Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009

Hôtel de Crillon

This Place de la Concorde landmark, built at the direction of King Louis XV in 1758, hasn't lost its ornate air, despite a 2008 overhaul by French architect Thierry Despont. Flat-screen televisions and high-speed Internet access bring modern touches to suites and salons still filled with gilt, mirrors, and Baccarat crystal, in addition to genuine Aubusson carpets and Wedgwood medallions. Even the entry-level rooms, at 115 square feet, are not unusually large, but have sitting areas and dressing rooms. The Sonia Rykiel–designed Bar du Crillon is nothing short of elegant, with its mirrored mosaics, red velvet–covered chairs, and dripping chandeliers. Request a song at the piano, then sit back on a settee and sip a Duc de Crillon (Armagnac and Taittinger champagne).

Room to Book: Request Nos. 409 or 511 for windows that look out on Place de la Concorde.

Insider Tip: Don't miss the elaborate Sunday brunch at Les Ambassadeurs — with formal silver service, house-made croissants and preserves, smoked salmon carved to order, baked eggs, and a to-die-for cheese plate.