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).

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
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

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?