Best of the Best 2012: Hotels: Mandarin Oriental, Paris

Location is not everything at Mandarin Oriental, Paris (+, www.mandarinoriental.com), but the modern eight-story retreat is certainly well situated in the City of Light. The hotel’s address along rue Saint-Honoré—between Chanel and Place Vendôme—is convenient to premier shopping grounds and to such requisite stops as the Louvre, the Tuileries Palace, and the Paris Opéra. Entered from the bustling boulevard, the Mandarin Oriental’s Art Deco–influenced facade gives way to theatrical interiors and gardens by Sybille de Margerie. The designer’s signature butterflies are embroidered into plush carpets in the 138 guest rooms, and they adorn wall coverings in the seven-treatment-room spa. The atmosphere at Bar 8—enhanced by twinkle lights and walls dotted with Lalique crystals—presents a sharp contrast to the serene, white-on-white ambience at Sur Mesure, the fine-dining restaurant led by Bordeaux transplant Thierry Marx. Try Marx’s reinvented French classics, served on haute white-gold-and-porcelain dinnerware. ($1,241–$26,269)

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