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This Month’s Hottest Hotels

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BUDDHA-BAR HOTEL
Paris

BACKSTORY: This hotel only opened its doors in June, but has already established itself as one of the French capital’s most popular exotic accommodations. The property is housed in a sumptuous 18th-century mansion commissioned by avid art collector (and royal entertainment manager for Louis XV) Augustin Blondel de Gagny.

DESIGN NOTES: With the red lanterns and fiery dragons, the overall theme here is a romantic vision of 1930s Shanghai. But designer FranÇois Wepler has shown little regard for the unities of time and space—as evidenced by the combination of hi-tech Japanese Toto commodes and unabashedly Baroque moldings.

ROOM WITH A VIEW: The historic Suite de Gagny, located on the second floor, has a full balcony overlooking the swanky shops of the Eighth Arrondissement and the swanky people who frequent them. Alternatively, stay in your room and gawp at the flamboyant frescoes, Asian ornaments and ostentatious chandeliers looming above it all. Liberace would love it.

BEST PLACE TO HANG OUT: The courtyard, a former parking lot for horse-drawn carriages, is now a place for guests to linger over coffee while admiring the topiary. In the evening, by lantern light, those same guests dine on the contemporary French cuisine of restaurant Le Vraymonde to the strains of soft Buddha-Bar lounge music.

SIGNATURE COCKTAIL: Not surprisingly given the brand, the bar here, Le Qu4tre Lounge, presents not one but 12 signature cocktails. Inspired by the four elements—L’Eau, L’Air, La Terre and Le Feu—they can’t be found at any other Buddha-Bar. A big hit is the Oh My Dog, gin infused with white pepper and pomegranate liquor.

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