For those of us protectionistes who hate to see change in the classic landscape of Paris, the fears that the new Mandarin Oriental would be an eyesore on lovely rue St. Honoré were unfounded. After nearly three years of suspense, hidden behind a horrid construction facade that took up half of the rue, the big reveal was by all accounts a non-event.
In fact, the exterior facade of the hotel is so inconspicuous, almost communist in its austerity, that Petite Brigitte has missed the entrance to the hotel several times and had to turn around!
Once successfully inside, the fresh modernity consistent with the Mandarin brand comes through in the minimalist design, white flowers, and noble materials. To the left is the space age bar, where a small interior opens out into a verdant Hong Kongesque garden cocktail louge… definitely the tables of choice on a nice evening. The menu is strictly liquid for the moment though snacks will be added shortly. The bar specializes in gourmet cosmo-style cocktails as well as champagne cocktails, at prices that rival the Plaza Athenée (around EUR24 a pop), though perhaps not at the same quality or expert service of the Plaza. Petite Brigitte & co. waited 30 minutes for cocktails– a near disaster. At these prices, the clientele consists mostly of hotel clients, a few curious Parisians, and businessmen with expense accounts. While it is a more fashionable clientele than neighborhood rivals like the Park Hyatt, it cannot touch the coolness of the adjacent Hotel Costes.
To the right, the restaurant ‘Camelia’ continues in the cool, modern style, with a gastronomic menu, and although Petite Brigitte hasn’t tried it yet, the ambiance looks a little froide. The only tables really worth having are outside along the pond, as the candlelight and foliage create a romantic setting. Just hoping the service is better than at the bar!
Mandarin Oriental Paris
251 Rue Saint-Honoré
01 70 98 78 88