Philippe Starck's public-space redo of this Paris institution, adjacent to the picturesque Tuileries gardens including the bar and three-Michelin-starred restaurant brought surreal new touches like a refrigerator-cooled mirror that's literally frosted, and three-legged tables dressed in fancy shoes. All tradition wasn't cast aside: Italian craftsmen were brought in to restore the lobby's green-and-white marble floors. Rooms, which were themselves renovated in 1998, are starting to show their age, so modern touches like iPod docks set upon the 18th-century furnishings are welcome. It's all complemented by lots of gilt, and no less than 100 yards of Rubelli and Branquenié fabrics in each room. For such upscale digs, the Meurice is surprisingly family-friendly, offering plenty of family packages and loaning custom-made boats for sailing in the adjacent Tuileries' boat pond.
Room to Book: The Belle Etoile suite on the seventh floor has a magnificent 3,200-square-foot landscaped terrace.
Insider Tip: A jazz duo plays nightly at Bar 228. Stop in for some music and its specialty cocktail, made with pear liquor, pear juice, and champagne.