I love Hotels that deliver two things. First, I want to feel at home. Second, I want to feel that I am in a unique place unlike home. Discordant? Possibly but not really. What I am looking for is a place that brings me the coziness and comfort of home but that sizzles my senses in a new and interesting way. The Banke Hotel in Paris does just that. It has a slightly decadent and definitely sexy feel with a lobby deeply in red, a bar that hums and rooms that provide great comfort but also please the contemporary eye.
From the outside, this looks like almost any building in the 9th Arrondissement. In fact, it was a bank at one time. Its well located, just a few blocks from the Paris Opera house, near the main Department Stores of Paris but also a quick walk to the touristic paradise of the Rue de Rivoli in the 1st as well as the hip nightclubs and bars in the 2nd. But, it is the inside that hums. The lobby, as mentioned, is a sexy melange of red and airiness from the above giant skylight. The lobby bar is a celebration of chic adorned in yellow. Even the lobby bathroom has a style sense with snakeskin sinks and toilets. So, the common areas definitely meet my second goal to be in a unique place not quite like home. But, what of the first? That is taken care of by the excellent staff at the front desk–great English for the timid French speaker by the way–dedicated to helping whatever need may arise. They are the kind of staff that recall your name even on a short stay and jump on your requests in a way that doesn’t happen in the larger or chain hotels.
Carrying on the goal of coziness yet style glamour are the rooms. The corner suites (rooms ending in 01 from floor 1 to 6) are splendid and relatively inexpensive as all hotels in Paris must be viewed with some relativity. It is, like New York, simply a pricey city to stay in. The rooms continue the red color scheme and provide both sexiness and warmth. The rooms have all the normal frills but there is something about the room that just works on one’s senses. Beds are comfy, showers large with both rain heads and regular spray. In fact, the bathroom and shower were much larger than most more expensive hotels. The view from the rooms won’t excite–its office buildings–but I barely looked out the window and, in fact, kept the warmth in by keeping the black out drapes closed most of the time to keep the ambiance mine. Keeping in that theme, the hotel isn’t noisy and the cleaning crew makes sure that they don’t bash around in the morning for those who may have stayed out late in the night.
The only fault I found in the hotel was that it was hard to get a taxi at the front door. The doorman works hard but Paris is short on taxis and the street (Rue La Fayette) is not one that they travel down that much. But, there are good taxi stands a block and one half away and if you have them call for a taxi in advance it will be in front of the Banke Hotel at the appointed time.
I booked the Banke only a few days before traveling after perusing my options on TabletHotels.com. I needed four rooms each with a different bed configuration and was successful in aligning my needs with the hotel via the website. Our whole group enjoyed the property a lot and would return. And knowing my friends, that is saying something! My only regret was that I was staying alone in my room. The hotel and my room in particular was just too sensual for that. I guess I have to return as well!
Banke Hôtel, Rue La Fayette, 20, Paris, France 75009 Look for availability at The Banke Hotel on Tablet below.