Unique Sleeps: The Peninsula Paris
Unique Sleeps: Amazing hotels hand picked by Expedia Experts. The Peninsula Paris, France.
There’s luxury travel and then there’s luxury travel in Paris. The City of Light is in the midst of a major shake-up at the pointy end of its tourist market, with prestige hotels including Hôtel de Crillon, Plaza Athenee and The Ritz undergoing multi-million dollar upgrades. However, it’s the new kid on the Rue – The Peninsula – that’s generating the most excitement.
This is the tenth location for the iconic Asian brand, which is renown for its opulent, uber-luxe properties. This hotel is no exception. Every inch of the vast Peninsula Paris is spectacular. No, it’s more than that. It’s Paris spectacular, which has its own measure on the spectacular scale.
The hotel’s landmark Haussmann building sits at the top of Avenue Kléber in the 16th arrondissement, just moments from Trocadéro and the Arc De Triomphe. It was originally built as a palace and has been home to a Russian oligarch and Spanish queen. Converted to a hotel in 1908, the property has significant historical importance. Surviving both World Wars, it was here that George Gershwin composed “An American In Paris” and the Paris Peace Accords, negotiated by Henry Kissinger, were signed in 1973.
It’s a heritage that has been painstakingly respected in an extraordinary one billion dollar restoration. The architects have lost none of the period Wow Factor in modernising the building. Combining soaring ceilings with gold leaf walls; marble terraces with sweeping staircases and filling vast corridors with mega chandeliers – The Peninsula is a serious hotel where attention to extravagance reigns supreme.
The 200 rooms, which include 34 suites, are very generous by the city’s standards. Each bedroom is decorated with a contemporary belle époque vibe. Think dark wood, grey and white linen, black leather and art-deco lighting. It offers an understated elegance, which at first glance appears almost modest, but once you get into the room and start exploring, the real innovation unfolds.
Bedside and desktop touch tablets allow you to access everything from restaurant reservations to air-conditioning with the swipe of your finger. The media centre (and it is a centre) is hidden in a cupboard, which folds out like origami to include multiple device chargers, a mini-bar – the contents of which are complimentary – and a Nespresso machine complete with the prettiest tea set I’ve ever seen. There’s even a line on the telephone system which allows guests to call anywhere in the world, as many times as they like, for free.
I stayed in a beautiful Premier Room, which consisted of a walk-in dressing room with two open wardrobes and a hidden valet box used for the pick-up and delivery of messages, dry cleaning and newspapers. It was achingly chic. The wardrobe also housed a make-up vanity complete with its very own built-in nail polish dryer. I did my nails just so I could tell the story.
The bathrooms are also full of surprises. An individual marble rain shower and toilet were hidden behind frosted glass doors so as not to distract from the oversized tub which has a control panel to rival an airplane. You must draw a bath (complete with Oscar de la Renata amenities) and then press the ‘spa’ button. This writer expected jets and bubbles but instead the action changed the room into a Day Spa with soft music, mood lighting and aromatherapy.
It’s this considered combination of technology and luxury, which sets this hotel apart in Paris and warrants the premium price tag.
Outside your chambre, all the Peninsula signatures are there; doormen in traditional white uniforms with pillbox hats, abundant vases of roses, a fleet Rolls-Royces and nearly 600 staff ready to make your stay seamless. All the employees speak excellent English, which takes the stage fright out of ordering room service or a cocktail, and are equally equipped at procuring opera tickets as they are a Nutella crepe from a street vendor.
The hotel has a host of public spaces with three restaurants; two drink salons and a cigar room. My favourites:
Breakfast On The Terrace. If weather permits, request a table outside the main breakfast room on The Kléber Terrace. Sit back, watch the locals and inhale the perfectly pressed pink and grey linen tablecloths topped with shiny silver flatware. Order the house-baked croissants, a fresh pamplemousse juice and compote of fresh red berries. It doesn’t get much more Right Bank than this.
Evening Drinks On the Roof: The hotel boasts one of the best views in Paris from the outdoor bar of the fine dining restaurant L’Oiseau Blanc. Looking out to Sacre Coeur on one side and the Eiffel Tower on the other. Go early because it’s well subscribed and take your camera. This is the place for the ultimate Selfie – the light, the vista and best of all…no queues.
Swim In The Underground Pool: More like a piece of art than a mere piscine, the hotel’s subterranean pool is well worth a dip. Featuring a floor to ceiling waterfall and thousands of metallic mosaic tiles, it’s heated all year round and feels like you’re under the sea.
The Peninsula Paris is decadent in the very best of ways and you pay a premium for the privilege. However, if you’re looking to experience Paris at its most elite then look no further because after all… on ne vit qu’une fois.
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