Travel: The Saint James Paris

The Saint James Paris is one of those hotels that is made for the guest seeking the ultimate Parisian experience. Classically French in every sense, from the dramatic chateau entrance and red velvet banquette seating in the main dining room, to the library cozy with leather bound books and top shelf cocktails, it’s a home that feels more appropriate for the French countryside than in the heart of the city of lights, however, that’s exactly where you’ll find yourself upon staying here.

Nestled in around the corner from the Palais de Moderne and down the street from the Arc de Triomphe (in the Sixteenth Arrondissement), the Saint James Paris is almost completely hidden on a corner by high stone walls and an iron gate. Built in the 19th century on the site of Paris’ first aerodrome, it was the neoclassical home of the Thiers Foundation for over a century. Now, it welcomes guests, opening in dramatic fashion to a bourgeois estate befitted with 49 rooms and suites (plus two villas), stunning garden grounds and a boudoir-sized Guerlain spa with turkish baths and treatment rooms eager to soothe away all of your troubles.

Overall, the decor is eccentric yet classic, all thanks to the tasteful hand of Bambi Sloan. There’s a sort of funhouse theme gently celebrated throughout via hot air-balloon wallpaper in the elevators, exotic faux taxidermy and even leopard carpeting within the fine dining restaurant. In the expansive lobby atrium, balus trades and columns painted black and white were inspired by Cecil Beaton’s Royal Ascot costumes for the film version of My Fair Lady while enchanting chandeliers . She takes the property’s past and introduces her design aesthetic to it, preserving the passion for high scholar teachings and grandeur yet creating a bombardment of decorative time periods and ideas that somehow seamlessly meld into a striking display for the eyes to feast upon.

Once checked in, an actual key (that’s right, no electronic cards here) is handed to you on a ring so you can enter one of the custom decorated rooms hidden by heavy red doors. Stunning yet cozy, each space is individually designed to provide a customized ‘home’ to the guests that upon entering is hard to take yourself out of. Themes like Oriental with blue and white porcelain on display, a John Steed room with flannel fabric and bowler hat light fixtures or a ‘winter garden’ suite with an ultra-high glass skylight ceiling, mirrored walls and ivy plants that stands as your dining room while the rooftops of paris are both outside your windows and designed into wall paper that lays as the backdrop for plush velvet furniture.

The garden and terrace is part proper afternoon tea, part fantasy. Perfect for a sun-soaked lunch or an outdoor nightcap, settle into one of the white-painted metal chairs and tables with intricate leaf and floral designs which are juxtaposed by three balloon-shaped pergolas in order to honor the site where Paris’s first hot-air ballooning airfield once stood. The plush greenery stays that way year round thanks to an artificial English grass, and the entire area is kept private for members and hotel guests throughout the day only opening to the public after 7pm and for brunch on Sundays making it feel like your very own backyard (that happens to have a sommelier).

As far as extras are concerned, even though it’s a bit more of a ‘classic’ hotel, the amenities available are plentiful and modern. Sure there’s wifi, dogs are welcomed and you can certainly set up for a day of golf, however, if you’re looking to explore Paris and it’s surroundings on your own book out their electric BMW i3 to create your own adventures.

No matter what it is you’re looking for, book your stay at the Saint James Paris for memories that are sure to last a lifetime.


About the Author

Jillian Magenheim is the Editorial Director and Director of Partnerships for She is also a digital media consultant for various fashion and beauty brands. You can follow her thoughts on Twitter @Magenhaz and on Instagram @jillianrose_m