HOTEL REVIEW : Saint James Paris, France

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All photography by Lara Antonelli-Leorke.

Paris, the city of love. This magical destination is irrevocably one of the most desired places to visit for lovers the world over. It is little wonder that Paris is high on the list for newlyweds, and Pen To Paper Media has discovered a romantically luxurious gem in the 16th Arrondissement named, The Saint James Paris.

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Originally, this unique chateau in the heart of Paris, enclosed by a high wall and featuring it’s own circular driveway with gorgeous feature fountain and private garden, was the site for the world’s first hot air balloon launch in 1783. Today, this high-flying history is displayed with aplomb all over the walls of the Saint James, with charmingly colourful hot air balloon wallpaper illustrations rising up the stunning spiral staircase, rich with lush red and gold carpet.

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Everything about this hotel is opulent and charming – you really do feel like you are experiencing Paris from a high-flying point of view. From the magnificent archway that greets you before entering the cobbled driveway; as you look up to encounter the epitome of a Parisian chateau, in all its symmetrical and romantic beauty; as you enter the lobby, complete with ginormous fireplace, sumptuous red velvet armchairs and grandiose cascade of crystal chandeliers; as you glide up the sweeping main staircase and catch a glimpse of the upper level’s loft ceiling in the reflection of the huge gold framed mirror on the landing. You become enraptured by the interior design genius of Bambi Sloan – mixing classic monochrome with leopard print, red velvet, gold details and heady wallpaper. This juxtaposition of design elements works so seamlessly in the Saint James. The result is effective yet harmonious, not gaudy or tacky as one might expect when adding animal print to the mix. It brings life and colour to the elegant mansion, like an aristocratic lady winking at an admirer.

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Despite being popped in an attic suite (without any floor to ceiling french windows like many of the other suites on offer) we were impressed by size of the room – it was spacious and included an entrance hall, lounge room, walk-in wardrobe, extravagant bath tub in the boudoir, king sized bed, double vanity in the bathroom with walk-in shower and views facing out towards the Port Dauphine and back down Avenue Bugeaud. The windows were cleverly crafted to create more light and perspective by being ensconced by mirrors, whilst the fluffy carpet was laid out in a parquetry pattern.

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The Honeymoon Package (or ‘Romantic Welcome’ as they call it) showcases Tightener champagne and rose petals strewn across the suite on arrival, which was most welcomed after our lengthy flight, as was the friendly and attentive service by the staff of the Saint James.

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Buffet breakfast is also an enjoyable affair, either when seated in the hotel’s fine restaurant (where it would have been a faux pas not to be dressed and coiffed appropriately) with its chandeliers, marble fireplace, plush chairs and oil paintings of lounging women from centuries past, or when enjoying your petit déjeuner in your room, dressed in a Saint James bathrobe. This is one hotel where, despite its proximity to the Eiffel Tower, Avenue Victor Hugo and Arc de Triomphe, you actually enjoy spending time there – either sipping a shiraz in the gorgeous garden with its iron lattice seating and hot air balloon bar; sharing a Sidecar cocktail in the stately library with its 12,000 plus books; or soaking in the your tub, champagne in hand whilst your other half joins you… and when you are on your honeymoon sometimes that’s all you really want to do.

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A word to wise though if you are after a lively and loud hotel – the Saint James’ clientele tend to keep to themselves and rarely make conversation over the breakfast table. It may be a posh atmosphere with a slightly older demographic, however all of the staff we encountered were very friendly and amicable – even when I managed to accidentally throw a sachet of sugar all over our breakfast table (much to the dismay of our fellow breakfast goers), but we just laughed it off and the staff brought us another basket of chocolate croissants.

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A stay at the Saint James Paris is an extravagance – even if a well earned one. A room here will set you back from about $600AUD per night depending on the season and room type. Yet, in terms of Parisian luxury and romance, it sits high on the list. So bring your most daring stilettos, floor length frock and over-the-top jewels and enjoy your honeymoon in lavish surrounds!

For more information or to book your honeymoon at the Saint James Paris, head to: http://www.saint-james-paris.com

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