75008 Travel Guide
The mirror screen behind the bar
This is, of course, the hotel that has two delectable cats so it's no ordinary grande dame. Le Bristol has recently teamed up with the Piasa auction house, just down the road. From now until the end of the month, the giant mirror-slash-screen in Le Bar du Bristol will show SPIRIT: a showcase of modern works selected by Piasa’s Timothée Chaillou and artist and curator Mathieu Mercier.
Today we have a before and after with a twist for you: rather than a straightforward out with the old, in with the new, we’re starting with a vintage photograph of the elaborate Le Grand Salon at what was then Hotel Terminus in Paris. Check out the lions guarding the tiered staircase, the pillars and arches, and those chandeliers.
First opened in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle (the World Fair that also saw the creation of the Eiffel Tower), its location next to Gare St. Lazare (and in fact, physical attachment to – more on that in a second) made it the ideal choice for those coming in on long-distance trains from the coast. Over the years, as these stories often go, things were painted or plastered over, boarded up, or otherwise altered.
New ownership coming in at the end of December meant a cash injection of $50 million, as well as a change in management from Concorde Hotels to Hilton. Officially reopened as the Hilton Paris Opera at the end of January (when we first fell in love with it), here is what Le Grand Salon looks like today.
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Paris hotels – they’re just like buses. You wait months for one swanky new one to open, and then two come along at once. Mon dieu!
Yesterday we showed you La Réserve, Jacques Garcia’s ridonkulously expensive new project in the 8th arrondissement. Today, let’s look at something far, far more affordable: the Hilton Paris Opera, which has just concluded its renovations.
The hotel is indeed near the Opera Garnier, also in the 8th arrondissement, near the Gare St Lazare. Formerly the Concorde, Hilton have poured €44m into the refurbishment, and the property now has 268 rooms, of which 29 are suites.
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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.
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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!
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.)
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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.