Established in 1928, the hotel reopened in late 2010 after a 28-month refit intended to rekindle the glamorous reputation of its glory days, when the likes of Josephine Baker, Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway, Ravel, Man Ray and other assorted Dadaists and Surrealists frequented it.

On avenue Hoche, which runs from the Arc de Triomphe to the Parc Monceau in the 8th arrondissement. The Champs-Elysées and rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré are a short walk away.

In a word: arty. In keeping with the ethos of the outliers of the avant-garde who once hung out here, Philippe Starck has created a succession of fantastical, opulent interiors, filled with his signature chandeliers and Venetian mirrors. On the ground floor there’s not just a bar and two restaurants, but an art gallery curated by Hervé Mikaeloff, the man responsible for the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, an excellent art bookshop and a team of ‘art concierges’ to advise on exhibitions. (The one I consulted, Julie, was an art-history PhD student.) There’s also a concept store selling fashion, accessories from the rooms such as the satin eiderdowns that lie on every bed, and even €175,000 Zaha Hadid chairs.

Comfortably surreal. Structurally, the building’s glories are its majestic wrought-iron staircase and landscaped interior courtyard. But, as Flaubert put it, God is in the detail: in the superb panels of shellwork by artist Thomas Boog that decorate Il Carpacccio restaurant; in the herd of horned animal models by Nikolay Polissky at the foot of one of the staircases; in the naturally lit, 28-metre swimming pool, which forms the centrepiece of the vast, white, Starck-designed Clarins spa.

Which room to book
The hotel has 64 suites and 85 spacious rooms, all quintessentially Starck and more or less the same.Devotees of feng shui may feel uncomfortable that the beds have their backs to the entrance and face huge mirrors, behind which TVs are concealed. If that’s an issue, the understated yet supremely glamorous suites are more conventionally laid out. The Parisian, up under the eaves on the top floor, is probably the most enchanting.

With master of macaroons Pierre Hermé behind the desserts, you’d be forgiven for thinking Le Royal Monceau-Raffles had gastronomic ambitions. But, in fact, its two restaurants, La Cuisine (French) and Il Carpaccio (Italian), favour good rather than fancy cooking, even if meat eaters are presented with a case of knives so they can select the optimum implement with which to cut their steak.

In short
Eccentric and not for everyone, this is a superbly run, super-stylish hotel: soigné, sophisticated and utterly romantic. There’s no denying that it is preposterously pretentious (the disembodied poetry recordings you hear in the lift verge on spooky, at least at night), but it has terrific panache. And, for the moment, there’s no Paris hotel I would rather stay at.