Molitor – more than a touch of the extraordinary
THERE ARE any number of hotels around the world that one stays at, that one can easily take for granted. Then there are the ones that have that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ – an intangible quality that makes them something distinctive or attractive.
Such is the case with Molitor, where the word ‘distinctive’ takes on a whole new meaning. Located in a pleasant residential part of the 16th Arrondissement in Paris, a few minutes from the shopping districts of Auteuil and Passy, and adjoining Roland Garros, the Parc des Princes and the Bois de Boulogne, the hotel has survived an extraordinarily chequered history since first opening its doors to the public in 1929, when Paris began replacing its military fortifications with sports facilities. Closed for a number of years, the hotel was listed as a historical monument before re-emerging as a 5-star hotel with stunning architecture.
Today, Molitor sits as an oasis in the heart of Paris, boasting two splendid pools and spa colours. Imagine living your life at this hotel ‘inside out’. Let me explain. The entire hotel complex has been orchestrated around its two magnificent pools, once used by ‘Tarzan’ legend Johnny Weismuller for training purposes. The summer pool at 46 metres and the winter pool at 33 metres make these a rarity in Paris, and the fact that they have been fully refurbished to the way they were in 1929 make them the very essence of Molitor.
Guest bedrooms surround the summer pool, where steam can be seen rising from its heated waters – a permanent 28degC year-round. The winter pool is sheltered by a huge glass roof, and surrounded by its blue changing booths and extraordinary mosaics.
The guest bedrooms, which overlook the summer pool, are simple, refined and chic, in muted colours which blend beautifully with the harmony of the hotel itself. As you would expect, the beds and linen are luxurious, with plenty of wardrobe space, a safe, mini bar, complimentary tea, coffee and bottled water, robe and slippers, and bathroom accessories.
The restaurant menu is the brainchild of multi-starred chef Yannick Alleno, and offers an interesting encounter between ‘new generation’ chef Julien Mercier (chef de chefs at the Alain Ducasse School of Cookery), and winners of the best workers in France award (MOF), who are invited for each session.
The restaurant seats 80, including 30 on the terrace. The 550 sq.m. roof terrace, which is open in high season, with its aromatic garden, serves 80 and offers a light, inspired menu. The bar area occupies a central position between the two pools and extends to the mezzanine and the roof terrace, offering signature cocktails and a small, but high-quality menu.
As for the magnificent Spa, you will find it entirely in keeping with the venue itself, where Clarins has lavished its collection of custom treatments, including three ‘signature’ rituals devised exclusively for Molitor.
13 rue Nungesser et Coli, 75016 Paris
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The Paris Convention and Visitors bureau, its local partners and Atout France kindly sponsored my trip.