Compact, chic, luxuriously on boutiqued Rue St Honoré a precious stone’s throw away from Place Vendôme the Mandarin Oriental Paris, medieval-nunnery-turned-”Palace-Parisien,” titters on the apogee of luxe parisien.
Sensationalism isn’t emblematic of brand Mandarin Oriental, but the check-in at MO Paris is nothing if not sensational. “What would you like to drink?” you’re asked. Your “welcome drink” might be champagne, Louis Roederer Rosé no less.
My room dressed in plush plum & pomegranate opens with the bathroom which is half the room with the walk-in wardrobe on one side and on the other the bath area showcasing exclusive Diptych toiletries. Nice design element, even if trekking from the toilet to the washbasin across the central aisle isn’t terribly practical.
My “welcome” champagne could partake of the retinue accompanying me to my room, but it’s better on that terrific bar terrace embowered in trimmed foliage and speckled with striking white seating. What could be more decadent than une coupe de champagne rosé, Louis Roederer too, at 4 pm in the afternoon? On my shoulders is a furred white shawl lent to combat the cold; on my table are the crispest assortment of nuts and the pertest olives; at my feet is Patrice the concierge, kneeling gallantly, as he delivers requested information cunningly excavated. This man is so wily he could fetch you the French President’s personal number.
Champagned up I wonder if I’m seeing life through rose-tinted glasses or if I’m too high on the high life or is there really, really an enormous white bird cage stationed on the terrace with a tumble of stunning pink flowers over an oriental bowl-like receptacle embedded with a table. Truly, there is the fantasy Garden Table, a stroke of extravagant caprice.
Paris’s sexiest bar terrace heaves with Paris’s most rarefied creatures (both humans and their manicured pets). Extraordinarily, you’ve 8 exclusive champagnes served by the glass, a luxury the loftiest 3-Michelin-Starred restaurants don’t afford. There’s Dom Pérignon 2006, Bollinger grande année 2005, Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, Cuvée Rosé Laurent Perrier etc etc.
Thierry Marx’s 2-Michelin-Starred restaurant Sur Mesure (meaning “made to order” in couture parlance) conjures Paris’s haute couture world: this stark-white ultra-contemporary restaurant has walls of fabric, seemingly remnants of some sartorial execution. Marx tailors creations textured like silk, satin or taffeta, stitching together seamlessly French finesse and oriental exoticism in dishes like soya risotto and seabass with and kabuto-infused butternut. The avant-garde epicureanism culminates in “Sweet Bento & Ylang-ylang,” (bento box-borne delightful desserts).
MO Paris’s Spa Guerlain offers the Guerlain Orchidé Oriental facial involving blackhead extraction and eyebrow tweaking—not that the chichi guests gracing this ethereal space have spots other than beauty spots or that those ever-inflected eyebrows ever need pruning.
After spa treatments there’s tea and cake but I’ve had quite enough over breakfast at all-day-dining Camélia where select buffets include phenomenally good breads and fromages affinés besides varietal vienoiseries and exotica like mangoes the size of coconuts (even in winter) artfully cut into florets and served at your table. It’s worth awaking at the Mandarin Oriental Paris for this breakfast. But then, being the Mandarin Oriental girl that I am, I always awake at a Mandarin Oriental.