by Sean Hillen
A street away from Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Hôtel Elysia is a 5-star, pet-friendly hotel created inside an early 1900’s Haussmannian-style mansion.
Its central location means the Arc de Triomphe is literally just around the corner, with an abundance of fashionable stores, including Galeries LaFayette and Printemps, within easy walking distance.
Our suite Nr. 42, the Parisian Suite, was an apartment-like delight, spacious and impressively-furnished without being ostentatious.
Reached up a classic, vintage glass-fronted elevator, the kind where you and your partner stand shoulder to shoulder, it has floor-to-ceiling French windows in each of its three inter-connected rooms permitting lots of natural light to embrace the airy ambience. A balcony overlooks Rue de Berri.
An elegant sitting-room was complete with marble fireplace, decorative ceiling mouldings and wall panelling, moiré carpet, beige curtains, a silver armchair and sofa, chest of drawers, flat-screen TV, glass-topped coffee table and a writing desk. A combination of decorative standing, wall and ceiling lamps, a Malongo coffee machine and a CD player completed the cosy atmosphere.
Our bedroom also featured a marble fireplace, plus a divan couch, panelled walls, a king-size bed and a tall, ample wardrobe. Marble and Travertine stone illuminated our art-deco style bathroom which had a raised tub and spacious glass-fronted shower. Toiletries were by Hermes and the overall design by Oscar Lucien Ono.
We enjoyed both breakfast and dinner on the hotel’s ground-floor Le Bayadère restaurant, which pays subtle homage to the art of dance, and particularly, to the famous ballet its name refers to. Its decor combines tradition and modernity, with an overhead skylight permitting plenty of natural light to flood the open space and views over the street.
The morning menu offered plenty of choice including pancakes, crepes, waffles and omelettes, with other selections including cheeses, Halal chicken and smoked salmon. There was also the simple Continental version of croissant and beverage.
Our dinner was a leisurely affair with gentle jazz wafting overhead and friendly, efficient service from Ibrahima Zoulkifilou and Rachid El Alaoui. After an amuse bouche of creamy mushroom soup presented espresso-like in a shot glass, our starters comprised Murgella’s burrata with parsley sauce, and beetroot cooked in coarse salt, and a slim block of subtly smoked foie gras with slices of seeded bread and fresh and roasted puree figs, all prepared by chef Khalid Mansour.
Feeling hungry after a day of sight-seeing, we chose meat for our mains – fillet de boeuf, sliced and lightly sauced, with grenaille potatoes and mushrooms and roasted quail with seasonal vegetables. Other choices include oysters, shoulder of lamb, sea scallops, fish-of-the-day risotto and stuffed pasta. Our weak wills found it impossible to turn down tempting desserts of homemade tiramisu and Valrhona Grand Cru chocolate tart with light mousse and vanilla ice cream.
Afterwards, we retired to a quiet lounge area at the rear of the hotel beyond the reception desk featuring a glass ceiling, Chinese screens and soft seating, a perfect rendezvous spot away from lobby activity and street traffic.
For leisure, Hôtel Elysia, the first 5-star property for the Inwood Group, offers a fitness center, plus a sauna and hammam with eucalyptus essential oils and tadelakt design featuring gentle colours and a starry sky. The hotel has teamed up with Olivier Lecocq for face and body treatments.
For guest convenience, the hotel also provides a valet parking service and an airport shuttle.