Welcome to Paris. Effortless chic? Tick. The finest food on every thoroughfare. Yep, still intact. Drags on gauloise still punctuate debate over Sartre. The nostalgic smell of caramelised cheese from Breton crepes floats out from bakeries, always. But there’s something different in the air, too. It’s late September, the sun is shining and the vibe is gloriously laid back. Stereotypes dissipate, people are having fun and the scene is set for the perfect, impromptu weekend break. Enter Hotel Max.
Hotel Max, in Paris’ 14th arrondissement, is a polished, chic boutique hotel with minimal frippery and maximum charm. It’s a fool proof foundation from which to explore the city during a short stay in the city, making it equally appropriate for weekend getaways as it is a business trip.
The 14th arrondissement, well south of the Seine, might seem out of the way but, think again. From right outside the hotel, on the beautifully tree-lined boulevard, a quick trip on the 38 bus goes straight to Ile de la Cite and on to Gare de Nord in a matter of minutes. The area is also supported by the Alésia metro station, just a minute’s walk from the hotel, making any of the sights surprisingly accessible. The area itself is lively, with the feel of a genuine Paris neighbourhood, plenty of restaurants, roadside bar-seating and all.
STYLE & CHARACTER
The interior is much what you’d expect from a place billing itself as boutique. It’s modern and streamlined, with wooden floors and little splashes of vibrant colour. Nothing overwhelms and everything is slick and appropriate to the space. There’s a continuity in the design, and synergy in its application that only a small, independent hotel can pull off. It’s done with class here.
Rooms are consistent with the lobby area and lounge; both blonde and varnished wood rub shoulders with darker greys and blues. It’s all very suave indeed. Some rooms have balcony access, and catch the sun quite perfectly if the weather is right (it was). There’s space to sit and type if on business, with Nespresso coffee machines in each room offering a pick me up. If it’s pleasure you’re here for, the bed is superbly comfortable, and each room has a flat screen T.V. Bathrooms are compact but do the job, with the lengthy, statement mirrors a nice touch of the unique.
The charm of Hotel Max is in its mixing of compact functionality with style, and as a consequence you’d be foolish to expect the amenities of a larger establishment. There is, however, a clean-lined lobby with art books (for reading or as a piece in themselves, we’re not sure) and a business corner complete with computer and printer, which is a touch many hotels purporting to be for the business traveller woefully overlook. Not so here, which is great. What’s more, there’s a little garden at the entrance, which, much like the balconies, catches the sun just right when it’s out.
FOOD & DRINK
The bright, light filled area which hosts breakfast is the perfect morning pick-me-up; if you brought your SAD light, best leave it in the suitcase, breakfast here very much keeps the morning melatonin at bay. It’s just what you’d expect from a Parisian breakfast; fresh, strong coffee and plenty of pastries.
Hotel Max is ideal for a weekend away in quiet and surprisingly accessible area. If you fancy a flavour of the ‘real’ Paris, both tourist and stereotype free, this place is the perfect choice.
Address: 34 Rue d’Alésia, 75014 Paris, France
Disclosure: IDEAL stayed as a guest of the hotel