PARIS, FRANCE, June 22, 2017 – La Reserve Paris Hotel and Spa is a sumptuously extraordinary five star luxury hotel mere steps from Elysee Palace in the heart of Paris, one block from the Champs Elysee. With an overwhelming emphasis on exquisite personal service and attention to detail, La Reserve has become the principle destination for discriminating travelers seeking the absolute epitome of luxury and discretion.
Open since 2015, and located in the former townhouse of the Duke de Morny, La Reserve Paris is an exemplary member of Leading Hotels of the World and has already made its mark as one of Paris’s most exclusive hotels with one of its most important restaurants, Le Gabriel, featuring 2 Star Michelin Chef Jerome Banctel.
Owned by entrepreneur Michel Reybier, who also owns the highly prestigious Bordeaux vineyard Cos d’Estournal, the property drips with refinement and class, with an elegance that cannot be understated, and with a sensational interior design by Jacques Garcia.
The building was built originally in 1854, and belonged to the powerful family of the Duke de Morny, half-brother of Napoleon III, and grandson of the great international statesman Charles Talleyrand, until 1888.
Now, 160 years after it was built, Michel Reybier and his family have made it the most fashionable address in Paris. During two years of intense renovations meticulous attention to the original decor was uncovered, using over 120 artisans, 250 tons of marble, and thousands of meters of fabric.
The gorgeous Salon Louis XV serves as the lobby, a warm and welcoming chamber just off the entrance filled with robust velvet furnishings, and the staff greets you like family returning home after a long journey.
Just off the lobby is Le Bar, a retreat for the soul full of dark woods and quiet regal beauty, with an effortlessly elegant décor, and a quite lively atmosphere in the evening as a gathering place for the Parisian elite.
The second restaurant area, La Pagode de Cos, which is also the breakfast chamber for the hotel, is like the living room at an exclusive country club, full of low slung couches and settees with tables designed to be as comfortably elegant as they are functional, and add to the aura of otherworldly style.
Conceived as a tribute to the prestigious Bordeaux winery Cos d’Estournal, it expresses the design elements of India and the Orient, elaborating on the eclectic vision of Louis Gaspard d’Estournal.
It features a special innovative lunch and dinner menu developed by two star Michelin Chef Jerome Banctel built around ingredients from the spice routes of the Maharaja and the Far East, including the use of lemongrass, Siamese tartare, coriander, and turmeric.
A large courtyard terrace in the center of the building is like an exotic hidden patio, filled with plantings and potted trees, surrounded by 4 stories of beaux arts facades rising up to an azure blue sky.
In summer months this is surely a favorite retreat for extended lunches, cocktails, and the casual whiling away of the afternoon.
A long piano room with floor to ceiling windows is an exotic library, filled with couches and sumptuous green and gold furnishings, designed with an aristocratic sense of comfort and stylish touches, the perfect place for a rendezvous with a romantic partner or a casual drink.
In the evening a pianist accompanies the atmosphere with the kind of enticing insouciance that makes the entire ground floor of the hotel a welcoming retreat for the soul and senses.
Indeed, one of the most remarkable things about La Reserve is the sense of place, the brilliant taste and luxury that doesn’t shout, that simply is, like the most exclusive club you can think of, warm and accommodating, with an exuding confidence born of certainty and comfortability in its own domain.
All of these things have made La Reserve more than a hotel, but a gathering place for those who seek out luxury, a hangout for the upper crust, the kind of special secret that continually retains an air of absolute refinement without the need to announce it.
It is just that welcoming but exotic air that has made La Reserve one of Paris’s most important centers of casual and culinary excellence, like an ultra-exclusive club you can not only join, but indulge with joy like a guilty pleasure.
Much is made of comfort and elegance, but atmosphere, the air of elegance and style, cannot be manufactured. It has to flow naturally out of the overall sense of design and from underpinnings that are organic and genuine.
With 14 rooms and 26 suites, that sense of overwhelming but understated beauty extends dramatically to each room and suite, each a masterwork of interior design and decorative comfort and style.
The 4th floor Prestige Suite is an absolute thing of beauty, breathtaking in its elegance, welcoming in its creature comforts, like the most extraordinary Paris apartment imaginable.
Wall coverings in the entrance foyer and bedroom are a rich burgundy cloth with gold thread designs interwoven, while the living room is a richly patterned white and grey plastering with crown moldings out of the 19th century.
A luscious red velvet couch surrounds a black enamel coffee table where a bottle of Michel Reybier Champagne awaits, like a welcoming committee, all in front of a massive center mirror that a large television screen is magically hidden behind, appearing and disappearing at whim with the touch of an iPad.
An antique desk set just behind the couch is a centerpiece for the living room, leading to sliding mirrored doors demarking the entrance to the bedchamber.
An enormous king size bed with matching red burgundy headboard gives a royal air to the proceedings, and it is not an exaggeration to say that the entire living room and bed chamber ensemble is breathtakingly fabulous.
A series of floor to ceiling French doors lead to a balcony extending the length of the apartment with elaborate wrought iron railings, and at one point in the afternoon we extravagantly open them all at once like a scene out of a Paris romance novel.
From one end of the balcony is a clear vision of the Eiffel Tower that is the definitive view to mark this marvelous adventure in Paris.
The entire sweep and scope of the suite is awe inspiring, the sense of style and comfort overwhelming, and the air of exclusivity is all encompassing.
Off the bedroom is a walnut closet and dressing area as large as some hotel rooms, as much a butler’s pantry as it is a wardrobe room.
This leads to a bathroom that is as remarkable as it is elegant, with a massive tub centered on a raised platform, heated marble floors, dual square basin marble sinks, and floor to ceiling French doors that also lead out to the balcony.
A rain shower is a joy and a delight, the water tumbling out of the ceiling in an incessant downpour into a white and gray marble chamber, then seamlessly draining down the slightly sloped floor into a hidden drain along the wall edges, making it the kind of morning shower that never wants to end.
The suite, quite notably, has two water closets, or toilets, one off the bathroom and one off the entrance foyer, with advanced, heated, state of the art commodes that open when someone enters and flush automatically.
It is one of the most elaborately sumptuous accommodations ever seen, and one literally wants to spend as much time in the suite as possible, soaking up the elegance, drinking champagne, and making a fine romance out of an astonishing afternoon in Paris.
Like the ground floor and the Prestige Suite, it is all at one with the flavor, the décor, and the atmosphere of La Reserve, the exclusivity of the aristocracy made real for anyone willing to enter and discover its charms.
The restaurant Le Gabriel, on the ground floor just off the bar, only accentuates that air, where 2 Michelin starred Chef Jerome Banctel has made his swift ascent in the culinary framework of Paris not just apparent, but meteoric in its impact on fine dining and Haute Cuisine.
From the moment we exit the elevator for dinner it is apparent the atmosphere in the hotel is electric. A host of people are gathered in the bar, the breakfast room and the piano library.
Some of them are guests staying at the hotel, many of them not, some playing backgammon, some staying for dinner, many of them simply socializing in the elegant atmosphere.
It is part of La Reserve’s growing reputation as a gathering place for the well-heeled and the insouciant discriminating traveler, welcoming without being snobby, classy without being intimidating, the center of the universe at the most exclusive club in Paris whose discreet secret is now an open one.
Le Gabriel is not a large restaurant, 12 tables set in the corner of the hotel with rich gold leaf columns and golden plaster cloth wall coverings that lend a royal, fantastically regal air to the room.
Over the course of the next three hours a meal for the ages unfolds, each course more extravagantly wonderful than the last, with touches of distinction that make it readily apparent that Chef Bechtel, who gained two Michelin stars for Le Gabriel in his first year as Chef, is well on his way to his third remarkable Michelin star.
The Michelin star goes to the Chef, not the restaurant, and in Paris is frequently the currency of exclusivity that is the trademark of a fine establishment.
At Le Gabriel, in Chef Banctel’s hands, it goes far behind mere culinary wizardry to become an all-encompassing experience to be savored and indulged.
The staff and service is brilliant, confident, and inspiring, leading the diner seamlessly through a wonderland of Haute Cuisine that is as much an adventure as a fine dining experience.
An 8 course tasting menu leaves nothing left to chance.
Asperge vertes de Provence with a pistou of wasabi and cream of lemon zest is a spring asparagus dream come true, beautifully done, radiantly tasty.
A confit of Norwegian Salmon medallions with a miso paste are perhaps the single greatest dish this writer has ever had in decades of fine dining, the salmon rich, more cured than cooked, the medallions juicy and bursting with flavor.
The explosion of taste and flavor from the miso as a counterpoint to the rich medallions of salmon is not just overwhelming, but profoundly emotional, a taste treat that doesn’t just stand out, but floors the diner with its brilliance.
Matusalem braised stuffed morels and gnocchi with wild garlic is a fabulous combination, a confluence of flavors rising from every disparate ingredient.
Glazed line caught turbot with spring rea caviar “coussinets” is a taste sensation, the turbot fleshy and firm, the glaze a light dusting of beautiful essence, the presentation fantastic.
Succulent blue lobster with carrot, orange juice reduction and pink peppercorn is an outstanding triumph, effortlessly beautiful, serenely tender and flavorful.
Pigeon de Vendee with cocoa and crispy buckwheat is like a fine filet, soft and textured, rich and remarkable, cooked to rare perfection, like the finest duck only more so, surprisingly robust and meaty.
A bottle of Cos d’Estournel 2008 is a blessing, one of the greatest wines France has to offer in one of its finest restaurants, in a setting and accompanying a meal that will linger in the mind for years.
We savor it passionately, the perfect complement to each course, opening up and flowering before us as the evening unfolds, a glass of heaven in every sip.
A passion fruit soufflé is the perfect desert to an extraordinary evening in paradise, richly spooned to the last drop, mildly tart and outrageously phenomenal, more fruity and natural than sweet.
The dining room is filled throughout the evening in a shared experience of culinary perfection, and three hours hardly seems like enough time as the meal begins to wind down.
Chef Banctel is a warm and talented man, who greats us graciously at the end of the meal, allowing us to see the kitchen where his masterwork is accomplished, and we are honored to be in his presence and spend an evening with his cuisine.
In the culinary highlights of Paris, this is a name to watch for the next several decades as his Michelin star will continue to rise, and Le Gabriel becomes his calling card in the firmament of Haute Cuisine.
The Spa at La Reserve Paris is a rare and spectacular accomplishment, having taken two years to complete throughout the renovation of the property.
The result is a subterranean 16 meter lap pool on the lower level of the property, a sumptuous day spa with three treatments rooms designed in stark tones of red lacquer, a special retreat beneath the hotel for guests with discriminating tastes.
The hotel will go to any length for the pleasure of its guests, serving full dinners at any location in the hotel, and carefully pampering most any individual indulgence.
They offer for example, a tour of the landmarks of the liberation of Paris in 1944 given in General Charles de Gaulles own automobile. They offer a private tour of Yves St Laurents private studios with a ride to the location in his personal Jaguar. Catering to tastes is what Michel Reybier does best, and it shows, again and again.
La Reserve Paris is one of the jewels in the crown of Michel Reybiers hotel empire, but each property in his selective basket of destination resorts is extraordinary in its own right, and worthy of exploration.
La Reserve Geneve is a 10 acre landscaped garden on the shore of Lake Geneva.
La Reserve Ramatuelle is a Mediterranean paradise minutes from legendary St Tropez in the south of France.
La Chartreuse de Cos D’Estournal is Mr. Reybier’s extravagantly gorgeous private home on the grounds of the vineyard in St Estephe, but made available to his clientele for special occasions.
Throughout his properties and attendant endeavors, the spirit of La Reserve Paris permeates everything he does, bringing a new level of exquisite yet casual sophistication and exceptionally fine dining to Paris that must be experienced to truly understand just how powerfully beautiful it is.
A Prestige Rooms start at around $1200 a night, while Premier Rooms are around $1350. The Prestige Junior Suite runs about $1600 a night, while a Deluxe Suite begins at around $2600.
Prestige Suite’s like the one featured here are $3200 a night, and Premier Suites are $3900 a night. The Duke de Morny Suite is a cool $4400 a night, the Imperial Suite is a solid $5200 a night, while the Presidential Suite can be yours for $8200 per night.
Air France flies direct to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and from there to the rest of France and all of Europe from Washington, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco and a number of American cities.
Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles. @JoelBerliner
All Photos by Alison Reynolds @BigAlPeoplesPal
Catch more of their articles at: www.commdiginews.com/author/joel_berliner/