Hotel Lutetia reopens in Paris after stunning $234M makeover
Posted July 9, 2018 10:47 a.m. EDT
(CNN) — For the past century the Art Nouveau Hotel Lutetia has been a Paris icon, known as much for its popularity with artists as its unusual Left Bank location.
Now, after closing its doors for a four-year, €2 million (roughly $234 million) refurbishment, the Lutetia is back, adding to the ranks of fashionable luxury hotels in the French capital, just in time for the peak summer season.
Sensitively renovated under the attentive eye of architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the spirit of the historic building remains intact with desirable contemporary features incorporated into its classic Art Deco interior.
Don't expect any last minute bargains though. Room rates start at €850-a-night -- with the swanky Presidential suite costing €19,000.
The hotel opened in 1910, built by the founders of famous Parisian department store Le Bon Marché and was an instant hit with the city's creatives. Irish author James Joyce is even said to have written part of his seminal novel "Ulysses" while staying here.
Rooms have now been enlarged -- the original total of 233 rooms has been cut to 184 -- and there are some highly covetable suites on offer, including two with access to outdoor terraces with spectacular 360 degree views of the City of Light.
The Lutetia was a cultural hotspot for much of the 20th century but during the Second World War, it was requisitioned by Nazi forces and housed officers.
Following the liberation of Paris in 1944, under orders of Charles de Gaulle, the hotel hosted victims of Nazi atrocities looking to reunite with their families.
Later, cultural heavyweights including Pablo Picasso and entertainer and French Resistance activist Josephine Baker were frequent visitors.
The dining and bar experience at the Lutetia remains central to the hotel experience: September will see the relaunch of Brasserie Lutetia with three Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passedat at the helm. Jazz fans can enjoy music at the Bar Josephine. Other dining options include the more relaxed Salon Saint Germain.
Guests can unwind at the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre, offering massages and treatments, as well as a sauna, stream room, 17-meter long pool and an infinity edge hot tub.
Perfect for when the hustle and bustle of Paris -- or attempting to read "Ulysses" -- takes its toll.