Think five-star hotels are the height of luxury? Think again. In Paris, there’s actually an entirely separate hotel classification above five-star: the Palace. (All together now: ooh-la-la.)
In 2010, the French Ministry of Tourism decided that regular ol’ five-star status wasn’t baller enough and decided to anoint extra-special hotels with a newly-created “Palace” designation. Each of the sixteen French hotels deemed Palaces — eight located in Paris — have that above-and-beyond je ne sais quoi that makes them the literal best of the best. (Actual qualifications include exceptional amenities, stellar service, and a significant contribution to French culture.)
And since who doesn’t make the cut is obviously just as vital to exclusivity as who does, you might be surprised to realize that some of the most famously luxurious Parisian hotels — notably the Ritz and the Crillon — aren’t in the club. (Both have recently undergone renovations in the hopes of moving on up.)
Paris Fashion Week takes over the City of Lights through next week, which means Kendall, Gigi, Karlie, and the rest will show up in droves. Look for them here, at one of these Palaces fit for a queen:
1. Hotel Le Bristol
Opened in 1925 on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, the Bristol is part of the crazy luxurious Oetker Collection and its restaurants have four Michelin stars total, including one star for 114 Faubourg and three stars for Epicure. Guests have access to a fleet of chauffeured Mercedes S 500s and Mercedes-Maybach S 600s, perfect for shuttling to and from the Chanel show, and its rooms are among the largest in Paris. Other amenities include an indoor rooftop pool, an amazing spa, and their famous “Fashion Saturday” afternoon teas where haute-couturiers like Givenchy, Saint-Laurent, and Christian Lacroix present new collections over champagne and pastries. Mini fashionistas will also be in good (white-gloved) hands: The hotel caters to families with stuffed animals, treasure hunts, and a kids club.
2. Four Seasons Hotel George V
Just off the Champs-Élysées, the landmark 1928 George V has 244 guest rooms and suites and has long been considered one of the most epic hotels in all of Paris. Its Cinq restaurant almost immediately received three Michelin stars, and other standout eateries here include traditional French cuisine at L’Orangerie and Mediterranean-inspired Le George. Meanwhile, the wine cellar, located 45 feet under ground, contains a jaw-dropping 50,000 bottles of wine — and survived WWII.
3. Hotel Le Meurice
Located on Rue de Rivoli near the Louvre and across from the Tuileries Gardens, the Meurice has been open since 1815 and is a firm favorite of the fashion week crowd. For years, it was Anna Wintour and company's home when in town for the shows and Jay and Bey love it. It contains the two-Michelin star fine-dining restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse, one of Paris’s best spas, Spa Valmont, and Restaurant Le Dalí, run by Ducasse and inspired by the famous surrealist who loved the hotel.
4. Hotel Le Park Hyatt Place Vendome
One of the newest of the Palace hotels, the Park Hyatt was opened in 2002 — although its façade dates from the 18th century — and is located on fashionable Place Vendôme, just down the street from the Tuileries and the Louvre. It features 153 rooms and 43 suites, a spa partnership with La Mer, and six restaurants, including Michelin-starred Pur by chef Jean-François Rouquette. It wouldn’t be France without a smoking room, and the property's cigar bar features a cellar with more than 40 types of offerings.
5. Hotel Le Plaza Athénée
On Avenue Montaigne — arguably Paris’s chicest address as it’s home to Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel, and Valentino — sits Le Plaza Athénée, part of the Dorchester Collection. Opened in 1913, the hotel features 154 rooms and 54 suites, sumptuous Louis XVI inspired décor, a 24-hour concierge, Europe’s only Dior Institute spa, and a three Michelin starred restaurant, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée.
6. Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris
Designed by Philippe Starck, this luxury boutique near Arc de Triomphe boasts 149 art deco-inspired rooms and 64 gigantic suites, the largest indoor pool in Paris, and the city’s largest spa (also designed by Starck) featuring a hammam and Clarins products. Restaurants include Matsuhisa, world-famous pastry palace Pierre Hermé, Michelin-starred Il Carpaccio, and a private cigar bar La Fumee Rouge. There’s also an indoor cinema, art concierge, and recording studio on-site — no wonder the hotel is a fave of Kim and Kanye.
7. Shangri-La Hotel
You know that crazy photo Beyoncé posted this summer of Jay-Z kissing her in front of the Eiffel Tower at night? It was taken on the balcony of her suite at the Shangri-La. A listed historical monument since 2009 — after all, it was once the residence of Prince Roland Bonaparte, grandson of Napoleon’s brother — the Shangri-La Hotel is located just off Avenue Montaigne and contains 101 rooms and 36 suites. Restaurants include the 2 Michelin star L’Abeille and the 1 star Chinese fine-dining Shang Palace. And, of course, the view and location can’t be beat.
8. Mandarin Oriental
Suffering from Fashion Week fatigue? Nab an appointment (if you’re lucky) at the Mandarin Oriental’s Guerlain Spa — one of the best in Paris. On rue St- Honoré, just off Place Vendome, the hotel has 138 rooms and 39 suites and is always stocked to the rafters with celebs like Christian Louboutin and Colin Firth. Its three restaurants are managed by Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx — who is something of a rock star in France — with his signature Sur Mesure by Thierry Marx restaurant featuring dishes like foie gras and smoked eel, and young rabbit with prune and artichoke. Oui, s’il vous-plaît.
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