Situated in South Pigalle, a formerly seedy Parisian district that’s recently been colonized by hipsters, foodies and fashionistas, the Grand Pigalle Hotel has only been open since 2015. Yet it’s quickly become a coveted place to stay, drink and eat in the area. This has been in part fueled by the brand-name success of its owners, The Experimental Group. They’re nothing if not savvy: Having first opened a series of reputed cocktail bars in Paris, New York and other cities, they’ve greatly expanded their reach with restaurants and concept hotels.
At the heart of the Experimental style? Sleek, vintage design concepts that are firmly anchored in contemporary codes and trends. This hotel is no different. Its onsite restaurant and bar is a destination in its own right, attracting Parisians as well as hotel guests for late-night cocktails and Italian-style fare from chef Salomé Olivier. The bar also boasts an impressively large selection of French and international wines.
The Design in Brief
Designed by Dorothée Meilichzon, who reportedly drew inspiration from Wes Anderson’s film The Grand Budapest Hotel, the Grand Pigalle’s 37 rooms are all appointed with “low-fi-chic” amenities and decor.
Even the smaller basic rooms have meticulous, eye-catching details: golden pineapples affixed to the doors, throwback pseudo-rotary phones and vintage radios, ambient dimming lights, minibars stocked with signature Experimental cocktails and striking geometric motifs in mahogany, tile or metal. Meanwhile, the large flat-screen TVs equipped with cable look so convincingly like simple mirrors before turning them on that you’d be forgiven for thinking there was no TV in the room at all.
The overall effect? You can easily pretend you’re staying in some glamorous mid-century Parisian hotel, eschewing the digital world in favor of a romantically analog one. But you also don’t have to give up on current-day comforts or convenience.
My Stay at the Grand Pigalle
I stayed at this hotel for a night in early March, in one of the Deluxe “Henry Monnier” rooms. After a warm welcome at the front desk from two staff members who spoke excellent English (despite my starting the conversation in French), I settled into my second-floor room. The elevator, by the way, was in fine working condition and not too cramped: a feature that is surprisingly absent in many Parisian hotels of comparable standing.
Inside, I was charmed by the aforementioned vintage touches and astute attention to details. The colors were chrome, forest green and deep mahogany wood: “masculine” codes that seem to pay winking tribute to Mad Men or 1950s gentlemen’s clubs. My immediate instinct was to pick up the corded, pseudo-rotary phone and test it (it worked). The “revo” radio was on, which I thought made for an amusing welcome (although it may not be to everyone’s tastes).
The dimmable lighting system was easy to control and seemed quite effective at creating a desired ambience. However, perhaps because my second-floor room faced a courtyard area with a large wall, it was a bit on the dark side.
This didn’t bother me, but if you like a lot of light in a hotel room, request one that’s higher up in the building. Photos on the official website show rooms with far more light, so with some luck you can snag one of those if desired.
I was impressed with the size and calm beauty of the patio area outside the room. It was a chilly and windy day and not especially inviting for an intimate drink out on the patio. But I could easily imagine enjoying an al fresco cocktail from the minibar or room-service meal out on the patio, surrounded by climbing plants and flowers.
The Sleep Quality
The bed offered good lumbar support/firmness without being too stiff, and the sheets were soft and luxuriant. The room is equipped with black-out curtains, so light certainly won’t be an issue.
I did find that it was fairly easy to hear guests passing by in the hallway and chatting; as with so many Parisian hotels housed in historic buildings, the walls aren’t quite as soundproof as they could be. If you’re a heavy sleeper, this shouldn’t be a problem. I do advise that light sleepers bring earplugs, just in case.
I didn’t try the complimentary turndown service because I was in the room when the attendant knocked on the door. It’s a nice touch of luxury that many will appreciate, though.
In the spacious bathroom equipped with shower and bathtub, the striking design motifs were thoughtfully repeated. An octagonal mirror, decorative tiles, marbled sink counter and old-fashioned faucets came together to reinforce the late 1940s/early 1950s throwback concept.
Toiletries from Swedish brand SachaJuan were a nice touch and came in generous bottles. Everything was perfectly clean, although there were a couple of small discolorations on the floor tiles. These didn’t really take away from the luxurious charm, though– at least not for me.
The shower was good and the water perfectly hot, although I could have used a bit more pressure. The old-fashioned fixtures were a nice touch. Elderly guests or those with mobility issues may not like the lack of a safety mat for the tub, however.
In-Room Services & Amenities
The amenities at this hotel are generally excellent. Each room is equipped with an espresso machine and pods for morning coffee, as well as a complimentary bottle of water. Tea lovers will have to wait for breakfast or request at the front desk, however.
The minibar is stocked with goodies including chocolate, chips/crisps and miniature signature cocktails, but you may want to check prices on the information leaflet on the desk before enjoying. There’s an effective and easy-to-operate heating and air-conditioning system controlled by a digital thermostat.
The cable flatscreen TV worked well and is easy to operate. Again, remember that it looks convincingly like a mirror when not turned on. Luggage racks, slippers, hairdryer and desk are other useful amenities found in all of the rooms at this property.
The only in-room feature I felt left something to be desired was the free wi-fi. It worked just fine at first (you’re given a password at check-in) but repeatedly kicked me off and required me to sign in again and again. After initially working on my phone, it stopped working altogether despite my re-entering the same password repeatedly. I had to go downstairs to resolve the issue with someone at the front desk.
Guests may benefit from a 24/7 concierge service that includes pick-up and drop-off at the airport or other location by a private driver. Inquire about this by contacting the hotel directly.
The Bar & Restaurant
The bar and restaurant the Grand Pigalle is locally reputed for excellent cocktails, a long and sophisticated wine list and delicious food.
I was admittedly disappointed, then, when I came down for dinner at 7:30 pm on a Sunday, only to find that food wasn’t being served after all. This was odd indeed, as I had booked dinner online and received confirmation of my reservation by email. When I brought up the issue to staff, I was met with a mere shrug. The erroneous booking system is something the hotel needs to address, as I was looking forward to dining onsite and getting a full picture of the restaurant.
After scrambling to find dinner and managing to snag counter seating at the nearby, ultra-trendy Pink Mamma trattoria (part of another successful and hip Parisian empire), I did come back for a late drink at the Grand Pigalle’s bar.
I loved the intimate seating at signature octagonal tables, speakeasy vibe and inventive drinks menu. The barman was friendly and helpful. I settled on a bourbon-based cocktail, infused with citrus notes and topped with egg whites. It was sharp, sweet and bitter all at the same time: a creative and drink that I enjoyed despite bourbon not being a personal favorite.
If you do wish to book dinner at the restaurant, you can see the menus here— but I’d double-check with staff to make sure your booking is confirmed, given the snafu I experienced.
The focus here is on fresh, seasonal cuisine with Italian traditions at the center. Current dishes include fried pizzette with tomato and mozzarella, Italian cheese plates and pasta dishes, fresh fish, and beef carpaccio with artichokes, marjoram and fromage blanc. There are good vegetarian options at this restaurant.
Brunch and Breakfast
The next morning, I had an early meeting scheduled, so was happy to see that breakfast was offered from 7:00 am to 11:00 am. I got there at 8, finding a quasi-empty room (my hunch is that guests at this hotel tend to be on the young side and are later risers, on average).
Breakfast was buffet-style and beautifully presented. Pastries and fresh bread, organic yoghurt in two flavors, fresh fruit and juices, homemade granola and cakes, cheese and charcuterie were arranged on the deep wood bar. You can also have eggs to order, if you wish.
I enjoyed a delicious breakfast large enough to call brunch: a perfectly brewed black Americano strong enough for my tastes, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, a glass pot of organic pineapple yogurt, bread with homemade plum jam, pain au chocolat and a bit of homemade granola.
Brunch is also available on Sundays from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm. You can see the current menu here.
My Bottom Line?
The Grand Pigalle is a lovely place to stay, especially if thoughtful and creative design is something that draws you in. Foodies, wine and cocktail enthusiasts should also feel at home here. The overall quality is excellent and I found this hotel to be quite comfortable. Staff was generally friendly and accommodating, especially when I asked to leave a couple of bags behind the desk for the morning.
Sometimes, the “trendy” factor can feel a bit intimidating, however, especially in the restaurant and bar where many locals seem to hang out. This may be the perfect hotel for style-conscious professionals or travelers looking to experience Instagram-braggable places around town.
For those who are just after a bit of traditional comfort and luxury, it may or may not fit the bill, however. I do think the hotel could do more to feel welcoming and accessible to all sorts of travelers, “hip” or not.
It’s such an attractive place that it might just manage, in that case, to become a solid and longstanding favorite in the Parisian hotel landscape.
Contact Details Booking & Getting There
- Address: 29 Rue Victor Massé, 75009 (9th arrondissement)
- Telephone: +33 (0)1 85 73 12 00
- email: [email protected]
- Metro: Pigalle or St. Georges
- Rooms: Range from basic with en-suite bathroom and shower to suites with full balcony, divan, bathtub, robe and slippers. All rooms come with free wi-fi, toiletries, flat-screen mirrored cable TV, minibar, night preparation service, 24-hour room service and numerous other amenities.
- Prices (hotel stay, dining and/or drinks): $$$-$$$$
- Visit the official website
- Read traveler reviews and search for deals on this hotel (via TripAdvisor)
Disclaimer: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was offered complimentary accommodations for one night for review purposes. While it has not influenced the objectivity of this review, Paris Unlocked believes in disclosing potential conflicts of interest.