A decade of marriage can only mean one thing. A trip to the city of love. Not put off by the removal of the ‘love locks’ from the Pont des Arts, we headed over the water to Paris to celebrate our wedding anniversary sans padlock. Viv Blair, trusted friend of, and regular contributor to, The Luxury Editor, shares with us her experience of Le Général Hotel.
Hours of research later and I’d honed my search down to Le Marais, one of the French capital’s in vogue locales, in the vibrant 11th arrondissement. A hugely popular residential area with the city’s artists, fashionistas and trendy folk, it is full of smart bars, restaurants and boutiques, seamlessly blended with historic architecture and great links to the more touristy sites of central Paris. Nestled on a quiet street but just a short walk from the République and Oberkampf metro stations.
Le Général Hotel is quirky. If you love nothing more than a recognisable hotel chain, Le Général isn’t for you. The hotel is designed by JP Nuel who is responsible for some of France’s coolest spaces. He has created a unique, independent, boutique hotel that you won’t find replicated anywhere else. The decor features a range of totally random objects, including wall-mounted bikes and industrial sculptures in an eclectic mishmash, to create a retro-industrial feel. Vive la difference.
Welcomed by a team of enthusiastic staff, we checked in on an iPad whilst sitting in the relaxed lounge area. We tried our best in our less-than-perfect French, which was appreciated, but when we failed, the receptionist was happy to take over in English.
A. bijou. d. small but elegant and tasteful. We went for the Privilege Double which was bigger than some but still a compact space. A queen sized double was big enough. Clever storage and a compact bathroom was everything we needed for our two-night stay. A Nespresso machine was a welcome touch and the L’Occitane toiletries were delightfully French. The WIFI was sketchy being up on the sixth floor, but that didn’t matter as we were there to wander, not to laze around catching up on the latest Netflix series.
A balcony added the real piėce de résistance as we sat soaking up the spring sunshine. The sixth floor spot provided elevated views over the city.
We found a complimentary smartphone in our room. On it, heaps of information about the local area, with handy guides on where to eat and drink, unlimited 4G use as well as free calls. It also links you to the concierge for booking taxis and making local reservations. Handy for local inspiration.
In the basement we found a small gym and sauna but we’d accumulated enough steps on our Fitbits wandering this beautiful city, to avoid it during our stay. They also have a small treatment room and can book you a treatment with a local therapist if you feel the need to ease any aches and pains.
Food & Drink
It was largely a ‘sort yourself out’ approach to dining which suited us perfectly. A 24 hour honestly bar in an industrial setting with stainless steel high tables and bar stools. Jars of sweets and a wide selection of drinks said ‘make yourself at home’.
Their website claims you will enjoy an ‘American’ breakfast, however I would say it was more of a traditional French spread. Croissants, cheese, meats, eggs (cooked to order), juices, coffees/teas, as well as cereals and other breads.
There isn’t a restaurant for dining during the day, however room service is available. We found an abundance of cafes and wine bars within a stone’s throw, all providing something different. Republique of Coffee is miles away from a traditional French café. It’s colourful take on tacos were divine and we were sorry not to make it back for the pancake stacks. Great for vegetarians and gluten-free diners. The Hood was another very modern, industrial café in the area where we tucked into a range of colourful baking whilst playing cards – seemed to be the done thing and we like to fit in. And Le Barav has it all. Wander in via its wine shop, pick a bottle, grab a table (go early!), then choose a selection of meat and cheese boards and while away the evening. A clear favourite with the locals.
We paid about £200 per night for the mid-range Privilege Double which included breakfast.
We won’t wait another decade to head back to Le Général Hotel.