Maison Albar Hotels Le Vendome review: discover Paris’ hidden gems from a perfect base

Five-star hotel is located steps away from the Opéra Garnier and Place Vendôme

Maison Albar Hotels Le Vendome is within walking distance of all the main tourist destinations
Maison Albar Hotels Le Vendome is close to the main tourist destinations
(Image credit: K Pictures/Stefan Kraus)

Whenever I visit Paris one of my priorities is to have a good magret de canard for dinner. Duck tastes better in Paris: the atmosphere of the city permeates the fat; the nonchalant chic of her inhabitants is infused in the sauce.

Despite this clearly being romanticised nonsense which I have completely imagined, when I explained it to Romaine – the friendly and knowledgeable concierge at Maison Albar Hotels Le Vendome – she did not bat an eyelid at my silliness. Instead she made a quick, discrete phone call and within two minutes informed me I had a reservation that evening to eat what she assured me was “the best duck in the city”. She was right.

There are 51 rooms and suites at Maison Albar Hotels Le Vendome

There are 51 rooms and suites at Le Vendome
(Image credit: Maison Albar Hotels)

Why stay here?

In addition to the thoughtful personal touches and impressive local knowledge of the staff, the location of Maison Albar Hotels Le Vendome makes it an ideal choice for exploring Paris. Found in the heart of the 9th arrondissement, in the Opéra district, you are within walking distance of all the main tourist destinations. The hotel itself is set behind a wood-panelled façade dating from the late 1880s – a remnant of the building’s previous incarnation as Le Lyon d’Or, one of Paris’ original cabaret restaurants – but once inside the aesthetic is sharp and modern.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The Golden Lion homage continues throughout the décor, with sculptures in the public areas and motifs on each room door paying tribute to the legacy. There is a relaxed elegance to the lobby and lounge; plush velvet furniture makes for comfortable spaces to sit with a coffee and plan your day. Rooms are kitted out with opulent marble bathrooms and cutting-edge technology – they’re not huge, but generous by central Paris standards. Space is at a premium in this city, and many other hotels in the area have sacrificed an extra metre here and there to squeeze in more than the 51 rooms and suites found at Maison Albar Hotels Le Vendome.

Descending the stairs from the lobby to the lower ground – the stairwell itself is another restored period feature, with beautiful mosaic work originally installed when the property housed the Russian Bank for Foreign Trade in the 1930s – leads us to a fitness centre and spa. Parisian luxury cosmetics brand Carita provides the massage treatments, and the pool is set under a huge skylight. The ability to enjoy a swim under natural light is a rare treat in this part of town, and the perfect way to energise the body in the morning.

Yakuza Paris serves exciting Japanese cuisine blended with European flavours

Yakuza Paris serves exciting Japanese cuisine blended with European flavours
(Image credit: Marco Strullu)

Eating and drinking

At the heart of the hotel is Yakuza Paris by celebrated Portuguese chef Olivier Da Costa. The restaurant serves an exciting and intriguing array of Japanese cuisine blended with south European flavours. Guests are offered the option of sitting around the open kitchen, allowing them to marvel at the knife skills of the team as they prepare the fresh sushi as well as having their selections personally presented and explained by the chefs. This approach offers an interesting insight into the thought behind the pairings, making the dining experience feel a little more collaborative and personal. Highlights include the nigiri engawa and taco sakana.

Yakuza Paris is also where breakfast is served each morning, with the option of eating al fresco in the Kyoto Garden if weather permits. The garden is an excellent use of the vestibule at the centre of the building, and the wind chimes ringing out delicately from the trees make this space a peaceful oasis at any time of day.

Outside of the hotel’s walls, the streets of the surrounding area offer plenty of options at all levels of the gastronomic pyramid. That magnificent duck located for me on the first night was only ten minutes’ walk away at French Paradox in the Passage des Panoramas. Classic Parisian cafés are all around, but Café de la Paix has the best view of the Opéra; if that’s a little too tourist-obvious, try Chez Marianne on Boulevard des Italiens for a bit more local atmosphere.

The Spa Vendome has a partnership with luxury brand Carita

The Spa Vendome has a partnership with luxury brand Carita
(Image credit: K Pictures/Stefan Kraus)

What to do

If a massage and swim in the spa followed by a tranquil tea in the garden haven’t quite filled enough of your day, a stroll through the local architecture surely will. The Opéra Garnier next door is one of the most spectacular buildings in a city known for grandeur, but it is far from the only gem within walking distance of Le Vendome. A short stroll to the east brings you to the smaller and lesser known, but similarly impressive, Opera Comique. Boulevard Haussmann is home to Les Grands Magasins – the famous department stores of Paris – and following this street to the west will see you arrive in short order to l’Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées. Just ten minutes’ walk south from the hotel, down Rue de la Paix and past the magnificent Vendôme itself, will bring you to Rue de Rivoli and all the globally-significant museums and galleries which surround it.

Paris is a city filled with cultural opportunities and hidden gems to discover. The location of Le Vendome makes it the perfect launchpad from which to uncover as many of them as possible; the comprehensive knowledge and personal attention to detail of its team will help you find some you never even knew existed. This is a young hotel occupying a grand old Parisian building, and this blend of sleek modernity and classic charm creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. You will be glad to treat it as your second home while you seek out facets of the French capital previously only known to residents.

Rooms at the Maison Albar Hotels Le Vendome start from £354 on a B&B basis. 7 rue du Helder, 75009 Paris, France;

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.