15 of the best unique and boutique hotels in France

Feb 29, 2020

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It’s France month at TPG U.K.! As one of our closest neighbours, France is a popular holiday destination for us Brits — it’s close enough to even pop to Paris for the day. But France has so much more to offer than just Paris — wine country, blissful beaches, eclectic cities, snow-capped mountains, historical ruins, exotic islands and more.

From luxury digs to budget haunts to unique hotels, visitors have endless options when selecting accommodation in France. And, if you don’t have points to work with, the options become positively innumerable.

But TPG U.K. is here to help, offering our top recommendations and favourite boutique and unique hotels to choose from depending on your preferences — from intimate wine retreats to fashionable city hotels and even sleeping in a treehouse or a bubble.

1. Luxury splurge: Hotel De Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, Paris

(Photo courtesy of Hotel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, Paris)
(Photo courtesy of Hotel de Crillon, Rosewood Hotel, Paris)

For a five-star luxury, truly opulent escape, stay at the Hôtel de Crillon, where guestrooms (some of which were designed by Karl Lagerfield) feature bespoke antiques, custom artwork, Rivolta Carmignani Italian linens and marble bathrooms. Take a break from Paris sightseeing to relax in the ornate lobby, covered with plush furniture and gold trimmings, the Sense Spa (complete with hammam) or the indoor pool.

Room rates at the 18th-century Parisian landmark property start at 970 euro (£808) per night — and the most coveted suites can run up to 20,000 euro (£16,670) per night.

2. Cool and comfortable: Hotel Brach, Paris

(Photo courtesy of Hotel Brach, Paris)
(Photo courtesy of Hotel Brach, Paris)

Famous for designing top hotels like Miami’s Delano and SLS, the Fasano Rio de Janeiro and the Mondrian Los Angeles, Phillippe Starck hit home with the Hotel Brach, which opened in late 2018. The hotel’s 52 wood-panelled rooms intermix warm African prints and ceramics with sleeker touches like framed black and white photos and drawings, evoking a vintage, luxury feel.

Room rates start at 430 euro (£360) per night, and if you can’t stay there, plan to visit the terrace, which shares the design scheme of the hotel and boasts Eiffel Tower views.

3. Seine style: OFF Paris Seine

(Photo courtesy of OFF Paris Seine)
(Photo courtesy of OFF Paris Seine)

Sleep on the Seine River at floating hotel OFF Paris Seine, which is docked at the base of the Austerlitz station. The overwater hotel features 54 rooms, four suites, a bar/restaurant and a plunge pool. Guestrooms are small but chic and expect to see boats, ducks and all sorts of fun views from your room window.

Room rates start at 134 euro (£111) per night.

Further reading: London to Paris: A Eurostar guide for families

4. Whimsical French: Hotel Des Grandes Boulevards, Paris

(Photo courtesy of Hotel des Grandes Boulevards, Paris)
(Photo courtesy of Hotel des Grandes Boulevards, Paris)

If you’re a fan of Parisian cocktail bars Experimental Cocktail Club and Prescription Cocktail Club, you should plan to stay at the Hotel des Grandes Boulevards, which was opened by the same management group. Design elements mesh vintage France (think Marie Antoinette) with contemporary styles, like bright, colourful French bed curtains, exposed beams and French faience tiles.

Room rates start at 186 euro (£155) per night but you can access The Shed rooftop (complete with Experimental Cocktail Club-style drinks) without staying overnight.

5. Art & design: J.K. Place, Paris

(Photo courtesy of J.K. Paris)
(Photo courtesy of J.K. Paris)

Currently one of the buzziest hotels in Paris, J.K. Place, which opened in 2019 (the first J.K. property outside Italy), overlooks the River Seine and has just 30 guestrooms. The J.K. group took a full five years to select the right building and each room has been carefully thought out and decorated with the ultimate Italian-meets-French design aesthetic, with one-of-a-kind antiques sourced at French flea markets and hand-selected Italian furniture.

Room rates start at 958 euro (£798) per night.

Further reading: How to spend 48 hours in Paris

6. Fashion lovers: Hotel Dress Code And Spa, Paris

(Photo courtesy of Hotel Dress Code and Spa, Paris)
(Photo courtesy of Hotel Dress Code and Spa, Paris)

Parisian fashion is unlike any other. A stay at the Hotel Dress Code and Spa, a fashion-themed hotel, is the ultimate style immersion. Not only is it located in one of the best shopping areas of the city, but rooms are also artfully decorated with fashionable design touches, like giant photos of runway shows and haute couture above the bed.

Room rates start at 203 euro (£170) per night.

7. Budget traveller: Terminus Nord By 25 Hours, Paris

(Photo courtesy of Terminus Nord by 25 Hours, Paris)
(Photo courtesy of Terminus Nord by 25 Hours, Paris)

We appreciate a budget option as much as a luxury one — and we love the Terminus Nord concept, which deems itself an “urban refuge”, priding itself on helping guests with requests or anything “unusual” you might need. The colourful wall murals and bronze finishings inspired by Asia and Africa give the hotel a fun flavour, and tech touches like BOOM speakers, extra outlets and fast Wi-Fi as well as bike rental options make this perfect spot for both leisure and business travellers on the go.

Room rates start at 102 euro (£85) per night for a room with a single bed.

Further reading: Second Cities: The best destinations to add onto a trip to Paris

8. Sleep in a bubble: Attrap’ Reves, Allauch

(Photo courtesy of Attrap’Rêves, Allauch)
(Photo courtesy of Attrap’ Rêves, Allauch)

Located in a Provencal pine forest outside Marseilles, these bubble rooms have the ultimate privacy for you to enjoy the natural landscape around you. Each bubble is clear and has a different theme, so you can enjoy views from the Glamour Bubble (decked out in warm colours with romantic decor), the Japanese-inspired Zen Bubble (featuring simple colours and minimalistic furniture) or the Design bubble (outfitted with trendy touches).

Bubble rates start at 119 euro (£99) per night.

9. Intimate beach glamour: Pan Dei Palais, Saint-Tropez

(Photo courtesy of Pan Deï Palais, Saint-Tropez)
(Photo courtesy of Pan Deï Palais, Saint-Tropez)

The small, exotic mansion in the French Riviera was built for an Indian princess in 1835 by a French general who fell in love with her. Nowadays, Pan Deï Palais is a chic and intimate boutique property, infusing French and Indian culture into both the design and cuisine. Lounge by the pool in a stylish Balinese bed or enjoy the bold comfort of the colourful, spacious guestrooms.

Room rates start at 440 euro (£366) per night.

10. Treehouse castle: Chateaux Dans Les Arbres, Nojals-et-Clottes

(Photo courtesy of Châteaux Dans Les Arbres, Nojals et Clottes)
(Photo courtesy of Châteaux Dans Les Arbres, Nojals et Clottes)

France already wins for having some of the best castle hotels in Europe. But Châteaux Dans Les Arbres takes castles in the sky to the next level with its luxury treehouses, equipped with fun extras like footbridges and even hot tubs and saunas. One is located actually not up in a tree, but on a lake, giving a whole new meaning to the term overwater villa (this one has turrets!).

Treehouse rates start at 240 euro (£200) per night.

11. Seaside castle: Castlebrac, Brittany

(Photo courtesy of Castlebrac, Brittany)
(Photo courtesy of Castlebrac, Brittany)

Take your pick from over 25 rooms at this seaside palace that each has a slightly different view of the bay. The mix of coastal blue hues with luxury furniture and fabrics with the Art Deco design highlights makes this Belle Époque castle truly special. Enjoy soaking in the rays at the cliffside swimming pool, artfully carved into the stone overlooking the sea.

Room rates start at 230 euro (£191) per night and non-hotel guests can book restaurant reservations or spa treatments at the castle.

12. Wine castle: ChAteau De Berne, Flayosc

(Photo courtesy of Château de Berne, Flayosc)
(Photo courtesy of Château de Berne, Flayosc)

The 1,500-acre Relais & Châteaux castle complex in the Provencal countryside is made up of several 18th-century mansions set on a sprawling vineyard. When you get tired of wine tasting or sipping rosé, enjoy a treatment or yoga session at the almost 9,000-square-foot spa. The luminous rooms give off a historic, but never stuffy feel with welcome touches like interesting books and fresh flowers.

Room rates start at 215 euro (£179) per night.

13. Island living: U Capu Biancu, Corsica

(Photo courtesy of U Capu Biancu, Corsica)
(Photo courtesy of U Capu Biancu, Corsica)

Jetting off to Corsica is already an idyllic French island escape, and beachfront hotel U Capu Biancu offers the ideal secluded paradise. With rooms outfitted in natural, earthy tones using simple and raw design elements like wood, stone and brick, you won’t be able to choose between lounging in the rooms and suites or relaxing on one of the hotel’s two private beaches.

This hotel opens between May and October and room rates start at 263 euro (£219) per night.

Further reading: Beyond Paris: Choose from these 10 French islands for your next holiday

14. Historic heaven: Hotel Le Sozo, Nantes

(Photo courtesy of Hotel Le Sōzō, Nantes)
(Photo courtesy of Hotel Le Sōzō, Nantes)

Dating back to 1883, this hotel is located inside a former chapel. Upon entering, prepare to be impressed: the lobby is located in the choir area of the chapel — complete with stone walls, a 17-metre-high ceiling and looming stained glass windows. Several of the 23 guestrooms also feature stone walls and stained glass windows. Le Sōzō also has a spa with a sauna, a steam room, an ice room and a sensory shower — the whole lodging/wellness experience will leave you positively resurrected.

Room rates start at 106 euro (£88) per night.

15. Alps spa retreat: Hotel Royal, Évian-les-Bains

(Photo courtesy of Hotel Royal, Évian-les-Bains)
(Photo courtesy of Hotel Royal, Évian-les-Bains)

Part of the two-hotel Évian Resort, the Hotel Royal, perched on the edge of Lake Geneva has all the marks of luxury: Michelin-starred restaurants, bend-over-backwards staff and beautiful design and high-end furnishings. But its real claim to fame is the Evian Source Spa: a 1,200-square-metre space complete with two pools, sauna, steam rooms, a special hydro-circuit and a series of seven hot tubs connected by water tunnels.

Room rates start at 288 euro (£240) per night.

Bottom line

France is packed with unique and boutique hotels. But we did the digging so you don’t have to. Instead of spending hours searching for just the right one, choose one of our favourites on this list. When it comes to booking, consider searching directly on the hotel’s website for rates, and compare these prices to online travel agencies like Expedia, Booking.com or Hotels.com.

Remember, since you can’t use points at these hotels, make sure to check if your property is part of the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts Programme. Booking through this programme may get you benefits such as room upgrade, breakfast, late check out, and a £77 property credit (often in the form of a spa or food and beverage credit).

Featured photo courtesy of Pan Deï Palais

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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