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Hip to be square
Five-star luxury fuses with a distinctly personal touch at Parisís Hotel Square. From brass-sculpted door handles to handwritten weather warnings, not one infinitesimal detail has been overlooked, as Elly Earls discovers.

Located a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower and right in the heart of Paris’s vibrant media district, Hotel Square exudes glamour.

The news crew subtly filming in the corner of the in-house restaurant and the clinking of cosmopolitan glasses add to the effect, and it comes as no surprise when I’m informed that regular guest Katie Melua refuses to stay anywhere else in the city.

My first port of call is the hotel’s 160-cover Zebra Square restaurant, an established eatery in its own right, largely thanks to the talents of head chef Thierry Burlot who is renowned for his commitment to serving seafood from independent fishermen, handpicked immediately after the catch.

Minutes after being warmly greeted by Hotel Square’s owner Patrick Derderian, accompanied by his ex-wife and manageress of the 22-room boutique hotel Nicole Dupre Sarget, it becomes clear that attention to detail is not restricted to the restaurant.

In fact, it’s the delicate personal touches that make Hotel Square something really special; the pair’s passion for their intricately-designed Parisian project has kept them contentedly working together even post-divorce.

‘Do you think the hotel has a soul?’ Derderian asks, and I can only respond that, if it does, it’s based entirely on one man’s vision.

The proud owner has been profoundly involved at every stage of the design and development of his masterpiece, relentlessly tweaking to ensure that each and every guest leaves not only 100% satisfied, but with a clear idea of what Hotel Square is all about.

From the melt-in-your-mouth macaroons placed carefully on each room’s custom-designed desk to the colourful glass sculptures adorning the hotel’s intimate conference room, detail is everything. Hand-picked furniture melds exactly to the hotel’s curves, lifts swing open on demand thanks to proximity sensors and handwritten notes on pillows indicate the expected temperature of the day to come.

Art is also an integral part of the hotel’s appeal, and one of Derderian’s most obvious passions.

The naturally lit atrium boasts a 200m² wall on which huge canvases of contemporary art hang for six months at a time – or until the discerning owner finds something better – while the first floor art gallery, Salon Blanc, offers an appealing space for extra exhibits.

The entire hotel is replete with artistic touches. Tiny square windows line the top of the restaurant wall creating the feeling of a mezzanine level, while a gold leaf square motif carries on throughout corridors and public spaces.

Even the suites have something of the artistic about them, with huge square panels above the (suitably expansive) beds continuing the theme. But comfort is paramount once guests have closed their doors on the day, blackout curtains ensuring an undisturbed night’s sleep and the mini-bar full to the brim with champagne.

A visit to Hotel Square wouldn’t be complete without a wind-down massage at the newly opened Nuxe Spa, housed in the basement and already attracting a steady flow of non-hotel guests. Its Zen ambience has filtered into the hotel according to the long-serving manager, who is keen to emphasise that it’s a much more tranquil place than it used to be.

There’s clearly something unique about Derderian’s compact Parisian dream. He’s poured much more than money into the place and continues to do so, and I’m almost sure that ten years down the line, he’ll still be tweaking away, never content until each and every detail is perfect.


Where to shop
The list of labels on offer at luxury lifestyle boutique Colette, located in the heart of Paris’s Rue Saint Honoré, is long and distinguished. Among the high-end brands are Eva Herzigova and Burberry Prorsum, as well as an everexpanding inventory of up-and-coming talent.

Where to club
Don’t visit Paris without experiencing one of the city’s legendary cabarets. The Crazy Horse’s new show, Désirs, consists of a series of sensuous visual tableaux, choreographed by Philippe Decouflé and brought to life by outstanding lighting effects.

Where to eat
Eric Frechon won his third Michelin star for Hotel Le Bristol’s Gastronomic Restaurant in 2009. A favourite haunt of Nicolas Sarkozy, the surroundings of Le Bristol change according to the seasons. Expect a bright summer dining room complete with magnolias from May to September. www.lebristolparis.com

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