I had planned an overnight stay in Paris for VIP and myself (to celebrate his milestone birthday), so I was on the lookout to stay somewhere that little bit special without taking out a second mortgage for the privilege.
When I heard about the recently-opened 80-room Hotel Paris Bastille Boutet MGallery by Sofitel (a bit of a mouthful, I know!), which is in the heart of Paris’ picturesque Bastille district I knew I had to try it out.
Not only did it have a sexy sounding name, the five-star boutique hotel was previously used as a chocolate factory and I had heard whispers that the hotel incorporated chocolate themes into some of its philosophy as a nod towards its past.
So, in the name of research I booked an overnight stay – with a spa treatment thrown in for good measure.
Hotel Paris Bastille Boutet MGallery by Sofitel has not long been open (since December 2015) and prior to the building’s chocolate-y past, it was a wood factory. I like wood and I like chocolate, so no problems there then.
On entering the hotel we were greeted with the smell of fig, which reminded me of an expensive Jo Malone candle I once owned.
Check-in took a few minutes but we were given refresher towels and told that we could have breakfast in the room for no extra charge which was a nice touch and made check-in that little bit different (and less boring if I’m honest).
We stayed in a lovely superior room that offered a super king size bed, some posh French toiletries, tea and coffee facilities, a telly and some nice artwork on the walls.
Our room overlooked the front of the hotel and although it was an odd shape, this simply added to its character.
Rooms start from 199 euros (approximately £178) per night on a room only basis, with an additional 26 euros (£23) for breakfast. I must point out that breakfast was exceptionally good; a relaxed, pleasant setting with a huge variety of options to choose – from the flavour of herbal teas right down to the style of croissant – twisted, plain, extra butter, chocolate…
In the late afternoon (while I was having my spa treatment – see how it went below!) VIP was offered a turndown service, where the curtains were drawn and he was presented with some marshmallows that tasted of passion fruit. Luckily for me he let me scoff the lot and I had no trouble polishing them off.
In the early evening I wanted another cuppa but we ran out of t-bags. We called reception to see if they had any and by the time VIP got down there they had a whole chest of teas for him to choose from – and they had even warmed the milk up for me. Now that’s service for you.
I simply loved this hotel; its location, history, boutique feel, the staff, service and the feeling of grandeur and opulence without it being stuffy. Plus I felt under no pretence staying here and could easily have stayed a few more nights if I’m honest.
What didn’t work?
The art work on the walls was a close up of some old wood furniture – probably put there as a historical reference to the building’s past, but a chocolate-themed room would have gone down a treat – and possibly some actual chocolate presented with the tea and coffee? Asking too much…? Mmmh maybe.
The only other thing I’d point out was that the cups provided with the tea and coffee had no handles. Ordinarily this would not bother me as the design was simply delightful and right up my street.
But great design doesn’t always mean practical and it wasn’t easy holding a cup with no handle that housed boiling hot water – I had to put my gloves on to withstand the heat!
The signature spa treatment
I was happy to hear that the hotel’s signature treatment was chocolate themed. For €180, an hour’s session will see you massaged and scrubbed with chocolate butter/cocoa oil that contains fruit grains/seeds to cleanse and hydrate the skin and stimulate the senses.
It sounded divine and, after hours of walking the streets of Paris, I was keen to get the pampering underway.
I was greeted at the spa reception and was shown a room where I could change into my robe and slippers.
I debated whether or not I should be removing my underwear under the robe. As you can probably guess, I’m a complete novice when it comes to pampering sessions and I have absolutely no idea what the protocol is.
I was kicking myself for not doing a bit of research on this before I left, but decided to protect my modesty and keep them on; more so that I didn’t give the poor masseuse a shock when she lifted the towel.
My smiling masseuse Emily was waiting for me as I exited the locker room and she showed me the room where I was to remove my robe and wait for her on the beauty bed. Is that what they call it?
‘Ah, you must remove everything please’
I silently thanked whoever had dimmed the lights; the cellulite might have a fighting chance at not being clocked.
Emily asked me if I had any allergies and if I was taking any medication. She then asked if I wanted her to avoid any areas when giving the massage. I wanted to say boobs, bum and tum, but instead I just shook my head; I didn’t want to give the impression that I was fussy Brit.
But then I was suddenly overcome by shyness and blurted out that I was wearing my bra and knickers under the robe.
‘Ah, you must remove everything please’, she said.
‘Everything?!’ I was taken aback and wondered if my nether regions would also be getting a special treatment of their own….why everything?
And then she produced some paper knickers. I breathed a sigh of relief and she left the room to save me the dignity of clambering on the bed with everything spilling out.
Emily started off by applying warm flannels on my feet. I had no idea how pleasant warm flannels on my feet could be and I made a mental note to try this back at home when I was feeling stressed.
The flannel experience was followed by an all-over body scrub, and I felt thoroughly cleansed, like I literally had new skin.
Emily saved me the embarrassment of full frontals/bottom views by strategically placing the towels where needed and for this I was grateful. Had I known she was going to do this from the start I may just have relaxed a bit sooner.
I was then told to shower before the hour-long massage commenced. Thank god I had the foresight to shave my legs beforehand – I spared Emily that at least!
Emily had this really special massage, moving from the bottom of my spine right to the top; it can only really be described as utterly divine.
I haven’t had many spa treatments in my life but I always tend to judge them by how easily I could fall asleep while having them.
In this case I dropped off for a nano second. I know this because you know the jumps you get just as you’re dropping off – well it happened a couple of times and I even remember a strange noise escaping my throat at one point – a half snort, half contented sigh.
By the time it was time to turn over I could feel myself practically dribbling as I was so relaxed.
There were only two possible things that would have made the spa treatment better:
- I had some chocolate – either before or after the treatment (although I was very well taken care of and offered water and tea/coffee afterwards)
- They let me have a little dose afterwards. I found it practically impossible when I was on the verge of dropping off to have to get up and get dressed to leave.
I can’t fault Emily at all; she clearly is a very talented masseuse and I made sure I left a tip that hopefully let her know this.
The treatment itself was simply amazing; I could very easily become accustomed to a weekly massage treat if I wasn’t watching the pennies. I’m working on it though; always hopeful of visiting the Camelot offices one fine day.
Watch the video (below) of our day in Paris! Or read what we got up to in the city of love!