SO/ Paris review: exceptional Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame views with sparkling service

SO/ Paris

This five-star hotel on the north bank of the Seine has been the talk of the town since it opened in 2022. Its prominent location means millions of visitors have looked up at its now-famous restaurant terrace and longed to be there, enjoying a sun-drenched breakfast while gazing out over the city’s rooftops.

Does SO/ Paris live up to the hype? Within seconds of sitting down at one of the coveted tables at sky-high Bonnie restaurant and tucking into a pain au chocolat, you’ll be hooked. You can see around for miles, with the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame punctuating the skyline.

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The rooms and suites are equally stunning, with floor-to-ceiling windows letting in the glorious light for which Paris is famous. South and west-facing rooms have views of the Eiffel Tower, while those on the north side look over Le Marais and the Place de la Bastille. When the sunset is just right, the light hits the gold statue of the Spirit of Freedom figure on top of the July Column at the Bastille, making it glisten.

Middle East Traveller checked in to a Collection Rooftop room at SO/ Paris for a sparkling stay with exceptional views over the city’s most iconic sights.

The Hotel

Middle East readers may know the hotel brand from the Dubai property in the Uptown Tower, but this is the first SO/ hotel in France and one of only four in Europe. SO/ Hotels are a perfect marriage of hospitality and fashion derived through partnerships with designers such as Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, Viktor & Rolf, Guillaume Henry and more.

You might think this property, brought to life by RDAI, the design firm behind the Hermès stores, would have the same pretentious air that often pervades the fashion world but it’s the opposite. The staff are delightfully down-to-earth, from the super-helpful reception and luggage team to the charming waiters and waitresses in Bonnie.

The hotel also boasts a small but perfectly formed Maison CODAGE Spa and gym with views of Paris. Hotel guests have access to the neighbouring fitness centre’s indoor pool. And if you’re a night owl, there’s Bonnie bar and nightclub on the top floor, above the restaurant.

The Arrival

Whatever day you check in at SO/ Paris feels like Fashion Week. The reception staff are très chic, dressed in nautical-themed uniforms designed by Patou fashion house artistic director Guillaume Henry. There are lots of sailor stripes, boatswain jackets and bachi-style pompom bonnets, which reflect the hotel’s proximity to the Seine and the yacht-packed Arsenal basin.

As we were being warmly welcomed, a trio of black-suited girls from a local Chanel branch carried no fewer than eight extra-large bags through the lobby en route to a well-heeled fellow guest.

It all looked a bit staged as they strolled confidently under the fluted white columns that hold up the lobby and past the stunning floral glass artwork that dominates one wall. It was like a pop-up fashion show runway. But the check-in team told me “it happens most days — our guests love fashion”.

We were presented with delicious welcome mocktails, which change seasonally — ours was green tea, lemon and ginger, puréed berries, homemade basil cordial, apple and lime juice, topped with a garden pansy. We sipped these, waiting for the next runway experience to start, and were greeted by one of the hotel’s fabulous concierges, who was to be our personal guide and guru for the next few days. What a welcome.

The Room

SO/ Paris has 140 rooms and 22 suites. At entry-level, Collection rooms are well-sized, but for better views book a Collection Rooftop on one of the higher floors. Iconic Paris Skyline rooms are slightly bigger at 57sqm and take in wider panoramas of the city.

For a splurge, check into one of the two Atelier corner suites, each of which offers double the space and 180o views, one looking north and the other south. Or, go all in and book the SO/ Paris Suite. It takes up a huge corner suite of the 14th floor with unbeatable views of Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower, a spa bathroom with hammam shower, yoga mat and weights, and not one but two balconies.

All rooms and suites are decorated in warm, calming colours. Ours had crimson and peach carpet, matching armchairs, Japanese-style wooden screens and wooden lamps that diffused soft light. Our minibar came with free non-alcoholic drinks, and there was a super-cute, super-cool, black, wireless speaker in the shape of a French bulldog wearing sunglasses.

The Service

Immaculate. Friendly. Welcoming. There are numerous ways to describe the team running SO/ Paris, but above all they are genuine. They were genuinely pleased to welcome us at check-in, eager to help us navigate the hotel and find our way around Paris.

You would expect such efficiency at a hotel of this standing but not, perhaps, the apparent willingness and joy with which it is delivered. No pretensions, no attitude, just classically good service.

Our concierge was super-efficient and charming. She was our guide, information expert and all-round fixer, giving us tips on the best Seine boat tours and snagging us tables at restaurants — even at the famous Le Train Bleu, which is usually booked out for weeks.

The Restaurants and Bars

Breakfast is an event at SO/ Paris, so dress to impress. It happens in Bonnie restaurant which occupies the 15th floor and wraps around the east, west and south flanks of the hotel.

The restaurant is a design delight, with beige, woollen banquettes and mushroom-coloured velvet armchairs, chrome wall lights, an Art Nouveau meets Flower Power carpet and a mirrored ceiling installation called ‘The Seeing City’.

The tables were a bit too close together for our liking, which is fine if you have well-behaved neighbours — the safest option is to get to breakfast early, grab a good table, and soak in the view amid relative quiet before most guests arrive.

We were there during an unusually cold snap in spring, but if it’s warm enough, try to get a table outside. Few things are as thrilling and romantic as having breakfast several hundred feet above the Seine and gazing out over the rooftops of Paris.

The waiters were impeccable and friendly, and the food delicious, especially the Eggs Benedict and the avocado toast with crème fraiche. If you come back for lunch or dinner don’t miss the sea bass fillet with vegetables and smoked broth.

Above the restaurant is Bonnie Bar, which has more mirrors and chrome lights, plus blue, velvet bar stools, a midnight blue carpet and spectacular sunset views over La Bastille. It’s the perfect spot for lobster tacos and a Parisian Rhapsody mocktail with myrtle, fresh mint and lemon.

The Activities

If the rain hits, stay in and hit the Maison CODAGE Spa, which has private treatment rooms and a public hammam. SO/ Paris also has an on-site gym and pool that it shares with a private club.

During sunnier hours, sketch out a walking route to Notre-Dame – it’s less than 1km on foot – or the Institut du Monde Arabe, the fascinating cultural centre dedicated to the Arab world directly over the river.

Just beyond the Institut are the charming restaurants and squares of the Left Bank, and further east is the beautiful Jardin des Plantes, Paris’s botanic gardens, which are a riot of colour from spring through to autumn.

Northwest of the hotel are the winding shopping streets of Le Marais fashion district and if you’d rather see Paris from the water, you can take anything from a private yacht to the brilliant hop-on/hop-off Batobus.

Why Stay?

There’s nothing like SO/ Paris in the city. It’s beautifully designed and chic yet unpretentious, with exceptional views of the city, impeccable service and an all-round great ambience.

Just imagine eating croissants and coffee while gazing out over the rooftops to Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Hotel views don’t get much better than that.

The Essentials

  • Rates: Rates for a Collection Rooftop room in August/September start from €550, excluding taxes — breakfast is €38 per person
  • Phone number: +33 (0)1 78 90 74 00
  • Website:
  • Address: SO/ Paris, 10 rue Agrippa d’Aubigné, 75004 Paris, France