by Scott Laird
Last updated: 4:00 AM ET, Fri May 5, 2017
Paris is a fascinating hotel market. For travelers who typically book in the upper upscale segment, it can be eye-wateringly expensive with a buffet of options that can be confusing to first-time bookers.
One can pay a premium to stay in the midst of the tourist crush that typifies the Right Bank from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe. Or you can save a bit by booking something in the rather ho-hum outskirts surrounded by gray blocks of midcentury apartment flats and inartistic office complexes.
For a happy medium, direct your attention to the heart of the 16th Arrondissement, near the Place du Trocadéro.
It's a slightly less-polished, more residential area, but much less trafficked and much more tranquil in spite of being just a block or two away from the love-locking, selfie-stick toting masses dodging souvenir vendors while posing for Eiffel Tower sight gag photos.
Situated above the tiny roundabout Place de Mexico is the charming 36 room boutique treasure Le Metropolitan, which is part of Starwood's new Tribute Portfolio. It takes up the entirety of a flatiron-shaped heritage building constructed in the 19th century, fittingly wedging an oasis of top-notch hospitality into its own corner of one of the world's most vibrant cities.
Lofty words I've used, indeed, but the hotel deserves them.
First and foremost, the staff is just lovely. Paris has never been known for providing the best hospitality-particularly outside the luxury sphere-but the management here has picked winners for their staff. I'd been pickpocketed that morning on the Métro, and the ladies at the front desk couldn't have been more helpful, offering the desk telephone to make international calls to cancel credit cards and arrange provisional credit.
They also seemed proud of their new Tribute Portfolio affiliation-that's Starwood's new collection of independent properties in the four-star, upper upscale tier, while The Luxury Collection focuses on a more five-star, luxury experience-and were eager to offer the benefits associated with my SPG status.
While being escorted to the room, the clerk apologized there wasn't a larger room available for an upgrade, explaining the hotel was fully booked that evening but assuring me the room was "Parisian standard" in size.
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The room, a deluxe king, was admittedly small, but still felt larger than the Parisian standard the desk clerk mentioned (I've seen far worse in Paris) and notably had a generously sized bathroom with a deep soaker stone tub (a Paris luxury if ever one existed) and decidedly not-fussy plumbing.
One minor complaint is perhaps the lack of outlets, but again, it's a historic building, and the Nespresso coffee machine didn't seem to mind being unplugged in favor of my laptop. Another note of welcome was found with a lovely presentation of macarons, which magically appeared later in the afternoon.
An additional pleasant surprise was the restaurant, where I found the menu pricing to be consistent with what one might expect in Paris, albeit not a hotel in Paris. The quality was certainly much better than what one might find in any of the more tourist-frequented eating establishments and cafés, and was satisfying in its simplicity: An expertly seasoned and roasted chicken breast with jus, a colorful panoply of seasonal vegetables, along with a black forest cake, lovingly sliced and served from a wheeled trolley.
The wait staff was charming to the point of appearing almost crestfallen when I turned down the suggestion of a glass of wine. In the end, I was coaxed into a medium-bodied white, and I'm glad I was, for it was far more delicious than the €7 price tag suggested.
I watched, bemused, the next morning as an American couple sat down at breakfast and quickly walked out, grumbling that €20 for a continental breakfast wasn't reasonable. If only they had stayed long enough to be presented with the bacchanalia I was enjoying (my SPG benefits included breakfast)!
Delicious, almost liquid, full-fat plain yogurt into which I swirled local honey followed flakey pain au chocolat, croissants, and fresh crusty bread with butter-my single serving was enough for a crowd, and to fortify for an entire day of city trekking.
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The hotel's design seems to jump back and forth between heritage and eclecticism, with clean lines and lots of hardwood and panache. Bright purple carpet adorns the corridors outside guest rooms while the statue of a nude male torso greets guests en route from the front desk to the elevator.
It all seems to fit into perfectly planned place.
In a departure from ordinary, the hotel has a pool-quite rare for Paris, and almost unheard of in a four-star boutique property there. It took a bit of questioning to find out that the door is always locked, and one must ask the front desk for access, though it's so they know who's in there and who's not. At any rate, it's refreshing to submerge underwater after a long intercontinental flight or to soothe feet tired from a day of schlepping.
Oh, and perhaps the best part: the Eiffel Tower immediately assails the line of sight right outside the front door.
How's that for convenience? It's arguably not worth standing in line for, but the sense of place imparted by the view is, after all, what you've come to Paris for.
The Takeaway: Le Metropolitan is perfect for those seeking a slightly lower-octane Paris, away from the tourist crowds but still well-situated for exploring the City of Light.
The Damage: I've seen rates from €247, but at Category 5 (12,000 Starpoints per night), the hotel is one of the better SPG redemption values in the city.
Instagrammable Moment: The Eiffel Tower is right out the front door of the hotel. For an extra splurge, some of the hotel's rooms have the same view.
Good To Know: The hotel is convenient to the Trocadéro and Victor Hugo Métro stations, but en route to or from the airport, take surface transport to Gare du Nord for the RER to the airport-attempting to navigate the Métro with luggage makes an easy target for pickpockets.
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