Hilton Arc de Triomphe Review - A Parisian Gem


Nestled in a swank residential neighborhood on the right bank of Paris is a gem of a hotel, the exquisite four-star Hilton Arc de Triomphe. Newly opened in the spring of 2004, the Hilton Arc de Triomphe seems like it was created in the stylish 1930s and time locked until now.  Everything is brand new and also very Art Deco. In the historic 8th Arrondissement, the district with the largest number of mansions and prestigious houses in Paris, the Hilton Arc de Triomphe carries on the area’s tradition of style and art.
The interior is a study in luxury.  Romantic, elegant, lush, it is a masterful environment from legendary designers and decorators Jacques Garcia and Alexandre Danan.  And with Stanislaus Fiszer for the architecture and Oliver Riols for the gardens, Hilton went all out to make the Hilton Arc de Triomphe a showpiece, a gorgeous homage to the luxurious trans-Atlantic steamship lines of the 1930s. Decorated in rich purples and reds, warm-toned marble with angular inlays, vintage-inspired artwork, gorgeous marble bathrooms, velvet furniture and drapes, and custom doors, it is an inspired tribute. And with 463  rooms, it is almost that large, but still manages an inviting intimacy.

The exterior is stately and grand, centered around an inner courtyard garden, where you can take a walk or dine, called the Andalusian Patio. There are art pieces adorning the garden, adding to the ambiance of Parisian grace. As the hotel puts it, “At the heart of the hotel, our Andalusian Patio takes you on a journey, with its brimming fountain, its palm trees and its perfumes from near and far. A place that gives you that ‘elsewhere’ feeling.”

Close, of course, to the Arc de Triomphe, the hotel is just a few minutes from the famed Champs Elysées, Place de l’Étoile and shops of Faubourg Saint Honore. Just a little further is that ultimate Parisian landmark, the Eiffel Tower, and also the Opera.  Tip: ask the concierge for any shopping discounts for Hilton guests.

Arriving. We took the Eurostar train from London, then a quick taxi ride from the Gare du Nord, and we pulled up at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe. Welcomed by a smiling doorman, we entered through the revolving door into the well-appointed lobby, dazzled by the gorgeous crystal chandeliers which accent it.  I felt like I was stepping into the Paris of the 1920s – with all the comforts of a modern Hilton Hotel.  Heaven.

While my husband checked in, the kids and I looked around, impressed. Under the chandeliers, a large statue adorns the circular couch which is the centerpiece of the lobby. Just beyond, we could see stairs going down.  Intrigued, we just couldn’t wait to explore – so the kids and I took off to the beautiful lower level.

The Lower Level. Walking down the grand staircase, I thought, why didn’t I get married here? Maybe when my husband and I renew our vows (how about every year?), we could do it at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe. Look at this staircase and tell me you wouldn’t want to walk down it, looking and feeling like royalty.

This is where the ballroom and reception areas are and they are truly dazzling, accented by panels of vintage-inspired lights.  The meticulously inlaid floor is a bold homage to Art Deco with its geometric shapes in the midst of the lush decor.  Traveling through Europe with preteens, I was glad they were old enough to appreciate such beauty. This was definitely not a pastel world.

I soon found out this is just the lobby of the lower level! The yellow marble walkway in the photo above leads to the grand ballroom. Of course, there are many weddings here, but also business gatherings as the space is very flexible and can be divided.  We wanted to keep exploring, but decided it was time to rejoin my husband in the lobby and go get settled in upstairs.

Elevators and Hallway. We admired the elevators while waiting to go upstairs.  I can’t remember the last time I noticed elevator decor, but there I was staring at it! The Hilton Arc de Triomphe has four elevators serving our wing, so there was no wait, despite the many rooms. Once on our floor, we walked down a softly lit hallway accented by vintage artwork and a lush red carpet.  At the end of the corridor was our lovely two-room suite. 

Our suite. We first entered a sitting room, where a couch pulls out into a queen-sized bed for the kids. For my husband and I, there was a glorious, king-sized Hilton bed in the next room, like the one in the upper left photo.  I was about to make my self comfortable in the tasteful room  – when I noticed the gorgeous master bathroom. I had to go look. Wow.

At the Hilton Arc de Triomphe, a suite has two bathrooms, in the same decor.  The master bath has a shower and tub, while the second bathroom has just a shower.  This was a luxury in every way as the kids could have their own bathroom!  Even if you’re not getting a suite, the bathrooms are so large, you’ll still be comfortable.

The Executive Lounge.  Kids were hungry, so off we went to the Executive Lounge on our floor for a snack. With food, drinks, international papers and a large screen plasma TV, it’s a great place to hang out. We were pleased to find it has its own concierge and staff – all with that same Hilton warmth. They welcomed us with a lovely, “ Bon jour” – which the kids quickly picked up and said to everyone who would listen!
I always felt like the staff was genuinely friendly and helpful and wanted to be doing their jobs. It made our stay here very pleasant. If something needed attention, the hotel quickly and graciously took care of it.

Decorated in lush purple velvet, the chairs and couches were very welcoming.  So was the tempting spread of different kinds of foods which the Hilton Arc de Triomphe lays out as a snack.

The choice of afternoon hors d’oeuvres were more than just sweets.  We had some sort of a salmon creation our first day. There is always some kind of snack or tea and coffee service, and for those of us with children, the Executive Lounge is very convenient.  As it was right on our floor, we felt comfortable to let our preteen-aged kids walk over and have some refreshments.  They loved the freedom – out in a stylish lounge in Paris!

And for the grownups who want it, there is a simple but free bar service plus a selection of wines. If you don’t find what you’d like here, there is the beautiful Purple Bar downstairs, but you’ll have to give up some euros for it and brush off the college French: “ Un apéritif, s’il vous plaît?” If you really do not speak French, don't worry.  The Hilton staff is very international and caters to people from all over the world. English is definitely spoken here.

One of the views. Looking down onto the street, the view from the Executive Lounge shows the quiet and elegant neighborhood in which the Hilton Arc de Triomphe is located. But like the rest of Paris, even the more residential neighborhoods have small shops of different kinds.  Right down the street from the Hilton Arc de Triomphe, you can even find a drug store.

We went downstairs to the lobby, excited to head out into Paris to look for dinner as we had been told there were some good restaurants in the area. If you look out onto the street from the lobby you can even see a café across the street.  By the way, we were pleased with how well-managed the lobby was.  With so many rooms, there was never a congestion of luggage.  The lobby was always as clear as you see it here.

As we were just few minutes walk from the legendary Arc de Triomphe, headed out to catch a view of one of the landmarks of Paris at dusk, and to see where we could have dinner.

The Arc de Triomphe. Conceived by Napoleon I in 1806 as a triumphal arch, it was patterned after those of ancient Rome and dedicated to the glory of his imperial armies. Completed in 1836, it is a center of French national pride.  On July 14, the French National Day (also known as Bastille Day), a military parade starts at the arch, where a huge French flag is hung from its vaulted ceiling, and proceeds down the Champs Elysées. The last leg of the Tour de France bicycle race also culminates here in July.

After reflecting on the history of the Arc de Triomphe, we walked on, looking for restaurants in earnest now.  But most of the cafes in the area had smokers outside or were very small inside.  We thought, why not eat at the hotel?! We had considered it, but we had wanted to get out on the streets of Paris. We decided to head back to the hotel. It was a good move. Tip: when traveling with children, eat at your hotel your first night in a new city.

The Purple Bar.  We passed the gorgeous Purple Bar off the lobby on our way to Le Safran Restaurant. If we weren’t traveling with our children, we would have definitely spend time basking in its lavender glow. But that’s for another trip – we were happy to go to dinner right in our hotel.

Le Safran Restaurant. It turns out that the Le Safran Restaurant is fantastic! I’m not really surprised – every restaurant in a Hilton Hotel has been great. With three outdoor terraces, it offers a good-sized menu of traditional French cuisine plus a mix of influences from around the world. For an appetizer, try the Assiette Safran, baked zucchini with saffron, stuffed peppers, tomato confits and  buffalo mozzarella. There is a wide variety of delicious main dishes. Try the Monk Fish with Saffron or Lamb Chops with Garlic Cream. The kids had Penne Rigate pasta and a Hilton Hamburger.  And top off the meal with their heavenly Praline Creme Brulee or the heavenly l’Envol Chocolate Dessert from chocolate master Pierre Marcolini. Look for their special brunch menus for Saturday and Sunday. 

This had been a wonderful but long travel day.  Happily satiated, we gratefully headed up to sleep in our comfy Hilton beds.

Breakfast.  The next morning we had breakfast in the Executive Lounge, although I’m sure we would have been happy at the restaurant.  For executive travelers or those staying in suites, Hilton Arc de Triomphe offers a full breakfast with eggs and breakfast meats.  Looking at the delicious pile of real French croissants and other pastries – I thought, no dieting today!

With regular coffee, decaf, cappuccino, café latte and hot chocolate – plus a full tea service – I think anyone would be happy with the breakfast drinks. For the kids, several kids of juice were also offered, as well as Evian.

Hilton's Camille Pellery

Having a café on the terrace just off the executive lounge, I met up with Camille Pellery, Marketing Coordinator for the five Hilton Hotels in Paris. As we sat and talked about the Hilton brand and what Hilton offers travelers, I soaked in the sights – looking out at the building across the street, a charming example of the architecture of Paris.  Even this rooftop has style!

We chatted about the General Manager, Serge Ethuin, who, in his twenty-five years with Hilton, has held managerial positions at flagship hotels in Barcelona, London, Madagascar, Rome, and Paris. “My history with Hilton began in France and I'm delighted to return and be part of the excellent team here at Hilton Arc de Triomphe ," Ethuin said. “I look forward to continuing the standard of excellence that our guests have come to expect from the hotel. "

The Hilton Arc de Triomphe has fifty suites and seventy-seven executive rooms included in its 463 rooms. It also has a large amount of conference space, including a huge ballroom. It has twelve state-of-the-art meeting rooms and a full-service business center.

The Spa. The Hilton Arc de Triomphe is also known for its Mosaic Decléor & Carita Beauty Spa. Decorated with magnificent marble and granite as well as mosaic, it offers a fitness room, jacuzzi, steam bath, sauna, plus ten rooms in which you can receive a variety of treatments. So plan ahead and book your massage or facial.  They also have a jacuzzi to relax in. No kids under sixteen are allowed, but parents deserve a treat, too!  Tip: Go ahead and pamper yourself.

And if you want to stay in shape during your trip (as if walking six hours a day isn’t enough!), the Hilton Arc de Triomphe offers a well-stocked gym for your convenience.  Right next to the spa, it houses a treadmill, exercise bike, various weight machines and more.

Another day of excited sightseeing, introducing the kids to some of the glorious museum treasures of Paris, then falling happily asleep for a second night in the comfy beds at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe, and...

Our visit was over way too soon. Walking through the hotel gardens, my husband and I vowed we would be back – just the two of us – to celebrate some romantic anniversaire in Paris. Thinking back on our stay at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe, two words come to mind: Charmante and elégante.

51-57, rue de Courcelles 75008
Paris Tel : +33 (0) 1 58 36 67 00
Fax : +33 (0) 1 58 36 67 77

Book through Hilton Honors
In the United States: (800) 445-8667
In Europe: 00800 4445 8667

Mosaic Decléor & Carita Beauty Spa
To make your well-being appointment,
Call: +33 (1) 58 36 68 09
Or e-mail: [email protected]

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