From the moment you step through the door, you know this is no place for the bashful.
Decked in rich deep plum and dripping with avant-garde chandeliers, the atrium at the Banke creates the sensation of having walked into a giant’s jewellery box. Sunlight filters through the glass ceiling even in the midst of a Parisian winter and both heels and wheels make a pleasing clack on the mosaic tiled floor.
Rooms follow the indulgent design further, with thick maroon curtains, black lined frames, velveteen sofas and gilded wall-mounted antlers. On appearance alone, it’s hard to believe this is only a four star hotel.
It lives in a handy part of Paris, just moments from Boulevard Haussman and the Galeries Lafayette. (And although the route looks easy, let me tell you from personal experience that it really is too far to walk from international rail hub the Gare du Nord.)
Breakfast isn’t really in fitting with the place, served underground in a bright, white, simplistic setting with a modest self-service buffet, and the gym is unassuming as well.
For all the rhythms of Paris, as part of the Derby Hotel Collection, Banke has a distinctly Spanish flavour. Alongside cod and bean salads, there’s Catalan sausage and acorn-fed ham with white truffle oil, caramelised cod and infusions of Tio Pepe sherry. Meanwhile, the Lolabar, just across from the Josefin restaurant, serves patatas bravas, Cantabrian anchovies and paprika pork sandwiches from the island of Majorca.
It turns out, of course, that there’s a reason for all this. The owners hail from the Iberian Peninsula.
All together, it’s a beautiful find, a place where the little things are treated like big things: free wifi, great service, and an approachable and useful concierge.
What I loved
The feeling of opulence and style. It’s the decor you’d never dare to have at home.
The location in the Opera district. Easy to see the rest of the city, to feel part of the city, and yet to feel far from the tourist scrums.
Free wifi throughout
What to know
The walkway from the door to the reception splits the bar and restaurant into two.
The food isn’t French. It’s excellent and it roams across Spain but if you’ve set your heart on a “French” weekend in Paris then this isn’t going to fit the bill.
It’s a place for luxurious refinement, not for hunching over a desk. In other words, get ready to balance that laptop on your knees…
94 rooms: 15 single rooms, 40 double rooms, 13 executive rooms, 9 deluxe rooms and 17 suites
Marble-trimmed bathrooms with showers and baths
Flat screen TV
Air conditioning and heating
Safe with space for a laptop
All rooms non-smoking
24 hour room service
Derby Hotels Collection, Small Luxury Hotels of the World Collection
Doubles from £175/night