Patio. At properties such as this, it's reasonable to expect professional service, but you might always not get friendly and relaxed in combination. Prince de Galles is a Parisian gem that I'm lucky to have had the opportunity to stay in, and I hope I get the chance to return.
All photos by the author.