8 Best New Hotels in France

Muse Hotel de Luxe, Saint-Tropez. Photo: Muse Hotel de Luxe Photo by Muse Hotel de Luxe
By Kristine Hansen

From a four-room inn in Burgundy to one of the most glamorous hotels in Paris, a recent flurry of hotel openings may mean you're overdue for a trip to France.

Among these eight newcomers, you're sure to discover a hotel or B&B that fits your style and budget. Poolside butler, anyone?

Photo Caption: Muse Hotel de Luxe in St. Tropez, France. Courtesy Muse Hotel de Luxe
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Muse Hotel de Luxe, Saint-Tropez. Photo: Courtesy Muse Hotel de Luxe Photo by Muse Hotel de Luxe
What: Muse Hotel de Luxe

Where: St. Tropez

Details: A summer in the South of France just got hotter with the arrival of Muse Hotel de Luxe (tel. +33 4 94 43 04 40; www.muse-hotels.com) in Ramatuelle, which experienced a soft opening last June and recently underwent more primping to prepare for this summer. Each of the 14 suites is named after famous French folks (Edith Piaf, Catherine Deneuve), and every suite is stocked with a private wine cabinet. Ten suites come with private pools, so guests can hole up without compromising on luxury. M, the on-site restaurant, is directed by two chefs: Clement Bruno is frequently dubbed the "king of truffles" and Nicolas Le Toumelin formerly owned London's famous One-o-One. Custom-made room furnishings reflect the Art Deco style, yet each room features an elegant twist with shades of cream and ivory. When you feel the beach beckon, a Bentley shuttles you there in style. Of the six options on the bath-salts menu, one is thoughtfully designed to cure after-sun effects. Poolside sun butlers provide sunscreen just for your skin tone. And once the sun butler stops by your tented cabana with your favorite cocktail and magazine, all that's left to do is sit back and relax.

Rates: from €350 per room per night

Photo Caption: Muse Hotel de Luxe in St. Tropez. Courtesy Muse Hotel de Luxe
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Dom Perignon champagne bar at Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez. Photo Image courtesy of Design Hotels Photo by Image courtesy of Design Hotels
What: Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez

Where:
St. Tropez

Details: Opening along the Côte d'Azur in July 2010, Hotel Sezz St. Tropez (tel. + 33 4 94 55 31 55; www.designhotels.com/hotel_sezz_st_tropez) is a follow-up to the equally posh Hotel Sezz Paris, which debuted five years earlier. Located just a few minutes from the beach (because why would you want to be anywhere else, especially when the hotel lends you a bicycle or electric shuttle car?), the 37-room hotel sports a Mediterranean Mod motif. All rooms are at garden level and decked out in 1950s neutral shades like white, light gray, dark brown, light blue, and saffron. Hotel Sezz St. Tropez is built into a wooded park, where there are gardens of fig trees, olive trees, and lemon trees. Colette, the on-site restaurant, specializes in Mediterranean fare orchestrated by Pierre Gagnaire, a well-known French chef with three Michelin-starred restaurants already under his belt. Dom Pérignon-branded Champagne bar is a little escape within the property, as is Spa Sezz by Payot. When you tire of the nearby beach, an outdoor pool -- complete with poolside cocktail service -- awaits. Or, put on an apron and enroll in one of the hotel's cooking classes that are slated to start later this year.

Rates: from €400 per room per night

Photo Caption: Dom Pérignon champagne bar at Hotel Sezz St. Tropez. Courtesy Design Hotels
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Reception area with iMacs, at Mama Shelter in Paris. Photo: DR Photo by DR
What: Mama Shelter

Where: Paris

Details: This 172-room hotel -- which opened in 2008 -- in the 20th arrondissement injects a little surprise into the budget-hotel concept. (In other words, you're not going to be let down once you slip under satin-y smooth sheets in your tastefully decorated room.) You may, however, be surprised to learn that Mama Shelter (tel. +33 1 43 48 48 48; www.mamashelter.com) was developed by the family that co-founded Club Med, with eclectic details contributed by designer Philippe Starck. Five room categories range from the cozy La Mama to Mama Suite (includes a private terrace); all have an iMac to play music on and research your day's itinerary. Each offers free movies on-demand (not that you came to Paris to watch movies). Slink into Mama Pizzeria on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night where live musical performances are paired with your pizza dinner. Brunch on Sunday, as well as lunch and dinner daily, offer everything from comfort foods like Le Cheeseburger and club sandwiches to foie gras, anyone. Visiting DJs with serious street cred, such as one who has mixed for Madonna, hold down the house on select nights.

Rates: from €79 per room per night

Photo Caption: The reception area with iMacs at Mama Shelter in Paris. Courtesy DR
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Petit Usagi, a Japanese cafe, is nestled on the ground floor of the Le Citizen Hotel du Canal. Courtesy Guillaume Terver/Le Citizen Hotel du Canal Photo by Guillaume Terver/Le Citizen Hotel du Canal
What: Le Citizen Hotel du Canal

Where: Paris

Details: If you are only staying in Paris for a few nights, selecting Le Citizen Hotel du Canal (tel. +33 1 83 62 55 50; www.lecitizenhotel.com) -- which opened late in 2010 -- makes a lot of sense. It's in a convenient location just off the Marais, allowing for convenient strolls around one of Paris' hippest neighborhoods that's known for the Picasso Museum, bakeries, art galleries, fashion houses -- and of course, the tree-lined Canal St. Martin. In this fully renovated building, each of the 12 rooms (which range from a standard-size room to an apartment) is outfitted with simple blonde woods and white linens. Conversely, canary-yellow seat cushions and bright blue walls are in the café to brighten your morning. If you crave a midnight snack, simply pull open the mini bar, which is stocked with foie gras and other treats. Some of the larger rooms have gorgeous walk-in showers, the perfect little luxury after a day of sightseeing.

Rates: from €159 per room per night

Photo Caption: Petit Usagi, a Japanese cafe, is on the ground floor of the Le Citizen Hotel du Canal. Courtesy Guillaume Terver/Le Citizen Hotel du Canal
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The Marie Antoinette suite at the Seven Hotel, Paris. Photo: Courtesy Serge Ramelli/Seven Hotel Photo by Serge Ramelli/Seven Hotel
What: Seven Hotel

Where:
Paris

Details: For anyone who thinks French design can get stodgy, this is the hotel for you. Even the reception desk is funky and casual, bordering on a dream-like aura: velvet sofas; satin curtains; yellow, pink, purple, and red lighting. Seven Hotel (tel. +33 1 43 31 47 52; www.sevenhotelparis.com) opened last summer in the 5th arrondissement next to the Latin Quarter. There are 35 rooms and seven suites. Each suite expresses over-the-top décor but with a pop-cultural twist, such as the Marie Antoinette suite (awash in bright pastels) and 007 Suite (have you ever seen a lamp base made out of a gun?). Guests can chill at a lounge/bar that features glass bulbs suspended from the ceiling and high-backed chairs to help diffuse the loud conversations at the next table. Wine geeks will no doubt find pleasure in Seven Hotel's wine cellar, with sectional couches within arm's reach of the wine stash.

Rates: from €213 per room per night

Photo Caption: The Marie Antoinette suite at the Seven Hotel, Paris. Photo: Courtesy Serge Ramelli/Seven Hotel
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La Librairie des Arts, the art bookshop of Le Royal Monceau, Paris. Photo: Courtesy Le Royal Monceau Photo by Courtesy Le Royal Monceau
What: Le Royal Monceau

Where: Paris

Details: Last fall, Raffles (a group of luxury hotels) took on Paris -- specifically, Avenue Hoche, a stone's throw from Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe. Directed by none other than French designer Philippe Starck, the inside of Le Royal Monceau (tel. +33 1 42 99 88 00; www.leroyalmonceau.com) is whimsical and elegant all at once with a rooftop garden, a pillar constructed from seashells, and splashes of primary colors serving as ceiling art in one area of the hotel. Limited-edition art is displayed inside the 149 rooms (64 are spacious suites) and the library/bookstore (where contemporary-design books are sold). For budding musicians, each room contains a signature "Royal Monceau" acoustic guitar and a guitar instructor is available for lessons.

The hotel has the city's largest swimming pool, an intimate cigar room (La Fumee Rouge), and a contemporary-art gallery. Debuting this summer is Le Royal Eclaireur, selling fashions found in Paris boutiques; and My Blend by Clarins, a spa. Take your pick from three restaurants: La Cuisine, which is French; Il Carpaccio, specializing in Italian dishes; and all-day fare at Grand Salon.

Rates: from €780 per room per night

Photo Caption: La Librairie des Arts, the art bookshop of Le Royal Monceau, Paris. Courtesy Le Royal Monceau
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Service at Victor Bar, The Regent Grand Hotel Bordeaux. Photo: Courtesy of Regent Hotels & Resorts Photo by Courtesy of Regent Hotels & Resorts
What: The Regent Grand Hotel Bordeaux

Where: Bordeaux

Details: Famed French designer Jacques Garcia was put to task on the 150-room Regent Grand Hotel Bordeaux (tel. +33 5 57 30 44 44; www.theregentbordeaux.com), a project that involved linking eight historic buildings in the city center. Unveiled in June 2008, the hotel showcases a neo-classical style of the 18th and 19th centuries fused with eclectic modern luxury. (Think dim lighting and lots of velvet, satin, and silk.)

Convenient to just about everything you would want to do -- such as nibble on macarons (a shop is next door), sip Bordeaux gems inside the CIVB wine bar (called Bar a Vin) two blocks away, or tour Opéra National de Bordeaux literally across the street -- the hotel will open a 10,000-square-foot spa later this year. At its Michelin-star restaurant Le Pressoir d'Argent, you'll find a lobster press (the silver gadget costs around €30,000) that is believed to be owned by only four other restaurants in the world. Its casual cousin, Brasserie L'Europe, features a 60-seat terrace. Locals like to hang in Victor Bar, named for former Bordeaux resident Victor Hugo. Wine lovers will want to snag one of the Prestige Suites, where a private wine bar is stocked with your favorites.

Rates: from €250 per room per night

Photo Caption: Service at Victor Bar, The Regent Grand Hotel Bordeaux. Courtesy Regent Hotels & Resorts
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Main house at Domaine la Source des Fées, Fuissé, France. Photo: La Source des Fées Photo by La Source des Fées
What: Domaine la Source des Fees

Where: Fuissé

Details: You'll find Domaine la Source des Fees (tel: +33 3 85 35 67 02; www.lasourcedesfees.fr) in the quaint wine-making village of Fuissé, in southern Burgundy. Here, a 16th-century building was converted to an inn in 2009; many of the four rooms contain the original brick interior walls. Each room is outfitted with unique décor, including antiques and colorful furnishings. The owners produce wine under the same name as the inn, using estate-grown grapes. You can sample current vintages (including Rosé sparkling wine) in a cave-like tasting room across the street from the inn. Sip morning coffee and afternoon wine while seated at a bistro table in a garden behind the inn, with a breathtaking view of terraced vines on slightly hilly terrain. Two more perks: meals are served on the property and an Ayurvedic-style massage can be arranged.

Rates: from €115 per room per night

Photo Caption: Main house at Domaine la Source des Fées, Fuissé, France. Courtesy La Source des Fées
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