Step through the ornate gates on Place Chancelier Adenauer and you’ll find yourself in the manicured gardens of Saint James Paris, a neoclassical manor house turned boutique hideaway in the 16th arrondissement, where nature takes centre stage. Formerly the headquarters of a foundation for promising students, established by the widow of French President Adolphe Thiers in 1892, Saint James is now home to 50 exquisite rooms and suites, lovingly appointed by Parisian designer Laura Gonzalez in a recent top-to-toe makeover.
The natural surroundings of the 5,000-square-metre walled garden influenced every step of the redesign: high ceilings and spacious rooms allow nature to enter the building at every turn, creating an indoor-outdoor ambiance decorated in a palette of greens, yellows, pinks and blues and furnished with décor that blends Art Deco style, oriental aesthetics and contemporary touches.
Landscape architect Xavier de Chirac reimagined the outdoor spaces during the 18-month renovation, doing away with much of driveway and returning it to nature. A winding promenade leads visitors around bucolic gardens filled with plants and winter-blooming flowers, where beehives buzz and chefs potter around greenhouses searching for ingredients destined for Bellefeuille restaurant.
Chef Julien Dumas leads the brigade at this winter-garden themed venue, where a seasonal menu celebrates fresh seafood and vegetables, many of which are grown at the hotel’s organic garden on the outskirts of Paris. The outdoor terrace is one of the summer season’s most appealing spots for al fresco dining, and during the winter, the Library Bar is a cosy spot to hunker down amid the leather-bound books, soft velvet and time-worn leather for a warming cocktail.