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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?
It rarely happens that we come across an entire brand of hotels that we haven’t talked about before, but here we are: Penta Hotels, which has just opened a property at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. Mostly located in a number of German cities and then the slightly left-field list of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Penta bills itself as a "completely new generation of hotels", where "the details that are important to you are right here" including a "pleasant ambience of sound, light, and aroma".
Sounds to us like Penta is shooting for the Millenial, along with citizenM, Qbic, Moxy, and a number of other young hotel brands. At least one of those Penta will have to compete with directly at Charles de Gaulle, with citizenM’s entry nearing completion and due to open this year.
Seeing that Penta has set up shop in a former Park Inn by Radisson, it’ll have to do some serious sprucing up to challenge citizenM’s Vitra designer furniture-filled living rooms. The "pentalounge", the "beating heart" of every Penta Hotel that is "part cool club and part hotel lobby", will arrive next year, which we assume means work will be ongoing between now and then.
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With all the brouhaha regarding the Government of Brunei’s archaic and decidedly evil new law approving stoning to death as proper punishment for being gay or having an affair, some celebs have either quietly or openly decided to boycott Dorchester Collection Hotels, which are owned by the Sultan of Brunei.
During our recent stay at Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière in Paris we were interested to hear that the last celebs to stay at the hotel were none other than Jay-Z and Beyoncé, formerly fans of The Dorchester Collection’s Le Meurice Hotel.
In fact, the couple is such fans of the food at the hotel’s restaurant, La Petite Maison de Nicole, we hear they have it delivered to wherever they are in the city.
Fouquet’s Barrière’s past is directly tied to the music and film industry. In 1898 Fouquet’s restaurant opened at the corner of the Champs-Elysées and Avenue George V (where it still is today). When the very first theaters opened in Paris in the 1930s, Fouquet’s was close by and became the go-to place for socializing for both the dealmakers and stars of the shows. Here contracts were signed, cast parties were held and films were premiered.
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What happens when two famous hotel bartenders spend a week mixing cocktails in the same bar? In the case of Agostino Perrone, director of mixology at the Connaught London, and Colin Field, head bartender of the Ritz Paris, it’s a bringing together of styles, a list of delicious drinks as a result, and lucky for us, double the Confessions of a Hotel Bartender.
We stopped by the buzzing Connaught Bar to hear about Colin’s week-long residence in London and learned more about cocktails in an evening than we had in our entire lives, from molecular mixology being dead (in case you didn’t know already), to the story of an old Italian liqueur called ‘the Witch’, and of course, the perennial hangover-cure conundrum.
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If you haven’t caught Colin Field, head bartender of Hemingway at Hotel Ritz Paris, at 30,000 feet on Air France, next week you will have the chance to drink his cocktails at lower altitude. Much lower in fact, as he will be setting up at the Bar in the Connaught London, during a week-long residence from April 7 to April 13.
Colin will be joining Agostino Perrone, director of mixology for the Connaught Bar, to create a special drinks menu that brings together their individual styles.