Finding the ideal place to stay in a city as large as Paris may seem like an insurmountable task. That’s why I’m here to help! If you’re looking for a truly unique option when it comes to your accommodations, I recommend the Saint James Paris. You see, this property gives you the option to stay in an authentic family home–complete with an adorable pet cat named Pilou–while still maintaining all the bells and whistles of an unmatchable luxury experience. My visit to Paris in March 2020 is one I won’t soon forget–mainly due to the remarkable Saint James. In this review, I’ll be sharing all about the property, as well as its history, room options, amenities, and nearby attractions.
History Behind the Saint James Paris
As soon as you approach the Saint James Paris, you may begin to wonder about its history! Located in the refined 16th Arrondissement, this commanding building was originally commissioned in the late 1800s as a home for underprivileged university students. Previously, the property served as an airfield for hot air balloons! In a quirky nod to its varied history, you’ll notice hot air balloons sprinkled throughout the property’s décor. One fitting example is the main staircase, which has become a popular place for guests to take photos. Furthermore, you’ll see other design choices that reflect the chateau’s 93 years housing students.
Even if you’ve seen photos of the Saint James before your visit, experiencing the lobby in person is like entering a dream. Between the chandeliers, vibrant colors, velvet, and the cocktail of patterns, it’s hard to resist saying “whoa!” as you first enter the hotel. The lobby creates a splendid introduction to this unique chateau, exemplifying both its elegance and eccentricity.
Rooms and Suites
The Saint James’ current décor is inspired by the concept of “crazy chic” and designer Bambi Sloan‘s surrealistic ideas for an extravagant family townhouse. Each of the 49 rooms and suites at the property is completely different. While some have more of a classic romantic feel, others exhibit bold patterns in the true “crazy chic” style. The staff does an outstanding job of matching each guest to the room that best fits your personality and taste. Room and suite options range from boudoir to prestige suites depending on the size and layout that you’d prefer. Additionally, if traveling with family, the Saint James offers two larger pavilions. These more spacious options are impeccable for a romantic stay in Paris with a bigger group. Plus, one pavilion even has its own spa!
Many of the rooms at the Saint James Paris are inspired by both real and imaginary characters from history. For example, Mary, Queen of Scots, Madeleine Castaing, and John Steed each have a room representing their stories, staged by Bambi Sloan. My accommodation, a deluxe double room (450 sq ft), was designed with Austrian Empress Sisi in mind. It truly felt like a chamber made for royalty, with ornate and romantic details. Regardless of the room you choose, each will make you feel like a distinguished guest who’s come to Paris to visit old family friends at their estate.
The deluxe rooms at the Saint James Paris offer guests a private bar, air conditioning, a Marshall Bluetooth speaker, Guerlain bathroom amenities, complimentary water, and complimentary Nespresso–all the little comforts one needs away from home. Prices for a deluxe-style room currently start at €525 per night.
The welcoming atmosphere of the Saint James makes it the ideal location for an exclusive Club. Members of this group can dine at the restaurant and take advantage of the chic library bar as well as the spa and fitness center. However, even if you don’t happen to be a member, the Saint James Paris offers special times when the public can experience both the restaurant and bar.
The restaurant is open to Club members for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Saturday as well as brunch on Sundays. Furthermore, the public is free to visit starting at 7 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and for Sunday brunch. If you’re a guest at the hotel, I would suggest starting your day with breakfast here at the Saint James. The restaurant offers a delicious assortment of pastries, fruits, eggs, bacon, coffee, juice, and any other food you may be craving! Breakfast in the Dining Room was a beautiful experience (pictured below) and left us feeling satisfied and ready to explore the city.
My favorite room in the entire hotel would have to be the stunning (and original!) library bar. Whether you’d like a light meal, a beautiful spot for drinks with friends, or even a quiet place for a client meeting, this is the perfect spot.
Attractions Near the Saint James
- Arc de Triomphe: This famous monument is only a 20-minute walk from the Saint James or a quick 5-minute taxi drive.
- Trocadéro Gardens: Trocadéro is one of the most popular spots for a view of the Eiffel Tower. It’s also the best place to take a photo! It takes about 15 minutes to walk to these gardens or you could hire a taxi and be there in 5 minutes.
- Pont Alexandre III: To see the most ornate bridge in Paris, you won’t have to go far. This site is only a 10-minute drive from the hotel.
- Les Invalides: The buildings making up this complex contain historical museums and monuments relating to the French military. Most notably, Napoleon is buried here. Les Invalides is approximately 11 minutes by car.
- Place de la Concorde: Less than 10 minutes away by car, you can find this infamous plaza, where public executions took place during the French Revolution.
- Grand Palais & Petit Palais: Both of these “palaces” are now home to museum exhibitions, with the Petit Palais showing art. From the Saint James, you can reach these museums in approximately 10 minutes.
- Tuileries Garden: My favorite garden and only a 10-minute taxi ride from the hotel!
- Palais Garnier: Frequently mentioned as the most famous opera house in the world, you won’t want to miss this ornate building. Discover this 9th arrondissement charm, just a 12-minute ride from the Saint James.
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Saint James Paris sponsored this review in exchange for a two-night stay at the property. As always, all opinions are my own. Although it is not possible to stay at the Saint James at present due to the current global situation, the hotel is accepting reservations for February 2021.