In this installment of The Palace Paris Hotels, I lead off with a nice intro from francetoday.com, which includes a nearly complete roster of the exalted fraternity of Paris Palace Hotels. I also include three additional names for you.
Are you aware that France is home to a hotel category so prestigious it merits its own distinction? Above and beyond the five-star hotel, the “Palace” is an exceptional property recognized for its architectural heritage, service, design, gastronomy, and unrivalled geographic location. What the palaces embody is a certain “art de vivre” unique to Paris and renowned around the world.
About France, France’s Agency for Tourism Development, launched the “Palace” label in November 2010 to distinguish these magnificent hotels. The label lasts for a period of five years, after which, if standards are met, it can be renewed. Today there are 12 Palaces in Paris. (11 official, plus my addition of the unofficial Paris Ritz)
The Paris Ritz
It is my understanding (directly from Ritz staff) that, after its recent and much delayed opening, the Paris Ritz was once again admitted to” the club.” The Ritz declined, however, desiring to be free of certain restraints required by the French Agency for Tourism. Debbie and I have stayed at the newly opened Paris Ritz, with its luxurious attention to detail and impeccable service. The friendly staff makes you feel like you have stayed there since early childhood days. We enthusiastically label the Paris Ritz a Palace. If not, there is no sense bothering with the designation at all. And no, on an early visit, we felt the food scene was not up to speed and the staff was still working out hiccups. But that is often expected during an extended opening shakeout. The location and setting on Place Vendôme makes the Ritz iconic Right Bank. And who wouldn’t enjoy a cocktail in Bar Hemingway, where the ghosts of Paris past still linger? That is, if you are lucky enough to secure a seat. The guestrooms have been renovated with a maximum in classic old-line good taste and elegance. Place the Ritz on your short list. Debbie and I will return to the Ritz and will report in to you in an upcoming Paris Palace Hotels post.
Hotel de Crillon
Recently reopened after a four-year renovation, the historic building housing the Hotel de Crillon is sumptuous to a fault, which marginalizes any hesitation about the busy location on Pace de la Concorde. Once inside the hotel, muted pastels and clean lines lull guests in an oasis of serenity. The hotel is priced to match Paris Palace hotels, among the world’s most expensive when it comes to luxury. One of its unique standouts among other Palaces is having butlers assigned to each guestroom. Another is the transformation of two rather dingy internal courtyards into leafy garden spaces used for afternoon tea or dining from the brasserie. The hotel’s two young women sommeliers do an impressive job. A thoughtful and fascinating tour of the wine cellar left us flabbergasted! OK then, the Crillon most definitely belongs on your short list.
Read more about Crillon here.
Hooray. The beloved historic Lutetia is taking reservations for it’s grand mid-May reopening. As the website announces, “The Story of Lutetia Is the Story of Paris.” From the drawings I have seen, the top-down multi-year makeover looks elegant and deserving of a Palace designation. Debbie and I cannot wait to book. We will certainly be on the property for a complete introductory tour when we return to Paris next month. One of our best friends will be returning to Lutetia in his concierge post, so we will be fortunate to have a Lutetia insider to get us up to speed on all the exciting developments. I project that within a year or so Hotel Lutetia will apply for and receive a Palace designation. If things go as expected, we’ll be able to introduce to you Paris’s only Left Bank Palace. Exciting.
Below is the full list of Palaces. Enjoy!
- Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
- Hôtel Plaza Athénée
- La Réserve Paris
- Hôtel Le Bristol Paris
- Le Meurice Hotel
- Mandarin Oriental, Paris
- Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme
- Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris
- Shangri-La Hôtel
- Le Peninsula Paris
- Hotel de Crillon
- Paris Ritz (our add on)
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