Set in the arty and bohemian St Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood of Paris, L’Hotel is a luxurious boutique hotel with just 20 bedrooms. It’s associated with Irish playwright and poet Oscar Wilde, who died there in the early 20th century.
L’Hotel will forever be known as the place where Oscar Wilde spent his final days, passing away in one of the hotel rooms in 1900. It was here that Wilde is reputed to have uttered one of his most famous lines, claiming to have been “dying beyond my means” – a typically witty reference to finishing his life in an extravagant hotel he couldn’t afford (the exact text of the quote is disputed, but it’s widely believed that Wilde did say something to this effect, or perhaps even write it on his hotel bill, according to some).
But L’Hotel’s history goes far deeper than just Wilde’s colourful story. Alongside other hotels,L’Hotel claims to be “the world’s first boutique hotel”. Whether or not the boutique claim holds weight, L’Hotel certainly boasts almost 200 years of upscale history as an opulent destination loved by the elite.
The site of L’Hotel is the location of part of La Reine Margot’s 17th century palace, specifically the Pavillon d’Amour (Pavilion of Love). Célestin-Joseph Happe built the hotel in 1828, before it became Hotel d’Allemagne in 1868 and Hotel d’Alsace in 1870. It was still named Hotel d’Alsace when Oscar Wilde died there in 1900. Alongside Wilde, L’Hotel has welcomed many other famous names over the years, including Grace Kelly (Princess Grace of Monaco), Frank Sinatra, Jim Morrison, Elizabeth Taylor and Salvador Dalí.
The room that housed L’Hotel’s most famous guest has been converted into the Oscar Wilde Suite, paying tribute to Wilde’s creative flair and providing a writing desk, in case guests are inspired to pen something themselves. The venue has been given a modern makeover by architect Jacques Garcia, while still resolutely retaining its sumptuous, historical character. The rooms are just as luxurious as you’d expect from somewhere with L’Hotel’s heritage and there’s even a hammam pool and steam room if you can tear yourself away from the gorgeous rooms.
Getting to L’Hotel
The hotel is in St Germain-des-Prés on Rue des Beaux-Arts, found in an area known as the Left Bank of Paris, France. The Louvre art museum is a short walk across the River Seine, while another famous art museum – the Musée d’Orsay – is also nearby. St Germain-des-Prés is also a fantastic area to explore and features numerous cafes, restaurants, bars and shops. There are several bus stops near to L’Hotel, plus the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Metro station five minutes away on foot.