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August 1 will be a big day in Paris: not only is Peninsula Hotels finally opening its rather grand entry into Europe, the Plaza Athénée will start welcoming guests again after a closure of just under a year.
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We’ve all had those days while traveling overseas when you can’t quite get the gumption to leave your cozy hotel world and explore the greater world outside. We recently had one of those days while staying at the celeb hangout, Fouquet’s Barrière in Paris (a Luxury Hotels of the World property), and have put together a list of things to do if agoraphobia hits you too.
1) Food glorious food: Fouquet’s has five restaurants and three bars, not too shabby considering the hotel has only 81 rooms. Our favorite places to hang out were at Le Bar Marta, with its black and white 1930s Hollywood glam design and La Petite Maison de Nicole because, heck, if it’s good enough for Jay-Z and Beyoncé, it’s good enough for us. The food at La Petite Maison is best-described as gourmet southern France comfort food. That means Macaroni with Truffles and Provençal Ratatouille. If you go on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening you can groove with one of the resident DJs.
2) Shop at the front desk: There is no reason you can’t still shop if you don’t leave the hotel. If you’d like to buy the monogrammed robe you can certainly do that, but you’ll also find five proprietary perfumes, yo-yos, aprons, pencil sets and Panama hats. Some products are on display throughout the lobby, some in your room, and some are found at the front desk.
Three more tips below!
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Last week, we gave you ideas for things you can do at Four Seasons George V if you can’t afford the pretty penny it costs to stay there, but still want a piece of that luxury pie. Now we’re going deeper inside to give you a peek at one of the coveted suites at the hotel – Suite 335.
Suite 335 is a Four Seasons Suite, the lowest rung on the suites ladder at George V. After it comes the Deluxe, Premier, Duplex, and Empire Suites, and all the way up to the Penthouse Suite. The Four Seasons Suites are not to be scoffed at, however, as runts of the litter, for they range in size from 650-750 sq ft and have the old-world elegance found throughout George V plus all of the mod-cons you need to carry on with your daily life.
Plenty of pics below!
Already, the pending arrival of the Peninsula Paris has other luxury hotels in town shaking in their fashionable, custom-made boots.
Yet while the Concorde Paris Opera isn't quite on the same luxe level as the Shangri-La, The Mandarin Oriental or the George V, the hotel has decided to take on a rather expensive makeover, to the tune of $50 million. After which, it will also turn into a Hilton. The Hilton Paris Opera to be precise. (We covered the Concorde rebranding news here.)
First signs of the new look should debut in September with the finished product, which is being overseen by Parisian based ERTIM Architects in collaboration with Richmond International of London, to be ready by early next year. The hotel will remain open throughout the construction but in the end, all 268 rooms will be made over and a new bar will be introduced. Here are the details:
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Paris is crazy expensive, especially when you get into the five-star hotel world, but who doesn't want a hit of that kind of luxe?
Here's how to get your glam on at one of the most iconic hotels in all of hoteldom without having to spend the night: the Four Seasons George V in Paris where rooms start at 1,000 Euros a night. Your bank account will thank us.
1. Cocktails at Le Bar: Fresh off a renovation, Le Bar is the cheapest, er, easiest way to take in the ambiance of the George V. We recommend the George Fizz champagne cocktail for 28 EUR ($38) because hello, it's champagne. Mixed with fresh strawberries, raspberries and orange juice, as well as guava juice, we thought it had more than enough vitamins and phyto-nutrients to cancel out the alcohol.
Nearly ten years in the making, Peninsula Paris will finally have its first regular guests file through the doors on Friday, August 1. We spent a few hours last week exploring what those premiers clients can expect for the nearly $1,000 (€695) a night and up they will be spending on one of the hotel’s 200 rooms and suites under the “Avant-Première” opening offer.
Room-wise, the lead-in rate that’s (for now) just shy of four digits puts you in the Superior category, which comes in at 35 sq m (375 sq ft) with either King or Queen Bed. All rooms come with a separate dressing area, marble bathrooms, free WiFi and long-distance VOIP calls, and proprietary in-room tablets in 11 languages. More space is available in four steps towards a Grand Premier Room, which adds an additional €1,000 ($1,370) to the nightly bill. As we’ve said before, Parisian Palace Hotels aren’t for the faint of heart.
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Now that the word is out regarding the sale of the Mondrian Soho to the Buddha-Bar Hotel Collection owner, Gerard Guez, we thought you might like to have a peek at the fairly-new Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris (opened as a Preferred Boutique Hotel in June 2013) to get an idea of what all the brouhaha is about regarding these properties in Paris, Prague and Budapest.
The 56-room Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris is located right in the fashion heart of the 8th arrondissement (and is often used in fashion shoots), just off Faubourg Saint-Honoré but, when you enter, you feel as if you’re not in Kansas (or Paris) anymore. All looks standard-issue Paris on the outside of the 1734 building, but step inside to face the 120 red-glass lanterns hanging at the entrance, and you imagine that you’ve been thrown into the movie classic, “Shanghai Express.”
With just a hint of opium-den design, the hotel and its rooms are full of mahogany wood, red or black lacquered doors and tabletops, golden brown or yellow walls and carpets, and grey or red sofas and chairs. Greeting you in the lobby, besides the Buddha-like black cat, is the Chinese Dragon woven into the carpet – a motif you’ll find throughout the hotel – as the official protector of travelers to this, and other, foreign lands.
Have a look at the photo gallery!
Even capricious Paris was on best behavior yesterday for the preview of its latest palace hotel arrival, framing The Peninsula Paris with blue skies, cotton clouds and a blazing summer sun. Now five weeks away from official opening on August 1, we had a chance to peek inside the spectacularly restored 1908 grand hotel on Avenue Kléber – above in an official early evening photograph showing off its scale and symmetry in a way that the former makes difficult to capture closer up.
There are no room types, of course, but cushy furniture and fittings, multicultural plugs and sockets, and a Samsung tablet to control everything in the room all get a thumbs up. Triple glazing means you get to enjoy watching the planes without hearing them, and Vitra furniture (and floating zeppelins in the lobby) means you get to sit around in style. It’s walking distance from Terminal 3, or 20 minutes from T2.
Prices this week look pretty decent – ranging from €67.15 ($90) to €109.65 ($150), with the rest of the month looking steady at the €75 mark and the entire month of August at €67. Note that these are “citizens only” rates – sign up to their mailing list and you automatically get 15% off and free cancellation until 6pm day of arrival. Très handy.
Summer in Paris. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? Well if your travels take you there, make a pit stop at the outdoor terrace at Le Lucien Bar at Fouquet's Barrière and order the Bombay Fouquet’s cocktail.
And here's why: For the (rather expensive) price of 27 EUR ($36) for a cocktail you're also getting a taste of the true Parisian luxury lifestyle without going the distance and spending the (very expensive) price of 690 Euros ($940) for a room. And there's no time limit. We sipped on that cocktail and munched on the addictive cashews with fresh truffles for a good two hours before we decided to get up and go about our day.
But back to the fancy pants drink itself. Concocted by head bartender Stéphane Ginouvès, voted France’s Best Barman in 2011, the cocktail consists of Bombay Sapphire gin, Martini Bianco, fresh lemon juice, raspberry puree, passion fruit juice and for that French “je ne sais quoi” kick: fresh basil. It was juicy and refreshing, rosy-hued and frothy, and just screamed summer.
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It turns out, The Beatles made the George V their home base when they were in Paris in 1964. A piano was actually installed in one of the suites and this is where John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote, "I Feel Fine." (This story we knew, the hotel we did not.) That moment was captured by photographer Harry Benson.
Benson also encouraged the lads to have a pillow fight in the room and his pictures of the Fab Four in 1964 are now iconic shots of the boys in their Beatlemania days. Another fun fact? The negatives of these photos were developed in the hotel's bathtub.
Now, the George V is planning to host a brief exhibit of Benson's Beatles photos in their lobby and in front of Le Bar from June 15-June 30. The exhibit will be run by hotel's in-house artistic director, Jeff Leatham.
And (very) lucky for us, Harry Benson himself has answered a few of our questions about his time at the hotel with The Beatles. (Excuse us, while we scream like a teenage girl again and again and again.)
What are those? Very much like they did in Rotterdam before, they’re offering you a free night stay if you’re willing try out the hotel before it’s officially open. The details you can find here, and last we checked only next week Tuesday (June 3) still had availability, so hurry up if you’re interested.
The good news is that shortly after the hotel will be welcoming normal guests as well, with a room the first weekend of June going for a fairly reasonable €79 ($108) a night, which can go down to €67.15 ($91) a night if you’re a registered citizen with the group. You’ll pretty much find all the usual citizenM aspects in the hotel, from the compact rooms with super king-size beds to Vitra furniture-filled public spaces.
Now if only citizenM could delight us and bring those rates to the heart of Paris as well?