Castille Paris in a Nutshell:
Despite its 108 guest rooms, Castille Paris feels like an intimate hotel in a big city. Personnel, from the concierge to the front desk clerk to the bellmen are friendly and helpful. Located at narrow Rue Cambon in the city's posh 1st arrondissement
, Castille is across the street from the rear entrance of the Ritz Paris and next door to Chanel's flagship boutique, which takes up nearly half a block. Some rooms offer mesmerizing views of its second-floor atelier, where expert seamstresses work creating couture originals. Given the location, we thought Castille's rates were relatively affordable for one of Paris's poshest neighborhoods.
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Guest Rooms at Castille Paris:
The 300-year-old building that houses Castille opened as a hotel in 1930 and absorbed two of its neighbors in succeeding decades to grow to 108 rooms. Today it's part of the Italy-based Starhotels Collezione and displays its provenance in details such as its L'Assaggio fine dining restaurant and marble-walled bathrooms with Etro toiletries. The majority of suites are duplexes, with a living room and bathroom on the ground floor and a carpeted staircase leading up to a kingsize bed and another bathroom. We had a chance to experience a high-ceilinged duplex junior suite; from the living room window we could watch Chanel's seamstresses. The other suite was even larger, with two sumptuous velvet-covered couches and a dining room table.
Dining at Castille Paris:
The hotel's Assaggio restaurant serves Venetian cuisine. In good weather the doors to its courtyard open and couples can dine outside. We had the continental breakfast, which is included in some packages. Plain, chocolate, and raisin croissants awaited us along with two kinds of cheese, smoked salmon, yogurt, granola, and canned and dried fruits. Scrambled eggs were in a warming tray in a separate area.
Destination Weddings at Castille Paris:
France, with its stringent residency requirement
, isn't an easy place for foreigners to marry. But it's certainly a magical place to celebrate. At Castille, wedding receptions typically take place in the restaurant. Its three rooms can hold a maximum of 130 guests. For smaller events there are two private rooms. The most intimate one can hold a dozen people for a sit-down dinner. The larger one, which has a skylight, can host up to 50 for cocktails.
Activities at Castille Paris:
Paris is at your doorstep, so use the small fitness room on the first floor of Castille to strengthen yourselves for rigorous sightseeing and shopping ahead. A sauna and Wii Fit Nintendo are also available.
Nearby Castille Paris:
Castille is located at the crossroads of Paris' most exquisite boutiques on Rue de la Paix and Rue St. Honoré. Pass Chanel, wafting its intoxicating No. 5 fumes onto the street, and begin your exploration. Lovers of fine jewelry will be transfixed by the diamond and colored gem creations in the windows of Buccelati, Bulgari, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, and other master jewelers. In fact, every luxury brand known to man and woman lies within a ten-block radius of the hotel. Galeries Lafayette department store, which displays many of the world's finest brands beneath its magnificent stained-glass dome, is also within walking distance. Use the safety deposit box in your room to stash your credit cards if you don't trust yourselves.
What You Should Know About Castille Paris:
Castille isn't the first upscale hotel where we encountered a fee for wi-fi (although it's free in the lobby). What surprised us more is the daily 8 Euro fee to watch TV — regular old TV, like CNN. In other words, guests can't watch anything on their in-room flatscreen unless they agree to be billed. We didn't come to Paris to watch TV, but still we think that's wrong.
Note: travelers with mobility problems may be happier in a non-duplex room to avoid having to use the staircase. And one more quibble: Breakfast attendants could be more attentive. One morning the tray with scrambled eggs was empty when we arrived and remained so for more than 10 minutes before being refilled.
Castille Paris Vibe:
The word is out: Castille is hospitable and welcoming to American guests. In fact, we heard more English spoken in the lobby than any other language. The majority of guests we observed were adult couples, although we did spot a few children on our visit. What we also saw was a helpful, unfailingly polite staff with perfect English who enhanced our first nights in Paris. Just one example: When we were heading out to a restaurant on a rainy night, not only did they hail a cab for us and give the French-speaking driver directions to get there, they also made sure we departed with a hotel umbrella.
Castille Paris Info and Reservations: