This renovated 5-star hotel in Paris boasts the best Eiffel Tower views in the city


When I arrived at Hotel Balzac on its opening day after renovation and rebranding, it wasn't the first time I'd stepped through its dark wood and glass doors. Just a few steps from the glamorous Champs-Élysées, the hotel has been in this location for decades, sharing an entrance with renowned three-star Michelin restaurant Pierre Gagnaire since the 1990s. When I arrived nearly a decade ago, I was told the hotel was “near Pierre Gagnaire.” At the time, few people knew about Hotel Balzac, and it struggled to stand out among its glitzy Parisian neighbors, but that's all changed since hospitality maestro Olivier Bertrand took over and breathed new life into the historic property.

Today, the hotel is one of the most popular boutique hotels in the City of Light, so much so that I sprinted to be one of the first to see it when it reopens on June 3, 2024.

Courtesy of Hotel Balzac


As I was shown to the white sofas that lined the lobby and asked for a glass of water, I was immediately captivated by the warm wooden ceiling and contrasting unpolished marble floor. When my gently chilled welcome drink was brought to me, a silver tray placed on each white ottoman, the symmetry was obvious. Guests check in using an iPad while lounging on the living room-style sofas or on the way to their room, making check-in easy and seamless. The entire hotel exudes an old-fashioned hotel vibe with a modern twist, right down to the electronic key wrapped in a leather tassel that you leave at reception while exploring the city. Somehow, this hotel has managed to achieve a natural elegance that other Parisian hotels have struggled with for years; it has an uncanny ability to offer modern technology without losing the personal connection.

The hotel has a rich history of hosting writers, artists and poets, and was once the home of French novelist Honoré de Balzac. A thoughtful redesign by Festen designers Charlotte de Tonac and Hugo Soze has restored the hotel to its legendary elegance. The duo is known for how they reinvent interiors within their own contexts, and rather than bringing their own style to the Hotel Balzac's redesign, they looked to the “soul of the building” itself as inspiration to reimagine the hotel's Parisian identity. Public spaces are understated yet sophisticated, beginning with a glass-roofed lounge that doubles as the breakfast room, and continuing to a speakeasy-esque bar with low lighting and high ceilings. “The entire hotel has been imagined as a homage to the golden age of the Champs-Élysées,” said Nicolas Egloff, director of sales and marketing. Travel + Leisure“The end of the 1930s marked the end of Art Deco and Japonism. Creating a timeless and calm atmosphere was Human comedy [a reference to Balzac’s masterpiece]. ”

While public spaces are dominated by neutral tones and minimalist lines, the hallways to the rooms are more playful, with Golden Age motifs and black doors with gold trim. The 58 rooms see a return to a serene atmosphere, but more importantly, Hotel Balzac's signature flair for blending high-end technology with truly meaningful personal touches, like customized cocktails and framing anniversary wedding photos. Under new owners and a new aesthetic, Hotel Balzac is both a celebration of the past and a refreshing example of how authentic human interaction can benefit the present in a luxurious, quintessentially Parisian way.

Read our full review of the new Hotel Balzac in Paris.

Hotel Balzac

  • The south-facing rooms on the top three floors, including two suites (Ciel de Paris Suite and Suite Terrasse), rooms 405-410 and rooms 505-507, offer spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Much of the furniture was custom-made for the hotel by Festen, with textured pieces made to be touched and used in the same way they would have been in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • A secret door leads to the three-star Michelin restaurant run by renowned French chef Pierre Gagnaire, which is completely separate but shares the same historic space as the hotel.
  • The hotel bar hosts exclusive cocktail masterclasses for guests upon request.
  • The hotel is just a few steps from the Champs Elysées, yet far enough away from the main streets to enjoy a quieter, more Parisian atmosphere in the heart of Paris' most fashionable district.

room

Courtesy of Hotel Balzac


The hotel offers 58 rooms and suites, ranging from the 215-square-foot “Boudoir” room to the 1,140-square-foot two-room Ciel de Paris suite. Each room brings its own unique Parisian aesthetic while staying true to the hotel's “quiet luxury” ethos. Wooden-handled Bodrum tea kettles and Sjösrand Nespresso coffeemakers are standard, minibars feature rotating house-made liqueurs, and an in-room cocktail book is also available. High ceilings create a sense of grandeur, while custom velvet sofas and lounge chairs lend a textured, upscale feel to the living space. Luxurious king-size beds come standard in all suites, and deep-soaking bathtubs and French-made Diptyque bath amenities are featured in all room categories. The top floor is divided into two suites, the Terrace Suite and the Ciel de Paris Suite, each with a private terrace and unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower.

Food & Drink

Pierre Gagnaire's famous restaurant is separate from the hotel, with a secret door leading directly to it, and the new hotel management has developed great relationships with famous chefs (the only difference between Gagnaire's restaurant and its associated restaurants is that you can charge your meals to your room).

The hotel's restaurant serves dishes such as truffle croque monsieur and the famous hot chocolate Guests can enjoy Angelina cocktails and breakfast served daily opposite a large fireplace. A few steps down from the lounge is Balzac Bar, which has a Parisian speakeasy atmosphere and moody lighting. The bar's wine list features French winemakers, inventive cocktail names, and premium bar snacks such as Petrossian caviar and Spanish Bellota ham.

Activities and Experiences

As a hotel that prioritizes personal interaction, it's no surprise that the concierge service is second to none. Restaurant reservations and shopping experiences are asked about daily, while even tips on where to get the best croissants in town are part of the knowledgeable staff's training. The hotel has a small but mighty fitness room with weight machines, cardio equipment, and a studio space that regularly hosts yoga classes, but the crown jewel of the wellness offerings is Ikoi Spa. The spa has partnered with French brand Omnisens to offer organic treatments and natural therapies that incorporate Japanese techniques, with massages taking place on a table or on tatami mats. A dreamy plunge pool and heated sauna also round out the hotel's wellness offerings.

Accessibility and sustainability

The hotel has 3 accessible rooms and a wheelchair lift.

The hotel has significantly increased its sustainability efforts by incorporating second-hand furniture into its design, installing pressure reducing devices to conserve water and occupancy sensors with LED lighting. All in-room products are organic and made in France, and only bulk sizes are provided to eliminate the need for disposable products. They also limit the change of sheets and towels, and have established a comprehensive system for sorting, recycling and reducing waste throughout the building.

position

Hotel Balzac is ideally located just off the Champs-Élysées, narrowly avoiding the tourist pedestrian traffic that often accompanies hotels along this busy boulevard. The sidewalks are easy to walk on and the streets around the hotel are quiet. A famous French cinema is just around the corner, and all of Paris' busiest shopping spots are just a few blocks away. The nearest metro station is George V, which takes you into the city on line 1, making a car almost unnecessary. Additionally, getting around the area is easy, with numerous bus routes serving this popular area and the Arc de Triomphe only an 8-minute walk from the hotel's front door. Here are some local tips to help you plan your trip to the City of Light.

How to make the most of your stay

Hotel Balzac is part of the Relais & Châteaux family, and members of the Relais & Châteaux Guest Recognition Programme can enjoy special perks such as curated gift boxes with dining and spa benefits, as well as personalised services based on your personal profile and preferences. To enjoy the cheapest rates of the year, book during Paris' off-season (usually December to February).



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