Stay The Night: The Lancaster, Paris

This Parisian pied-à-terre for the Hollywood elite is sparkling once again – and now all are welcome, says Adrian Mourby

Just after Christmas, this most discreet Parisian hotel reopened fully after a lengthy and much-needed refurbishment.

Constructed as a hôtel particulier in 1924, The Lancaster only started admitting the general public in the 1990s. Before then, it operated as a long-term Parisian pied-à-terre for the well-heeled and well-connected. Marlene Dietrich stayed for several weeks after she left Holly-wood, and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were residents here for several months. Cinema's most glamorous couple had furious rows inside Room 701, which, mercifully for the rest of the guests, had a private staircase. Dietrich was more discreet, moving her daughter Maria to another hotel whenever a new lover was installed.

The Marlene Suite (Room 401) was one of the first to be restored, using a lilac palette based on her favourite colour and new furniture inspired by originals found in her New York apartment. Elsewhere, the original parquet floors have been exposed and lilies placed outside rooms in tribute to Marlene's habit of deluging the hotel with flowers.

More recently, the famous names in the livre d'or include Danny Boyle, Adrian Brody, Claire Danes, Stephen Frears, Ang Lee and Christina Ricci. The Lancaster has always been more of a home than a hotel and the recent wholesale refurbishment has not altered this. "We are the opposite of bling," says the manager, Valentino, who treats both stars and mere mortals with equal courtesy.

Rooms

The feeling is intimate, with just 46 rooms and 11 suites. Original features – working fireplaces, French windows, chandeliers, parquet flooring and shutters – have been retained, although just about everything has been taken up and relaid for 21st-century levels of comfort. Even the smallest single room combines lofty 1920s ceilings and antiques with modern conveniences such as free Wi-Fi. When The Lancaster was opened by the Swiss hotelier, Emile Wolf, the staff scoured Paris auction rooms for antiques. Every room has something priceless on display. Most are hung with an original painting by Boris Pastoukhoff. He was a penniless Ukrainian artist who fled the Russian revolution in 1917 and financed his decade at The Lancaster by presenting pictures in lieu of payment.

All suites have MP3 docks and DVD players but only the Marlene Suite has all her Josef von Sternberg films on DVD (you can spend a guilty afternoon lying on a reproduction of her Art Deco sofa watching The Scarlett Empress, Morocco, and Blue Angel). Meanwhile, the Dietrich Suite still displays the lady's baby grand piano, an Erard. It looks splendid, although when Vladimir Ashkenazy tried it out recently, some keys stuck.

Food and Drink

There is a small restaurant that looks out on an even smaller courtyard with Zen touches. The restaurant reflects this oriental look with a number of Japanese paintings. With Corinthian columns and large round modern tables, "eclectic" might be the best word to describe the décor.

Dinner can be ordered from two delicious tasting menus or à la carte, grouped under six headings: "zesty", "spicy", "spirit", "green", "sour" and "sharp and bright". Chef Michel Troisgros likes to work with ingredients chosen for their freshness, and slightly sour notes: scallops melba with Osetra caviar, truffles in puff pastry or blackcurrant and chestnut meringue. Three courses cost from around €80 per person without wine.

The Extras

There is a gym with superb rooftop views of the city. The service is friendly (always an extra in Paris). Later this year, the hotel plans to offer Marlene Dietrich tours.

The Access

Children up to 12 stay free in parents' rooms. Small pets are welcome. There are steps up to reception and the dining room; a lift goes up to wheelchair-accessible rooms on the seventh and eighth floors.

The Bill

Double rooms from €541, room only.

The Address

The Lancaster, 7 rue de Berri, Paris, France (00 33 1 40 76 40 01; hospes.es).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week