Wet Your Appetite At Hotel Molitor

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Rarely have we stayed in a hotel with such a fascinating history as the Hotel Molitor in Paris, Piscine Molitor as it is called by the French. Piscine is a French noun meaning “swimming pool” or “fishpond”.

We stayed as guests of the Hotel Molitor earlier this year. We were not financially compensated. Our review depicts our stay and our experience at the hotel, which is completely our own. 

Hotel Moliter Lobby Orchids Paris

The Welcome

When we arrived, our first impression of the beautifully renovated lobby was that this isn’t a typical hotel. The Hotel Molitor is part luxury hotel, part art museum and part club. The dazzling orchids that seemingly float above the check-in station welcome you with their bright pink colors.

Hotel Moliter Rolls Royce

The graffitied Rolls Royce that you can’t miss in the lobby immediately tells you that you’re in for an interesting stay.

Hotel Moliter Lobby Paris 2

The open ceiling exposes the ventilation system and creates a modern, urban construction feel while showcasing more graffiti and art. The hotel is full of artwork of all types. Black and white photos from the 1920s, modern art, and drawings of the hotel in different stages of its long and storied history.

Hotel Moliter Artwork of Pool Paris

Historical Roots

You may remember that the main character from the movie and book Life of Pi was actually named “Piscine Molitor Patel” after this very famous swimming pool in Paris. As the movie portrays, of course, he changed his name to Pi to get away from the often embarrassing pronunciation of his full given name.

Hotel Molitor
Photo Credit Hotel Molitor

That’s just one of the fascinating facts that surround this hotel on the outskirts of Paris. Originally built in 1929 it was designed to look like an ocean liner and adorned with elegant stained glass.  The hotel was opened that year by Olympic athlete and Piscine Molitor lifeguard Johnny Weissmuller. He later went on to become famous as Tarzan in many Hollywood movies. The Molitor became a Paris hotspot teeming with celebrities and stars of the fashion world.

The two large pools were home to many French fashion shows. In fact, the very first bikini was introduced to the world when it was modeled by Micheline Bernardini in 1946 at the Hotel Molitor.  The outdoor pool performed double duty to keep the crowds coming as it was also used as an ice skating rink in the winter. But times and fashion changed, and the Hotel Molitor closed its doors in 1989. For many years it remained in disrepair, but even so, became home to many late-night rave parties thrown by locals. These parties encouraged creative freedom and paved the way for much of the graffiti, which you see in the photo below.

Photo Credit Wikipedia

If you’d like to see more about the Hotel Molitor’s history check out the short video below.

The Rebirth

Later in 1989, a housing project was proposed that would have called for the destruction of the original building.  A group of citizens formed an “SOS Molitor” coalition to save this Paris landmark. Their efforts proved successful and the entire complex was listed on the French Monuments Historiques program. After years of much neglect, damage from weather, vandalism, and lack of maintenance, the complex was put up for bid by the Mayor of Paris.

In 2008 the group Colony Capital-Accor-Bouygues was chosen for the project to give new birth to the property. It was reopened in 2014 to much praise as a 5-star hotel with a restaurant and retail space.

Hotel Moliter Room

The Rooms at Hotel Molitor

The hotel and rooms all feature a sleek modern design that feels comfortable and quiet, just a bit away from the hubbub of the city. As they say, it’s “a place of energy and creativity.”

All rooms are supplied with full bottles of Clarins bath products, which we really enjoyed. Another treat was the warming rack for our bath towels – an extravagance we really enjoy. Nothing says “Ahhh” better than stepping out of the shower and grabbing a warm towel.

Hotel Moliter Bath

Our room had a terrific view of the outdoor pool. Interestingly, looking out the room window did almost make us feel like we were on a luxury ocean liner.

Outdoor Pool At Hotel Molitor

The Pools

The pools are definitely the stars of the Hotel Molitor show. Whether you choose to stay inside or enjoy the outdoor pool you will find them both beautiful and big. You can get some serious laps in or just lounge on the deck with a book and cocktail. The outdoor pool is heated to a comfortable 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Either way, you’ll feel the history and stories surrounding you as you relax and enjoy.

Hotel Moliter Indoor Pool

The Spa by Clarins

The moment you enter the spa you are engulfed in calmness. They offer full beauty services as well as massage, a steam room, a sauna, and an herbal tea room. Clarins products are used throughout the spa.

The Wave Dream room is a unique sensory experience that will take away all the stress and cares of the day. It’s a light show that gently takes you to another world.

Wave Dream at Hotel Molitor
Wave Dream at Hotel Molitor Photo Credit Hotel Molitor

Restaurant at Hotel Molitor Paris

The Tastes

The restaurant inside the lobby offers a full menu that is based on French cuisine. There is also a pool menu that allows you to enjoy the offerings you like by the pool.

Hotel Moliter Pastries

A breakfast buffet complete with fresh baked French pastries is on display every morning. We indulged our tastebuds in the pain au chocolat, which was buttery, crispy, chocolatey, and delicious.

Hotel Bar Hotel Molitor Paris

A lobby bar is centrally located in the hotel and makes for a great place to meet and catch up on the day. Sadly we didn’t get to see the rooftop bar but we hear that it offers an amazing view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower.

Our only regret is that we didn’t have enough time to enjoy all of the many amenities available at the Molitor. We’ll need to schedule another visit to truly relax and enjoy everything!

We really enjoyed our stay at the Hotel Molitor. The staff was extremely friendly and welcoming. From the moment we arrived, we were enchanted by the surrounding art and engaged in learning about the fascinating history of Hotel Molitor. If you’re looking for a unique hotel with an engaging personality all it’s own, we highly recommend a visit and stay at the Hotel Molitor.

Hotel Molitor
Address: 13 Rue Nungess et Coli, 75016

THE QUICK BITE: When the Hotel Molitor opened in 1929 it was the most popular swimming bath in Paris for 60 years. Now it’s an urban oasis just minutes from downtown Paris.

Co-founder of Food Travelist. I love to explore the world and love learning about new places. I'm an eater and I've got a smile for everyone I meet.


  1. OMG that Rolls Royce looks awesome! I love classic cars and this one looks super cool with all the painwork on it!

  2. I love staying in places that have such history! The first bikini… that’s so cool! And i’m glad the food was good too. I could eat pain au chocolat all day!! 😉

  3. This is an interesting hotel. The looks of their hotel lobby is not what we usually see in famous hotels. This is definitely something unique!

  4. Very cool hotel. I love places with a unique story. The Clarins Spa would be perfect right now! I’d definitely use the pool too. I didn’t realise that was the Life of Pi pool. Great post!

  5. I am not a hotel person per se: somehow, most of the times I manage to end up staying in private accommodations. However, this one looks so different. Graffitied Rolls-Royce and variety of artworks? I would have to check it out. I loved reading about Molitor’s cool past. Thanks!

  6. Definitely unique! I don’t know if I’ve come across another hotel with so much fascinating history and so many cool facts! Am definitely adding this to our hotel bucketlist – thanks for the beautiful photos and review. Wish I could jump into the pool right now :D!

  7. What an awesome hotel! I love that it is a luxury hotel with so much art and the spa sounds amazing as well. The design is fantastic and the history is super interesting, too–it’s cool that there were fashion shows by the pool and that it was a hot spot for celebrities! Plus, those croissants look so delicious!

  8. I really like the confluence of history and elegant, unique lodging. I was going to let you know that you spelled “whet” wrong, but “aha!”, I get it. Very clever.

  9. What an interesting history! You’d definitely get me jumping in that beautiful pool straight away!

  10. The transformation of the pool area from covered with street art to such a classy “ocean-liner” view is remarkable. I loved the story of the hotel and love when present carnations of buildings incorporate elements of the past. It certainly adds character, but also builds curiosity and reminds us of how layers upon layers create what we currently see.

  11. Wow this is a really interesting. I would love to check this place out. That car is really funky too.

  12. Looks like an amazing hotel to stay in with a lot of history. The pool and the rolls are great especially the rolls and its paint job. Nothing like some good pastries for breakfast, we love a good European style breakfast

  13. The car— I love it! I totally want to visit! Plus, the styling of the hotel is really beautiful. I hope you get to visit again soon and take advantage of the rest of the amenities!

  14. wow, what a fascinating history, I’ve heard about this place but not it’s remodeled completion….now I really want to stay there and visit Paris again!

  15. You had me at pools and pastries <3 I'd be the laziest person and float around the gorgeous pools all day long then devour the buttery, flakey pastries of France.

  16. I’m rarely interested in a hotel’s past but this was fascinating! Thanks for bringing this property to my attention. Swimming pools draw me so I’m sure I’ll want to stay here the next time I’m in Paria.

  17. OMG, I LOVE this place and would love to visit. I can’t believe what was done to that Rolls Royce! Thank goodness they did renovations and there aren’t any more raves there. The video was really interesting. Sue, you uncovered another unique place and experience….for me!

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