LE GRAND HOTEL BARRIERE
ENGHIEN LES BAINS, FRANCE
LUCIEN BARRIERE GROUP
From my previous articles on the hotels in the Lucien Barriere group, you can see that I am a great fan and also pretty loyal to them if they have a hotel in the towns I go to. I particularly love taking a break at either Hotel Du Lac or Le Grand Hotel Barriere in Enghien les Bains. I am based in Paris, so after each round of work during the fashion weeks or in TV productions, I love to just jump in a car and drive 40 minutes to a whole different area. You would never think that this town is that close to Paris, it’s 10 minutes by train from the center. Arriving here, you see a big lake with fountains, birds, kayaks and other small boats in it as well as a casino and the 2 hotels. Also the main street in town has many cute shops. One of my main reasons for coming though is SPARK, a huge fitness, spa and Thalasso complex. Both the fitness area and the pools have a beautiful view of the lake and it’s a perfect place to relax and to get away from stress.
I usually stay at Hotel du Lac as I found “secret” rooms there I really like. I’ve only stayed at Le Grand Hotel Barriere one time. The manager of Hotel du Lac had told me that if I wanted to book I could call him directly as he knows my favourite rooms in that hotel. I called him with a last minute request saying I could be there in 40 minutes as I had not expected to have to check out from another hotel in the centre of Paris as they were fully booked. He told me that the rooms I liked were all full, but he topped his hospitality by offering me the superior suite in Le Grand Hotel Barriere for the same price. I have been told not only by staff members, but by other people that out of both hotels, room 311 in Le Grand Hotel is the absolute best one. So of course I was happy with the offer and it’s one of the reasons that I stay loyal to the Lucien Barriere group. They are very accommodating and treat the members of Infinite Barriere with a heightened level of hospitality.
Although Le Grand Hotel has a less modern decor than Hotel Du Lac, suite 311 was tastefully decorated in a comfortable 50 m2, with a long balcony facing the lake and casino and another window facing the entrance of the hotel. The layout of the suite is quite interesting as you come in and on the left you have the guest toilet and on the right you have your walk in closet, that you can pass through straight into a rain shower and with another semi transparent door, you pass into the master bathroom. The master bathroom includes a black and white design bath tub that is a good size, but most convenient are the wide ledges that you can perch your products on, your candles and even a laptop if you want to watch a film or play music.
The master bathroom then has two frosted sliding doors that lead out to the main area facing a king size bed, pillow service included with options like “relaxation pillow”, “anti-allergy pillow”, “ergonomic pillow” and “natural pillow”. They are all described in detail on the pillow service menu next to the bed. It’s good to have these options as at a first try the pillows are made with down feathers, which most people don’t react to, but personally I can’t sleep on my side on that kind of pillow as I can feel the prickliness of the feathers on my cheeks. Also in the evening a staff member doing turn-down service came around with a Fouquet’s sleep spray. Fouquet, by the way, is the name of one of the Barriere groups hotels and restaurant in Paris. It is as well the label of their scent brand which includes perfumes. The rest of the living area includes an office space, coffee machine, flat screen TV, lounge area, mini bar and a selection of coffee and tea.
It will take you some time to explore all areas as the suite is filled with drawers and cupboards with no indication of where you find the usual hotel amenities. I found the hair dryer in one of the drawers in the walk in closet as well as the slippers, dry cleaning service essentials and shoe horn. I went around all the drawers and cupboards to find all I needed, and I am not exaggerating by saying that there are around 50 drawers here. The pieces of gold I found on my raid here is the large portable mirror on the office desk as I miss that in hotels all the time. You can move it around to do your daytime make up and not have to be in the bathroom light or on your tiny mirrors from your eye shadow palette. Also, I love the fact that they have gummy crocodiles in the mini bar. But here is my best find, not only for this hotel, but it might be the best find I ever had in a hotel – it’s not the most expensive one, gift bag wise, but it’s probably the one I have been most obsessed with.
Diane Barriere has created a line of perfumes and I’ve seen them displayed when I check in at hotels. I’ve never really thought too much of it as I have my signature scent. But as there was a perfume bottle in the bathroom of Fouquet’s “Fugue A Paris”, I had to smell it. To be honest, I had very low expectations as usually when I receive perfumes in gift bags they just don’t fit me at all. But a whiff of this scent and I just needed to spray it on myself, it was intoxicating. And as no two people smell the same with the same perfume I needed to smell it on my skin and see how it would smell after 30 minutes too. The results of this was ridiculous as I was walking around the suite for ages just smelling my wrists, the perfume is the best I have smelled in my life! No two people are alike when it comes to scents, so it might not be the best one for everyone, but for me that was spot on. So I’ve decided I have to stock up on that one in case it goes out of production.
The restaurant and room service have more interesting offers than its neighbouring hotel, but in the end I went with room service of Moules Marinières with French fries. It was not the most exciting offer on the menu, but I hadn’t eaten all day and had a craving for it. They weren’t the freshest on the planet, but they did the trick. After, I just indulged in the peaceful atmosphere of this place, sprayed some more of the Fouquet’s sleep spray onto the bed, crawled under the sheets and fell asleep like a baby.
by @xmaiki, Photos by C. Wai