A Paris classic gets a makeover: A review of Hyatt’s Hotel du Louvre
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To The Point
The intimate 164-room Hotel du Louvre embraces Paris’ past while providing the sort of top-of-the line service and amenities that you’d expect in a modern hotel. Pros: Fantastic location in the 1st arrondissement. You can walk to the Louvre in just one minute. Cons: The Paris Metro travels under the hotel from 5:30 a.m. to 12:40 a.m. daily (1:40 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). The low rumble may wake light sleepers.
The revitalized Hotel du Louvre lives in both the past and the present, modernized after an in-depth renovation yet firmly keeping intact its important history and Napoleon III style.
First opened as the Grande Hotel du Louvre in 1885, it was considered by many to be the first luxury hotel in all of France. This Parisian neighborhood — it still sits in the First Arrondissment — was up-and-coming back then, with the beautiful Rue de Rivoli being completed, the new opera house right down the road and all manner of celebrities checking in for a visit. In 1887, the hotel moved across the street to its current location right across from the museum it shares a name with. (Le Louvre des Antiquaires, which many of the hotel’s rooms overlook, is in the original building.)
Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro stayed at the hotel for months in 1897 and painted several of his masterpieces there, “l’Avenue de l’Opera,” “la Rue Saint-Honoré” and “la Place du Theatre Francais” among them. The top suite at the hotel is still named in his honor. Sigmund Freud wrote “Leonardo da Vinci: A Memoir of His Childhood” in one of the hotel’s suites in 1910, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the hotel into a Sherlock Holmes short story.
When Hyatt decided to move the hotel into The Unbound Collection, the time was right for a massive renovation. The company added modern touches while keeping its original Second French Empire architecture and Napoleon III style. The property reopened in June 2019.
Celebrating a big anniversary, my husband and I knew we wanted a suite instead of an entry-level room. Beating out over two dozen top-rated points hotels in Paris that I researched, the Category 6 Hotel du Louvre in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt was a perfect fit.
Entry-level rooms (215 square feet with a king or two twin beds) go for 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night, but they weren’t available for our dates. However, king rooms were available for a paid rate of 520 euro.
You can’t book premium suites on points via the website, but we had our heart set on a suite, so I called Hyatt. A straight premium suite would have cost 50k points per night, but that wasn’t available for our dates anyway. Instead, the agent suggested we pay cash for a standard room and then use points to guarantee a premium suite, the Palais Royal Suite, normally 1,200 euro per night. The deal was 520 euro and 9,000 points per night for the 540-square-foot corner suite with views overlooking the Louvre in one direction and Palais Royal in the other.
We considered this a great value, since the paid rate of 520 euro was fair for a splurge trip and spending just 9,000 points a night on the upgrade meant we weren’t wiping out our World of Hyatt balance on just one trip.
There are two suite levels above the Palais Royal: the Louvre Suite (also 540 square feet) and the 690-square-foot Pissarro Suite that overlooks Opera Avenue.
It took us about an hour to get to the hotel from Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on a Sunday afternoon. The taxi ride was a flat 55 euros, though we could have traveled into the city via the RER trains and the Metro, since there was a station right next door.
The First is perhaps the most touristy arrondissement, and the hotel sat directly across the street from the Louvre and close to Palais Royal, Jardin des Tuileries, the Seine, Opera Garnier, Notre-Dame, Les Halles shopping district and the Marais and Saint Germain des Pres neighborhoods.
There were a multitude of high-end boulangeries, patisseries, chocolatiers and restaurants, all within easy walking distance of the hotel. In fact, we walked just about everywhere from the hotel.
And even if you never thought of yourself as someone who would take a big bus tour in a European city, you should try it. There was a BigBus stop a five-minute walk from the hotel.
We arrived at about 2 p.m. (check-in time was officially 3 p.m.) and carried our bags inside ourselves. There was no bellman, but two front-desk agents greeted us and checked us in promptly, as our suite was ready.
The lobby wasn’t large but it was still inviting, with the concierge desk directly across from the revolving door at the entrance.
There was a small sitting area across from reception at the foot of a grand staircase to the mezzanine.
There was a cozy library upstairs. It was a terrific place to sit and gather your bearings before heading out for the day.
There was a coffee station between the library and the guest rooms.
Walking back into the lobby, I was struck by the simple elegance of the building’s high ceilings, marble floors and wood moldings. Architect George Wong reimagined the space and struck a balance that reinforces the hotel’s original design with a more modern look.
Colorful and playful illustrations by Emmanuel Pierre adorned the walls of the hotel and led guests on an exploration of the public areas.
Once we took care of the check-in details, a bellhop whisked our bags to the suite while the front desk agent brought us to the room, showing us the bar, the Brasserie du Louvre–Bocuse restaurant and the best elevator to use to access our suite.
This boutique-style hotel has 106 rooms and 58 suites. It’s a fantastic place to spend a special occasion, and we met couples honeymooning or celebrating anniversaries or big birthdays.
Inside the door to our room, we were greeted by a mirror and slim console table. Left was a wide foyer flanked by two closets, and a doorway led to a connecting room.
The first closet consisted of double doors, a built-in rack for one suitcase, three hooks and plenty of room for clothes.
The closet to the left of the double closet had drawers, space to store bigger items like cameras, purses and backpacks, and a safe that easily accommodated both our laptops and other items.
I was struck by the high ceiling (I’m guessing 12 or 13 feet) and the sunlight streaming through three sets of floor-to-ceiling French doors. The views from the suite immediately won us over.
The suite’s foyer looked straight across the room to the living area, with its large, slightly uncomfortable blue sofa. There was a comfier sitting chair, glass coffee table, marble side table, floor lamp and a set of French doors leading to a balcony that wrapped around two sides of the corner suite. These doors looked down on Rue Sainte-Honoré and Place Colette.
There was an outlet near the floor lamp. The floor-to-ceiling curtains obscured the outlets so we had to hunt for them.
The location of the hotel — at the crossroads of Place André Malraux, Rue Saint-Honore, Rue de Rivoli, Rue de Rohan and Place du Palais Royal — meant that most rooms were blessed with sunlight streaming through the windows on bright days. Many rooms had double French doors and walk-out balconies. When we threw open the three balcony doors in our Palais Royal Suite, we felt as if Paris walked right in.
We could walk out the French doors near the dining table with its two pink chairs and look left and down on Rue Saint-Honore.
We could look down Place du Palais Royal and straight across for the Louvre des Antiquaires. The Louvre itself was on the right.
It felt as if we could have reached out to touch the facade of the museum.
The Palais Royal made an excellent first impression, even if it wasn’t a true suite. Though incredibly spacious at 540 square feet, the living room, dining area and bedroom were all one continuous space with no separation between them, which made it tough if one person wanted to sleep late and the other loved to get up and watch the news or turn on the lights to check email.
One of the disappointments of the suite was the king bed. It was plenty roomy, but we found it to be a typical European-style mattress, a bit too firm for either of us.
A flat-screen Samsung TV sat above the minifridge and across from the bed.
Floor-to-ceiling, rubber-backed blackout curtains, as well as a set of sheers, could be pulled to block out the light. We particularly loved the motion-detector night light between the bed and bathroom door that lit up and gave off just enough light at ground level for midnight bathroom visits.
Atop the minibar was the Lavazza coffeemaker and an electric tea kettle.
There was a minifridge in the room, and we received two complimentary bottles of Evian water daily because of our World of Hyatt Discoverist status.
Next to the fridge was a stash of coffee pods, creamer and packets of white sugar, brown sugar, sweetener and teas.
The room could have used a few more utensils and serving plates. All we found were two small coffee cups, two glasses, two spoons and one paper napkin.
Light switches, two USB outlets and an electrical outlet were behind both nightstand lamps. We needed a Type E/F European adapter to use the electrical outlet.
The hotel did offer turndown service, but it was no big deal. A maid would basically just turn down the duvet on the bed and empty the trash baskets. Nothing special.
Internet was complimentary, and the speed was fine for our purposes, which on this trip just consisted of checking email.
I loved the airy bathroom design, which left plenty of space for two people. And, I loved, loved, loved the heated towel rack.
While I’m not usually a fan of mixing gold and silver fixtures, it worked in this case with the gray and white marble floor and all that glass.
The bathroom was absolutely immaculate … to the point that I wondered if we were the first people to stay in this particular suite. The grout between the floor tiles was absolutely stark white. Very impressive.
Two fluffy, terrycloth bathrobes, with the hotel name embroidered on the front pocket, hung on the bathroom wall along with two pairs of terry slippers. To the left of the robes was perhaps my favorite part of the bathroom, a heated towel rack. The mirror above the vanity was of the heated, fog-free variety.
The toilet was set off by a door so one person could shower or use the vanity while someone else used the facilities.
The tub and shower were in their own glass-enclosed room. It was nice to have a separate tub and shower. The shower had both a rainfall shower head and a wand mounted on the wall. The water pressure was good, but I wished the water got hotter.
The tub filled quickly and, for some reason, that water felt hotter than in the shower. The frosted glass French doors added a nice touch to the bath area, but they didn’t open.
Fragonard bath amenities, including bar soap in the bathing area and on the vanity as well as shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion, were provided. Additional amenities, like makeup remover pads, cotton swabs, nail file and shower cap were on the vanity. There was a hair dryer under the vanity, but you could request things like a curling iron or flat iron from reception.
We adored the Palais Royal Suite but wondered if we’d have been equally enamored with an entry-level king room. The aesthetic in those rooms was similar to the Palais Royal Suite, but the footprint was much smaller at 215 square feet. Yet it might actually have been better for anyone who needed to work in Paris, since you got a desk and chair, which we didn’t. If I were to book it, I’d ask for a high floor to avoid street noise, and I’d book on points or for the off-season.
Food and beverage
One of the most appealing things about Paris is that food is elevated to art. That was certainly the case at the Hotel du Louvre. The fruit tray and anniversary amenity sent to our room were both ready to be immortalized on canvas.
We also received a nice treat of carbonated drinks and dessert.
And the hotel restaurant, Brasserie du Louvre-Bocuse, was a destination in its own right. We ate there twice among hotel guests and Parisians. Chef Paul Bocuse earned superhero status in France during his lifetime, and even though he passed away in 2018, his restaurant at the hotel still shone. It’s didn’t close between meal services, so it was a good place to eat or snack between lunch and dinner, when most Parisian restaurants close.
The restaurant was a traditional brasserie so the menu wasn’t huge, but there was enough to tempt most people.
On our first night in Paris, we were exhausted, so we dined at the restaurant. My husband started with thinly sliced Iberico de Bellota ham with tomato bread, while I tried the warm sausage with pistachios in a brioche casing, a house specialty. They, along with the mixed green salad my sausage was served with, were absolutely delicious.
For our mains, we went with the beef fillet and salmon steak with sorrel, spinach and steamed potatoes. Everything was totally satisfying.
The next morning, we checked out the breakfast buffet in the restaurant. It looked so incredible it was one of those times that I wished I were a breakfast eater … but I’m just not. So my husband went for the buffet (30 euros if not included in your room rate or you’re not a World of Hyatt Globalist elite).
The buffet had all sorts of cereal, granola and nuts, fruit and salad fixings, cheese and yogurt, croissants, breads and pastries, sausages, bacon, quiche, hard-boiled eggs, smoked salmon, deli meats, roasted tomatoes, potatoes and more. The juices were particularly interesting and included fennel, grapefruit, orange and an orange-carrot-ginger blend.
My husband thoroughly enjoyed the meal but wished there had been a made-to-order omelet station instead of just a vegetable quiche.
You could also order a la carte, so I had three mini croissants for 7 euros and a fruit yogurt for 4 euros.
I learned a fun story about L’Officine du Louvre, the hotel’s bar. See this beautiful ceiling? Hyatt didn’t know it was even there until a construction worker uncovered it during the renovation. The ceiling was sandwiched between cement blocks during World War II when hotel management feared aerial bombings.
Who knows why the ceiling was never restored after the war? The important thing is that it looks lovely now and adds filtered light to this cozy room during the day.
Throughout the bar, there were comfortable nooks for visiting with friends. The foursome in front of the fireplace was always a popular hang.
There were a few interesting sculptures in the bar by artist Nimrod Messeg. You could view more of his work, or buy a piece, at the gallery next to the hotel.
One evening, our tummies were grumbling, so we had a nice pick-me-up in the lounge. We started with a light vegetable floralie with coral lentils and quinoa with a carrot-passion fruit vinaigrette. We then moved on to roasted langoustines and Dauphiné ravioli filled with Comté cheese in a creamy chive broth with hazelnuts. It was spectacular.
The cocktails ranged from 14 to 16 euros. Wines by the glass were 7 to 18 euros. Beer and aperitifs were 7 and 8 euros.
Bottled water ranged from 5 to 8 euros and sodas were 7 euros in the hotel bar, but there are a variety of snack shops on Rue de Rivoli and convenience stores on Rue Saint-Honore that sold drinks for 2 to 3 euros each. I found it worthwhile to stock up on water and Diet Coke before heading back to the hotel after a day of sightseeing.
The room service menu was anemic, so we passed on ordering anything. There were just too many other good things to try right outside the hotel.
It’s always fun staying in a recently renovated hotel, because you feel as if you’re the first person to use many amenities. That was the case with the light-filled fitness center on the mezzanine, which we had to ourselves.
For a small hotel, the gym had an impressive number of fitness machines, ranging from treadmills and stationary bikes to ellipticals and weight machines. Free weights and yoga mats were also available.
The fitness center overlooked the front of the hotel with beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows.
Here’s something I wish I knew before I arrived at the hotel: Management offered a variety of free tours. Contact the concierge to learn about and book the tours, which include a neighborhood stroll and visit to the Louvre wine cellar, among other options.
The service at Hotel du Louvre was quite good, and I think it will only get better once the team has a bit more experience working together. Reception staff and the waitstaff in both the restaurant and bar were all excellent and quite polished.
The only area that was weaker than I expected was the concierge desk. One concierge had just returned from a stint in London so was still finding the current “best” places in Paris. I asked for recommendations for the best steak frites, and she really didn’t know. That’s OK, but I would have expected the concierge to do some research and send up a list of places to our suite later. That didn’t happen.
But in all other respects, service standards were high, from the housekeeping staff to the dining venues to the bellhops that were at the ready with umbrellas on one particularly rainy afternoon.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the elegant Hotel du Louvre. It’s a beautiful building with a much-needed refresh that makes you feel as if you’re staying at the hotel back when it was first built and the grandeur of Paris was coming into its own. Despite its elegance, the hotel is also comfortable. There’s no stuffy, stodgy airs here. The staff greets everyone warmly, and it feels authentic. The location can’t be beat for first-time visitors to Paris who want to see and do everything and be right in the middle of it all.
Featured image courtesy of Hotel du Louvre/Hyatt