Wow! What a location. Right next to the Arc de Triomphe and 100 metres away from the Champs-Elysées! You feel like you’re the King of France here, and that’s before you’ve even stepped foot in the hotel.
Built in 1928, the five-star Napoleon was fittingly founded on a love story. The hotel was a present given by the rich Russian Alexander Pavlovich Kliaguine to a young French student of literature. In order to introduce her to the high society of the time, he bought a hotel in the prestigious 8th arrondissement and gave it to her as a wedding present. The hotel became the centre of Russian cultural life in Paris due to the artistic tastes and professional intuitions of the Kliaguine family. Many famous Russians like the Nobel prize winner Ivan Bounine stayed at the hotel and it was also frequented on a regular basis by actors, writers and artists such as Errol Flynn, Orson Welles, Audrey Hepburn, Steinbeck, Hemingway and Dali.
The lobby of the Napoleon is as you’d expect. With a concierge prepared to cater to your every whim, and a bustling staff eager to please, the service here is excellent. My room was a suite on the 2nd floor overlooking the avenue de Friedland. The room was light and airy with beautiful high ceilings and elegant décor, inspired of course by the Napoleonic period. With soft furnishings throughout, I felt wonderfully comfortable and relaxed in my lounge area. I quickly concluded that a room at the Napoleon would be an ideal place to lay your head for either a business, romantic or family stay. Just bear in mind that for those last two mentioned, you’ll need your credit card on hand… since you’re so close to the luxury boutiques of the Champs-Elysées!
Dining at the Napoleon is a pleasant affair; the Bivouac Café provides the venue for a generous buffet or à la carte breakfast in the mornings, and transforms itself into an intimate eatery at l’heure de déjeuner and in the evenings. There is also a fitness suite available for those more active guests. Whilst taking a trot down the Champs-Elysées before breakfast might appeal to some, the thought of navigating the traffic and piétons of Paris in rush hour isn’t for me!
Bref: A fantastic location, beautifully comfortable rooms and imperial service from the Napoleon.