SO/ Paris, a New Hotel, Has the City’s Best View newsusface

On the ride into Paris from the airport, you could be forgiven, if, in a moment of panic you ignore the signs in French and fear grips your heart that you’re in the wrong place. After all, many of the outer neighborhoods ringing Paris have little, if any, of the historic architecture countless millions hold dear.

All of a sudden, though, you cross a line and the Paris your mind accepts as the one true Paris appears. All is well.

Now, one of Paris’s coolest new hotels is right inside that line, a position, it turns out, which affords what might be the best views anywhere in the French capital. That hotel, the SO/ Paris, is the latest selection for Room Key, our column on exciting new hotels.

With its height, the SO/ Paris is an island of sorts on the right bank, which is fitting since it sits on the former Île Louviers, one of the many islands that once dotted the Seine in Paris. In the 1840s the gap between this island and the mainland was filled in, and in the 1960s a piece of the land was developed into a massive H-shaped modernist complex for the city government of Paris. Today, it’s perched between what was once one of the city’s edgiest neighborhoods, the Marais, and one of its more popular for younger denizens, Bastille. It’s also a mere two minute walk from the lost-in-time Île Saint-Louis. A number of the hotel’s 162 bedrooms–spread out on floors 7-14 of the building–look out over the Hôtel Lambert, the city’s most expensive home which last sold for a reported $226 million.

The hotel is part of Ennismore Group, which also has popular hotel brands like 21C, 25h, Mama Shelter, and Hoxton under its umbrella. The SO/ hotels are supposed to be fashion-forward, which makes sense since nearly every influence attending shows at the most recent Paris fashion week seemed to be staying or hanging out here. Walking inside, the hotel has that slick retro-futurist aesthetic redolent of a Standard Hotel that leans into its 1960s origins. The floors are terrazzo with marble inserts and you traverse an arcade of mushroom columns set within walls clad in amber glass.

The beauty of Paris needs no defender, but its palette is often a Foster + Partners-esque array of grays and blues. The rooms at the SO/ Paris provide the pop, while still allowing the river and city to play star. The carpet in our room was segmented into sections of bright blues and yellows which played off the variety of textures found in the room–wood, leather, metalwork, and iridescent bathroom mosaic tiles. While some sadists in the design office of corporate hotel groups decided over the last decade to give us bathrooms with barn or glass doors, not only is the bathroom door at the SO/ an actual door, but a gloriously heavy and thick one.

Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, there’s a chance during your time in Paris you’ll still find yourself in its halls. That’s because on its roof is the restaurant and club Bonnie, touted as the only glassed-in rooftop club in the whole city. Not only is the entire city–the historic and the rising new neighborhoods ringing it–splayed out in a dizzying array perfect for a game of “I Spy,” but running along the ceiling is an installation from the artist Olafur Eliasson called The Seeing City which reflects the city throughout. The space was designed by Jordane Arrivetz, the former artistic director of Costes Group, and features a very disco-era kaleidoscopic carpeting to enhance the trippiness of it all.

The SO/ also has a spa from Maison Codage, the French cosmetics company, which offers face and body treatments. And the large indoor pool and gym within the complex are also available for guests.

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