The Lobbyist is a division of JBLY that specifically handles reviews of hotel lobbies and hotel bars. If you’ve got a good suggestion (or, preferably, a bad one) for a place I should visit, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to Hotel Costes, the sluttier Parisian cousin of the Chateau Marmont.
With its shiny, black lacquered façade sitting on Rue Saint Honore, Hotel Costes screams sex – French maid, velvety boudoir, Eyes Wide Shut sex. Once inside, things get even steamier, with dim lighting and drippy chandeliers, plush furniture and beautiful rugs strewn everywhere. I kind of imagine this is the Paris Henry Miller wrote about in Tropic of Cancer, minus all of the starving artist poverty and whores’ flats jumping with bedbugs. So, yeah, maybe not like Tropic of Cancer at all.
Paris Fashion Week. 4 p.m., to be exact. Eva woke me up from a luxurious mid-day nap to meet her PR rep for “lunch.” I’d been once before, around 5 in the morning, after an evening of dancing at a place where a cover band sang late ‘90s classics like Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise” to a room full of drunk Lebanese expats. My friend, drunk but not Lebanese, wanted nothing more in the world than their club sandwich — her intense craving blamed on the addictive precision with which they cut the bread into triangles. “They’re just… so perfect.” And it’s true: The Hotel Costes club sandwich is likely the most beautiful in all of Paris (and it better be for 33 euros).
Thus far, Paris has been a nice change from my life in Brooklyn, schlepping from my quiet apartment to the local grocery store wearing boat shoes with socks from Costco and a pair fat-boyfriend jeans. Here, surrounded by magazine editors and rich young women, I am forced to care, mostly by way of self-shame. I have even ventured to learn how to curl my hair, no small feat for a woman whose “girl card” was recently revoked by a gaggle of gays who stood in horror as they watched me attempt to do my own hair.
Dressed in black tights, a wool APC mini dress, and a pair of Proenza booties, I walk into Hotel Costes confident that I will seamlessly blend into its gorgeous, pretentious décor. Though, from the way the hostess looks me up and down in a way I have never before experienced, accompanied with flared nostrils and a curled lip, I believe my efforts to have been in vain. I do my best to not retort an unprovoked, “Oh, yeah? Well, you look like a goth employee from Hot Topic circa ’97. Bitch.”
To ensure you do not receive similar treatment, I suggest arming yourself to the teeth with Tom Ford, Celine, and maybe some Rick Owens. The hostess will still likely treat you like garbage, but it’s worth a shot.
Hotel Costes is a fascinating mixed bag of old men, young women, and well-dressed everybodies… which I guess is less of a mixed-bag than it is a predictably homogenous fashion stew.
“Our server hates us.”
“Where’s our server?”
“Did they give us the French menu on purpose?”
“I’ll have the agua con gas.”
“Are you coming to the party tonight?”
“Hey, is that… ?”
Eat, Drink, Be Merry or Whatever:
Hotel Costes is part of a tightly bound restaurant group that includes La Societe, L’Avenue, and probably a couple other spots I have not yet been dragged to. They are so tightly bound, in fact, they share the same menu, ensuring that you spend a week shuffling between different locations with the same people, eating the same food, which, while seemingly boring, is probably good for digestion.
In terms of this shared menu, I once “dated” a gentleman who swore by the poached salmon, which I happened to have ordered once but by the time it arrived I was too wasted on champagne to even bother with it. To its credit, however, it did look like salmon and came on a nice, heavy-duty plate.
The food I have managed to eat is serviceable (in the way I find all French food to be serviceable) and typically price-gougey (bring your corporate credit card). If you’re not having a flush year, you can always sit in the courtyard drinking wine and chain smoking cigarettes with everyone else.
The Lobbyist Rating: 5/5 Kate Mosses
Hotel Costes is the people-watching equivalent of Venice Beach, California – if Venice Beach was filled with very thin models, men wearing glasses indoors, and Russian fashion bloggers trailed by an entourage of gay men wearing three-piece suits.
I live for this shit. If I could give it 7 Kates, I would.
(Photo courtesy of Slim Paley)