Sometimes my job has its perks. And this occasion was one of them. “Eppie, would you like to go stay at the Hoxton in Paris?” “Er, yah”.
I’ve always loved stalking the Hoxton’s brand. It’s cool, it’s luxurious and it’s pretty darn original; the Hoxton’s most famous quirk being the complimentary ‘breakfast in a bag’ that is delivered to each guest every morning.
The Hoxton’s latest Parisian opening comes just 11 years after its mother in Shoreditch, following a quick launch of a second London edition and a third Amsterdam property. And it hasn’t stopped since. The brand has plans to expand in its home city as well as overseas with two locations scouted in New York and Chicago.
Arriving from the Eurostar, a short taxi ride took us into the heart of Paris where the Hoxton hotel rests elegantly concealed behind its original 18th century residence. The exterior blends perfectly into a street of tall facades. It is only when you enter into a glass ceiling bar – that’s right, the Hoxton’s are recognised for their non-traditional layouts – that you get a feel for the London brand, brought across the channel by the team behind Soho House.
All day coffee and cocktails is the first point of contact, served in comfy pastel armchairs that wouldn’t be out of place in a MADE furniture advert. Through the foliage walled hallway is where you’ll check in, a small discreet room you’d be forgiven for missing.
The hotel successfully achieves its goal of camouflaging its true purpose. Even the entrance to the bedrooms are stored behind a closed door, one would simply think a stylish restaurant had appeared otherwise. Oh, and that can be found through one hallway and up another, around a corner and then through that door… or something along those lines.
Once you get to grips with the labyrinth blueprint, a classically modest yet lavish room awaits. It is only the size that changes, so what will it be? A Shoebox? Cosy? Roomie or Biggie?
Apart from the extra square metres of chevron timber floors, each room screams of understated elegance with slick furnishings, bold walls and a vintage touch purposely picked by French designers Humbert and Poyet who embraced the 20th century Parisian influence.
A collection of crystal glasses, retro radio and selection of books are also used in the décor, the latter specifically picked by 172 Parisians to provide a variation of libraries for the 172 rooms. Somehow, I ended up with the karma sutra.
Guarding the room from a speakeasy bathroom is a metal partition, a corner of which is reserved to hang your dress and make a coffee above the mini-bar stocked with complimentary water and milk. You can also request a full range of treats picked from local shops at local prices. Beyond the grids, a crate contains an open shower and bronzed taps with the Hoxton’s own ‘bl_nk’ toiletries.
My ‘cosy’ room felt surprisingly spacious for what was an upgrade on the daunting sounding ‘shoebox’. Apart from the Queen size bed, I had comfortable room to get ready around the brightly lit desk and even check my whole appearance from top to toe in a wonderfully big mirror that is rarely seen in a hotel.
Leaving my sanctuary, I headed down to Rivie, an upbeat restaurant serving modern plates of French food alongside a well-stocked bar that pumped one too many pineapple infused Old Fashioneds into my system.
For guests in the know – or for those who get terribly lost – another hidden bar, Jacque’s, serves a classic cocktail list in a flamboyant Moroccan-cum-1920s setting.
I woke the next morning offsetting my sleepy hungover state with the excitement of opening my bedroom door just wide enough to slip through the now full bag of breakfast delights. Fresh orange juice, granola and a banana (which if you know me, did not get eaten) are all to be enjoyed from the comfort of your geometric sheets.
If the ‘la petit’ breakfast isn’t enough, the Rivie restaurant turns up the lights to serve French pastries and luxurious looking plates of eggs, salmon and cooked brunch. I settled for a large cuppa and flaky pain aux raisin.
The Hoxton looked incredibly refreshed compared to its seductive dark appearance at nightfall. The lobby became flooded with sunshine; businessmen drinking coffee replacing the slim French women sipping martinis the evening before.
In this new light, the hotel exuded a rather charismatic boutique feel. I no longer felt lost in its corridors; instead I was captured by its charm. Leaving the Hoxton buzzing with life on a grey Monday morning it became obvious that the Parisian locals, loyal guests and glamorous visitors were also under the brand’s spell. The hotel isn’t just a place to eat, drink or sleep; the Hoxton Paris is that giant playhouse that you dreamed of as a child and I can guarantee you’ll miss it once you’re gone.