1889 was a good year for the City of Lights. The Belle Époque was at its peak and always crowded Parisian boulevards were swarmed with numerous artists that were destined to stir rather conservative spirits of the art world, pushing its boundaries to the levels yet unknown. That year the World Fair was held in Paris, with Eiffel Tower as its main attraction. But, at that time the much-maligned behemoth of steel wasn’t the only architectural masterpiece built for the occasion. In 1889, the monumental Grand Hotel Terminus, strikingly designed by the architect Juste Lisch, opened its doors to awaiting clientele, comprised mostly of British tourists arriving at nearby Gare Saint Lazare with a desire to see the grand exhibition. Since then, this impressive hotel changed the owners several times and from 2013 it is the proud member of distinguished Hilton group.
Le Grand Salon adorned with frescoes, Corinthian colonnades and imposing original balustrades
Hilton Paris Opera of today is the best four star hotel in the city and it is pretty obvious that it is way beyond its star rating. We can only assume that this is the smart corporate strategy that makes this historic place convenient for many companies and its employees. But, the hotel also attracts visitors from all over the world. It is located in the fashionable 8th arrondissement, just a few minutes away from some of the most beautiful cultural sites and attractions like the Palais Garnier opera house, department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. The Champs Élysées is around 20 minutes walk away, as well as major sites including the Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries and Place de la Concorde.
Le Grand Salon is the hub for guests and Parisian people
The hotel has undergone a $50m refurbishment, the work of London-based design firm Richmond International, with a significant help of Parisian architecture firm Ertim and French heritage authorities. During the renovation they had only one goal in mind – to restore the building to the splendor of its glory days.
Grand Hotel Terminus
Since we have special affection towards Parisian hotels we were delighted to discover the place that reflects grandeur of 19th-century Paris. From the very entrance, Hilton Paris Opera started to amaze us. The gigantic lobby bar Le Grand Salon left us in awe with its generous amount of sheer space, endlessly high ceilings adorned with glittery chandeliers and breathtaking interior design that transported us right in the heart of Belle Epoque Paris. During our time in Hilton’s Grand Salon we couldn’t escape the feeling of being willingly trapped inside Woody Allen’s masterpiece Midnight in Paris, with a major difference – we didn’t even need to wait for the vintage Peugeot to come and pick us up. We just had to allow ourselves a little more time to savor cocktails in the hotel’s spectacular lobby bar!
The room design of Hilton Paris Opera leaves nothing to desire. It is pretty classic in its appearance, bright and very luxurious, equipped with all the amenities that are expected in the hotel of this category. When it came to furnishings, Richmond International used modern elements that would clearly differentiate the old from the new. We were immensely pleased with our Executive room, a large and bright affair with marble bathroom and view over the Saint Lazare station and cult sculpture L’heure de tous that adorns the Cour du Havre square. Photographic murals on the walls behind the headboards, reminded us of the romance and liveliness of Paris in a different era.
The special higlight at the Hilton Paris Opera is the 900 square-foot Maria Callas Suite. Besides a living room with high ceilings (typical for a Parisian Haussmann building), this suite has a master bedroom with a king bed, and a second bedroom with twin beds, both with private bathrooms. Other suite highlights are the hotel’s four Rotonde suites on both sides of the building, with round exterior walls opening up to private French balconies.
Maria Callas Suite
The sophisticated Hilton Paris Opera offers a culinary escape regardless the time of the day. There are three dining spots in in the hotel. Besides everybody’s favorite Le Grand Salon with not only wonderful interiors but also with a delicious menu, we enjoyed the amazing pastry selection at Le Pain Quotidien, where most of the dishes are based on the organic sourdough wheat. For the more intimate occasions, private dinners or even business meetings, we recommend Hilton’s Le Petit Bar, perfect for accommodating its guests with an atmosphere of discreet luxury, wonderful cocktails, and tailor-made menus. We need to add that the service in Hilton Paris Opera is absolutely impeccable, provided by the highly professional and knowledgeable staff.
Le Pain Quotidien
Le Petit Bar
The Baccarat ballroom, featuring vintage chandeliers from the famous crystal maker, has been refurbished to its former splendour and is able to accommodate various events of up to 180 guests.
The Baccarat ballroom
Under grandiose facade and modern room decor, Hilton Paris Opera is still very much rooted in history of Saint Lazare district and the history of Paris itself. Hidden beneath the layers of abundant luxury, deep inside Hilton Paris Opera still beats the heart of Grand Hotel Terminus, a seminal work of Juste Lisch that welcomed hundreds of visitors during the World Fair of 1889. And that is why its charms is simply unbeatable!
Vukota Brajovic for Fashionela