Hotel des Grands Boulevards, Paris

A chic retreat between the Irish bars.

A boulevard lined with Irish bars and discount shops seems an odd location for a luxury boutique hotel, yet the entrance – with its oversized gates festooned with playful signage, plant-pot-lined pathway and lobby stocked with newspapers and brollies – is wonderfully enticing.

Hotel des Grands Boulevards is part of the highly successful Experimental Group, who enlisted (for the third time in as many hotel openings) designer Dorothée Meilichzon to create smart yet playful interiors. Yet again they have adopted the ‘bed and beverage’ approach, focusing on the city’s booming cocktail culture and appetite for contemporary bar design that has become integral to their brand. Experimental Group seems to hold the secret recipe of creating cult neighbourhood haunts overnight.

Check in is quick and efficient, and their guest recognition is excellent (each time we came returned to the hotel during our stay, we were handed the correct room key). The service tone is a good balance of pleasantly informal and reassuringly professional.

The fifty bedrooms were inspired by Marie Antoinette’s interior and fashion style. There’s a limited palette of salmon pink, slate blue and terracotta, geometric carpets, a mix of bespoke and rustic furniture and lots of drapery.

Amenities include vintage-style radios, USB plugs next to the bed, espresso machines with sweet little handmade cups and comp mineral water. The minibar included the usual miniatures, gourmet popcorn and crisps, and a freshly shaken ECC cocktail in a stoppered bottle. Most rooms face the courtyard – request one with a private terrace.

Bathrooms are pink, white and marble. It was a joy to rifle through the branded drawstring pouch of  mixed-brand toiletries, which included products from Ren, Codage and Sachajuan. It was intended as a souvenir so I swiped mine.

Breakfast is continental with eggs cooked to order. The buffet includes loaf cakes, fresh fruit, yogurt and compotes. Juice is freshly squeezed. Tableware is handmade and rustic. Room service is available.

Grand Restaurant is the hotel’s main dining space set in a courtyard with a retractable glass roof. The menu is classic Italian and the vibe is one of an all-day brasserie. Elsewhere, craft cocktails are served at The Shell, an intimate and sultry bar decorated in shades of red and Burgundy, and the laid-back roof bar hosts live DJ sets on summer weekends.

Design motifs such as the shell and scalloped edges are repeated throughout the interior design and branding, which is considered, consistent and reflective of the brand’s overall playful mood. The graphic design is wonderful throughout – room numbers, way-finding and in-room literature are cohesive and full of personality.

The bottom line

Although the street itself is not the greatest, the hotel is actually really well located for walking or cycling down to the Marais, up to the 10th and Gare du Nord, or across to Canal St Martin. 10/10 would stay again.

17 Boulevard Poissonnière, 75002