[Editor’s note: The Monsieur George opens today, Monday, August 24, after months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.]
Have your heard about Monsieur George? Just off the Champs Elysées, the 6-story handsome Hausmannian building was once home to the iconic French actor Raimu.
Now it’s been transformed into a 5-star hotel– complete with 46 rooms, 3 suites, restaurant, bar, and spa– an elegant concept by Hubert and Nicolas Saltiel, the duo behind Les Hôtels Monsieur collection which includes Monsieur Cadet (Grands Boulevards), Monsieur Helder (Opéra), Monsieur Santonge (Marais), and Monsieur Aristide (Montmartre).
Behind the discreet concierge desk is Aurélie Barthouil, a member of Union Nationale des Concierges d’Hotels. Les Clefs D’Or badge is proudly poised on each lapel of her chic black designer jacket. “How many languages do you speak?” I enquire. “French, English and Spanish”, replies Aurélie. As we walk towards the lift I wonder which is Auélie’s favorite room?
“All Monsieur George’s rooms are different, all are designed by Anoushka Hempel. Each has a special atmosphere in a “cocooning” warm style. It’s difficult to choose but I think I’d go for the Garden Suite, constructed like a lovely little house, with the bedroom upstairs, and a tranquil private garden inspired by the Domaine de Marly, near Versailles, where Louis XIV once lived”.
The buzzing bar looks set to become “the place to be” and Aurélie admits her favorite mocktail during work hours is “La Galanga,” made with Jus de Sauvignon Blanc raisins, galanga cordial, black pepper and lemon juice, and, when off duty, “Artemisia” hits the right spot, a mix of Vodka a l’eau de rose, lemon juice, whipped egg white, absinthe.
The garden restaurant Galanga (named for the rare Indonesian ginger plant) is serving delicious food. “Chef Thomas Danigo (ex-Laurent with Alain Pégouret) has travelled the world and his fusion dishes reflect his many voyages, it’s classic and creative at the same time,” Aurélie explains. “I would order a starter of ravioli of gambas/Galanga broth (€18). Boeuf maturé, brocoletti, teriyaki of algues (seaweed), cauliflower and peanuts as a main (€31) and, to finish, riz au lait d’amande, roasted mango (€11). I guarantee a memorable culinary experience! And, by the way, most of the herbs come from the rooftop herb garden!”
And the wine to match? Below stairs is a very private wine cellar, with a table d’hôte/d’amis for private lunches or dinners seating about 8 people. The cellar holds about 1,000 bottles – I ask Aurélie which is her favorite? “Let me taste them all before I give an opinion,” she laughs.
The lovely spa is by Le Tigre and there’s also a chic fitness room. As far as treatments go, Aurélie likes the facial massage, which combines soothing and smoothing elements based on facial yoga. “A very relaxing experience for the mind and body.”
“Where is the first place you recommend for first time visitors to Paris?”, I ask. “Well, you can’t ignore the classics: the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. However I also suggest Montmartre – just wander through the fascinating streets climbing until the summit – then enjoy the amazing views of Paris from the Sacré Coeur.”
“And where’s interesting to go for a guest who know Paris well?” She replies, “I have a great affection for the Musée Jacquemart André, a private museum created from the magnificent home of Édouard André (1833–1894) and Nélie Jacquemart (1841–1912) to showcase the art they collected during their lifetime. It’s an architectural jewel, well worth the visit.
Also La Maison de Balzac is now a museum, you can visit his charming house, even his study, in which he still seems to be working, it’s very moving!”
Monsieur George, 17 rue Washington, 8th
Metro: George V
Rooms and suites from about €317
Tel: 01 87 89 48 48
Lead photo credit : courtesy of Monsieur George