For a recent romantic trip to Paris, I wanted three things from my hotel.
- A central location, so that we could explore the best of the city by foot and not waste too much time with public transport
- Comfort and space - so that we could spend some real time there (a rare find among city centre hotels)
- Good food
Castille de Paris is all of this and so much more - and will be the first place to trip off my tongue when people ask for Parisian hotel inspiration for a long time to come.
Let's start with the most important element of a short-break hotel in my books - the location.
When I throw open my suitcase on the bed and kick off my airport sneakers, I like to know that the hard part is over. No more bothering with train tickets and frantically trying to update public transport apps with weak Wifi when I could be lounging on a garden terrace, marg in hand.
If you're like me - Rue Cambon is the perfect place to base yourself.
I don't tend to suffer too badly from FOMO in my daily life, happy to chill out in my apartment with a glass of wine while scrolling through other people's busy social lives on Insta.
But when I take the time and money for a short break, FOMO anxiety hits me hard. My other half will attest to this - I've been known to get a lump in my throat within five minutes of landing in a hotel if I can't see a buzzy restaurant or bar in a one-kilometre radius.
Rue Cambon - one of the most delightful streets in the city centre, in the district between Place de la Concorde, la Madeleine and Place Vendome, feels like it is the very kernel of Paris glamour.
It's in walking distance of the Champs Elysees, Louvre Museum, Jardin des Tuileries, and Notre-Dame, making it the perfect starting point to any touristy day.
But for fashion lovers, it's pure heaven. Castille Paris is a stone's throw from "Maison Chanel"- the flagship store where Mademoiselle Coco opened her first atelier, as well as all of the most exclusive boutiques in the world.
If I were to return, I would allocate an entire afternoon to window shopping in the area, but as we were on a tight schedule I had to make do with trying to absorb as much as I could as we walked to dinner in Place Vendome.
It is in this insanely glamourous context that the hotel has developed its unique personality.
Castille Paris is completely and totally immersed in the history of its surroundings. It is classic French sophistication mixed with warm Italian hospitality (Castille Paris is the first hotel opened in France by Italian group Starhotels).
A pastel paradise that is the perfect mix of contemporary and timeless - a recent renovation showcases new stylistic elements that accentuate the antique soul of this location.
As you enter the lobby, strong hues against warm wood melt into soft shades of beige and green - allowing eccentric lounge sofas and period furniture to pop.
It would be easy to give way to intense intimidation in the face of the perfectly groomed staff with slicked buns and intense red lips - but their warm smiles coupled with a big lazy grey cat named 'Heliot' instantly put you at ease.
From reception, you can see the lounge - a kaleidoscope of colours with coffee tables that practically wink at you.
Eighty-two rooms and 26 junior suites are separated into two wings - The Opera wing exudes contemporary elegance with breathtaking views of the city, while the Rivoli wing embodies a classic 30s French style.
We stayed in The Dolce Vita Apartment, an incredibly spacious golden-hued suite with a view over the inner courtyard.
I was de-lighted to see an Illy coffee machine as I entered the room, as sticky, dusty kettles with cords that don't reach the plug socket are my pet. hate.
Here comes the luxury - every room is equipped with a 'pillow menu' for guests to "curate their own sleep experience" as well as your own Smartphone complete with free and unlimited Internet connection and International calls as well as events, transport news and contact with the hotel.
(If you, like me, CANNOT seem to keep your phone charged when you're away - this feature is a god send).
We ordered breakfast to the room on the second day and shamefully sat on the plush loungers until early afternoon drinking coffee and flipping pages from the in-room library in the lounge area. My mother would have ate me for staying in the hotel room for so long, but no regrets.
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🥐 IN-ROOM BREAKFAST? 🍓 Yes please 😁 Thank you @lovecurvy__laurabrioschi and @_paolo_patria_ for this great 📸 * * * #mondaymood #breakfast #breakfastinroom #breakfasttime #healthyfood #castilleparis #hotelcastille #ruecambon #starhotels #starhotelscollezione #paris #romanticparis #iloveparis @parisjetaime
Food and drink
Our apartment looks down over the inner Courtyard, adorned with delicate frescoes and complete with a Roman fountain.
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Let's the sun shine, let's the sun shine in... 🌞 🎼 SPRING has just arrived and our patio is covered in flowers 🌺 @parisfleuri * * * #hotelcastille #castilleparis #ruecambon #parisfleuri #spring #springtime #printemps #patio #hiddengem #flowerspower #flowers #sunshine #secretplaces #paris #placevendome #concorde
In summer, L'Assaggio restaurant (overseen by a Michelin-starred chef) spills out into this courtyard, and L'Assaggio Bar right beside the Courtyard is the perfect place to sample the hotel's signature cocktail, The Castille Sour - Oxley gin, lime juice, Angostura bitters, egg white, fresh basil and cane syrup.
If you're not in the humour for fine dining, there's also a typical French brasserie with counter service for hearty house specialties.
We had one of the most delicious and authentic Chinese meals in Chez Ly, a short walk away (past all of the fashion house's shop windows) on Rue Lord Byron.
With double rooms coming in at around €350, this is probably not for a budget stay - but if you really want to treat yourself to a proper Parisian blowout - then this is the perfect place.