Rates: from €200 per night
Added extras: the works of art in the corridor
Services: wifi, restaurant and bar
If sleeping in a bank sounds weird, don't worry - there are no carpet tiles or pens screwed to the table at the Hôtel Banke. This swish establishment occupies the former HQ of the CCF bank, a magnificent early 20th-century building designed by Paul Friesse and Cassien Bernard in the 'Eiffel style' - under the pastiche of its Pompeian red galleries and soaring glass ceiling there is actually an iron frame.
Located in the Opéra area, the hotel (which was taken over by Catalan chain Derby Hotels in 2009) feels more like a theatre than a bank. The lobby is as Instagrammable as it gets: an enormous golden chandelier, a nineteen metre-high glass roof, black columns, mouldings and cornices. With red ochre tones, it is dotted with gigantic furniture like Chesterfield sofas in matt gold leather. The result is exuberant, kitsch and surprisingly effective.
While some of the executive rooms may seem expensive, the quality is high – from the parquet floors, Byzantine mosaics in the bathroom and luxurious taffeta bedspreads. Even better – on the first floor, there’s a round suite with a beautiful marble fireplaces and Haussmannian luxury mouldings. A special mention go the corridors, which are filled with art from all over the world – China, Africa, America…
The restaurant, Josefin, serves sophisticated Catalan dishes with a selection of good Spanish wines. The menu includes dishes like lobster carpaccio, Iberian ham with artichoke and a selection of seafood with fresh green beans. Decor is incredible with ‘ghost’ Philippe Starck stools and ‘smoke’ chairs by Mooi. There is no doubt about this one, this four-star hotel deserves a fifth.