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Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and the variety in Parisian hotels is fascinating. From grand palace hotels to moderate inns and arena-sized deluxe apartments just for longer-term visitors, lodging options in the City of Light fit virtually any taste.
Travelers seeking a slice of big American comfort on a quiet side street in the city’s 8th Arrondissement need look no further than Maison Astor Paris, Curio Collection by Hilton.
Opened in 2018, this hotel takes up residence across the street from an office building, set away from the traffic of the larger avenues. It is a fine location for a residential home—and a residential home it was. Built in 1907 by the American developer John Jacob Astor IV, who, enamored with the energy of early 20th Century Paris, and amused that the name of the street—Rue d’Astorg—was strikingly similar to his own surname, decided the location was perfect.
Astor, whose New York developments include The St. Regis and Knickerbocker hotels (which both still exist today) later took refuge at the completed mansion during an extended honeymoon following his scandalous 1909 divorce and remarriage to a younger woman. The couple fled the stifling environment of New York society (known as “The Four Hundred” because that was the exact capacity of his mother’s ballroom) and spent the winter of 1911/12 in Paris and Egypt.
During the journey, the new Mrs. Astor discovered she was expecting and wanted to give birth in America. The Astors and their entourage embarked at Cherbourg for New York in April of 1912 onboard a brand new ocean liner. That ship was the RMS Titanic, which famously—along with JJ Astor—never reached New York.
It was the story of those exciting early days that inspired the development of the Maison Astor hotel over a century later. Entirely refurbished, the mansion still feels deliberately intimate, like the private home it once was. The lobby is furnished like a plush living room, where registration is done from the comfort of a tufted sofa.
The light-bathed, skylit restaurant, with its impressive chandelier, is similarly as intimate. Breakfasting there feels like a meal among friends—it almost makes one want to inquire among other guests how well they slept.
Touches of the Astor era remind guests of the building’s legacy throughout. JJ Astor himself stares out at guests from modern pointillist portraits in corridors, and there’s even a library dedicated to their beloved dog, Kitty (who also perished on Titanic). It was almost meta that I had arrived at the Maison Astor on a train from Cherbourg—the French port where the Astor entourage including two personal servants and a private nurse. I peered out at the countryside imagining how it must have appeared in 1912, wondering whether one of the world’s richest men took much notice of what would prove to be among his last glimpses of land.
In addition to the delights of Paris just outside the hotel (it’s well-located close to high-end shopping on Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré), there’s also the joy of languor. The hotel bar spills out onto sidewalk seating, where diners graze on lavishly American-portioned plates (I had to double-check with my server that the generous portion of house-smoked salmon was indeed a half order) and Prohibition-style cocktails.
Guest rooms are intimate (this is Paris, after all) but not quite as compact as is common in many hotels in the city. Many look over the interior courtyard and have views into the skylit dining room; others have views of the street. The best views in the city are from the hotel’s two townhouse-style rooftop apartments whose terraces overlook either the Eiffel Tower or the Sacre Coeur basilica, which makes them popular for intimate events. All rooms have baths trimmed with Sothys amenities for an extra Parisian touch.
Residential in feel and intimate in accommodation, this feels more like a grand home than a hotel, but the international staff are Hilton-charming, and make for a memorable stay at international standards in the heart of the City of Light.
I’ve seen rates as little as $206 USD per night.
Failing the booking of a rooftop terrace apartment, the fittings in the hotel’s public spaces are utterly Parisian and make for unmistakeably “I’m in Paris” moments.
Good to Know
The closest metro station is Saint-Augustin on Boulevard Haussmann.
The hotel has guest laundry service available six days a week.
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