We all know that marriage can be challenging, especially when both partners are from different countries and cultures. As unofficial rivals boasting the best wine, cuisine and quality of life, Italy and France don’t often make for good bedfellows. Yet at Castille Paris, Italian hoteliers Starhotel Collezione’s lone French outpost, the marriage of high Italian design and 18th-century Parisian sensibilities creates an elegant, five-star partnership in the heart of the City of Light. Positioned along the stylish Rue Cambon next to the flagship Chanel showroom, Castille is a short walk from Place Vendôme and the Champs Elysée. When the weather is nice, the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay are both a pleasant 15-minute stroll from the hotel. Designer shopping awaits at every turn as does cuisine, ranging from culinary temples to cozy comfort food dens.

First Impressions

With an enviable, Right-Bank location in the 1st arrondissement, the Castille Paris offers guests the convenience of a central Paris location and a wide-range of concierge services and amenities. Entering the hotel from the street, you’ll find a large lobby with plush seating areas where you can relax and read the paper or have a long chat with friends. With a little luck, you’ll encounter the hotel’s celebrity feline, Heliot, who has been known to purr his way into guests’ good graces. Once a homeless kitty, Heliot found his golden ticket when he wandered into the hotel and stole the staff’s hearts.

A testament to its splendid 18th-century roots, the decor is contemporary yet warm and intimate—devoid of the stuffiness you might expect from a luxury Paris property. Milanese designer Andrea Auletta mixes tufted leathers, gilded mirrors, marble, and oak with a palette of blacks, creams, and splashes of vermillion, violet and cerulean. The effect is luxurious for sure, but with just a touch of chicness to keep it interesting.

Room & Suites

The Castille Paris offers 87 rooms, 21 suites, and an apartment, all individually decorated. Spread across two wings, those staying in the Rivoli wing are treated to classic 1930s French style, while Opéra wing guests enjoy contemporary style and impressive views. The Dolce Vita Apartment has a living room, two bedrooms and two marble bathrooms; select suites come with second-story sleeping lofts. All the premium amenities you’d expect from a luxury hotel are on hand, in addition to little surprises like Illy espresso machines, complimentary smartphones to use during your stay and an option to order custom-fluffed pillows.

Food & Drink

Within the property are a top-notch restaurant and an elegant bar and a tearoom—all perfect places for a refreshing break during the day. Stop by the lounge for a fancy cocktail before dinner or a nightcap before turning in.

The ample American-style breakfast buffet (not included in the base room rate) offers the opportunity to fuel up for a long day of sightseeing—we made two with just a pit stop for sandwiches between marathon days of walking, museum visits and shopping. If you choose to dine in the hotel, the Wednesday evening Sinoira Castille is a delightful option—an Italian-style aperitivo menu paired with signature cocktails or premium wines.

For refined dining the hotel’s, L’Assaggio Restaurant offers a carefully curated menu from Chef Pablo Sabariego. The dishes are prepared by Executive Chef Pablo Sabariego in collaboration with Sabariego, and offer a mix of Mediterranean flavors and classic French tradition. Options include a six-course, discovery tasting menu, wine pairings or an a la carte menu where you can find a variety of delicious pastas, risottos, seafood, meat and desserts. In the spring and summer months the restaurant is centered around a sheltered courtyard replete with a Roman fountain and a lovely trompe l’oeil-painted wall.

Services & Amenities

Among the facilities at our disposal was a 24-hour gym located on the first floor. It had a small number of treadmills, a stair climber, a stationary bike and a rack of free weights. For business travelers, there are three exclusive meetings rooms. Small pets are permitted, because this is Paris, after all.

For Families

The hotel offers family rooms in which children stay free and enjoy special amenities such as snack time, fun bath accessories and an array of playthings (books, puzzles, a Nintendo Wii, etc.). You can arrange babysitting services ahead of time. For kids content to amuse themselves with all that Paris has to offer just outside their doorstep (and Heliot the cat, of course), the Castille is a great choice. For young ones who need swimming pools, children’s menus and other kid-friendly amenities, their parents may want to look elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

At the Castille Paris the pluses are many—first among them being its central location, stylish interiors, and gourmet dining. We found few downsides, apart from some street noise from Rue Cambon (and admittedly, the US President was in town that weekend so there were more sirens than usual) and the compact room dimensions typical of a European city hotel. The boutique character of Castille Paris, the hotel’s warm and professional service, and the cat—did we mention the cat—combine to make this posh retreat a bastion of flair and sophistication and an Italian-Parisian match made in heaven.