First things first. The location of the Hotel Duo is unbeatable. It’s diagonally across from the BHV shopping  emporium next to City Hall, two blocks from the Pompidou , Notre Dame, and a short walk to the Musée Picasso  amid the charming streets of the Marais district with its quaint boutiques and trendy bistros.
The Duo is a family affair. It has been handed down from mother to daughter for four generations. A last bastion of independence (the “Asterix” of non-network hotels in the Marais, as manager Sébastien so eloquently put it) this elegant establishment is called Duo because it is actually two homes joined into one. The accomplished contemporary décor is at the same time swish and instantly welcoming, in natural wood colours with touches of fern green.
At check-in you are offered a complimentary shooters coupon for the bar. In my case, I had opted for the Premium service by RentParis.com , available as an option when you book a hotel through them, to have a local expert greet you and orient you around the neighbourhood, show you what there is to do and see, and also if you need any personal recommendations on restaurants, shopping, etc. and you even get a code for free Wi-Fi connection while you are out and about in the streets of Paris, which can save you a bundle in data roaming charges. It’s like having a best friend waiting for you on arrival.
The staff mentioned that some guests coming from abroad might perceive the rooms to be on the small side. I didn’t find my room small at all, but then I am used to Parisian standards. True, you didn’t have space for a marching band, but I could comfortably store my bag, clothes, set out my gadgets on the console table, and everything was so well thought-out and beautifully designed that it felt really convenient. It’s not just the looks –the tangible quality of the bedding and the bathroom fixtures all add to the feeling of featherlight ease.
The breakfast area is light and modern, with a drawing-room style section to sit and browse the paper. My continental breakfast was perfect, delicious crisp croissants, orange juice, and strong coffee. My usual three ‘gold-standards’ by which all hotels shall be measured are good coffee, comfortable bed, and powerful shower. The Duo delivered on all three and so much more. The breakfast attendant was textbook perfect and deserves a mention. Friendly and efficient, discreet and always there if you needed anything. He made you feel as if you were the most important guest in Paris.
Although I am not a smoker myself, I loved the thoughtful glass-enclosed courtyard destined as a very chic smoking area with twinkle lights. It’s the eagle-eye details that make all the difference at the Duo. The instant I mentioned that my phone’s battery had ran out, a charger materialised at my fingertips.
On our first night, we enjoyed a slow glass of champagne at the bar before heading out to dinner. The lighting was subdued, the music was upbeat but not too loud, and you could comfortably people-watch out the window. Bliss. The following evening, we went out for an aperitif, passing bar after bar packed to the rafters with people. We realized that the best spot had probably been the one right at our very hotel, so there we headed for our after-dinner digestif.
My overall impression of the Hotel Duo: What a find!
11 Rue du Temple, Paris 4th
Métro: Hôtel de Ville
+33 (0)1 42 72 72 22
From €120 per night
Sylvia was a guest of RentParis.com .