Despite its crotchety taxi drivers, prickly locals and morose economy, Paris remains one of the world's leading tourist destinations. Thanks in large part to a steady stream of well-heeled travelers from the U.S., Middle East and various BRIC nations, Paris' hotel and tourism sector continues to thrive notwithstanding the current economy. The newly refurbished Prince de Galles Hotel, set to officially reopen tomorrow (May 16), is therefore perfectly poised to take advantage of the demand for luxury accommodation.
The luxury hotel sector is a notoriously competitive one however and even treasured landmarks cannot afford to rest on their past glories for long. In the last three years alone, the city has witnessed the arrival in its midst of foreign luxury hotel chains including the Mandarin Oriental and the Shangrila Hotel forcing legends like The Ritz and Le Crillon to undergo costly makeovers to keep up with evolving standards of luxury. Establishments of this category therefore need to go the extra mile to seduce and retain a highly discerning clientele.
With this in mind, the Prince de Galles has pulled out virtually all the stops. Closed back in February 2011, the five star landmark has undergone no less than 115 weeks of top-to-bottom redesign at the hand of interior designers Pierre-Yves Rochon (lobby, suites, rooms & fitness/spa) and Bruno Borrione (restaurant, bar and terrace). The result is fairly spectacular. Built in 1928, the hotel is a testament to the French Art Deco movement. Elegant mosaics and other period details have been lovingly restored and complemented with contemporary pieces to add a modern touch. The suites are furnished with precious Makassar furniture including custom-built cabinets and luscious shagreen-covered writing desks. The suites have been thoughtfully laid out for maximum comfort including suitable work and entertainment space for business travelers, spacious walk-in closets and well-lit bathrooms, details too often overlooked in many high-end hotels.
The hotel's bar with its Picabia-inspired painted ceilings and lush decor worthy of a latter-day Daisy Buchanan will no doubt attract its share of jet-setting travelers and glamourous locals. It opens onto a lovely interior courtyard laid with mosaic-tiled floors, elaborate greenery and a zen-like atmosphere to buffer patrons from the city's hustle and bustle. The hotel also counts a soon-to-be world-class restaurant, La Scene, which it has entrusted to rising young chef Stephanie Le Quellec, an alumnus of chefs Philippe Legendre (George V Hotel) and Philippe Jourdin (Four Seasons Tourrettes) and laureate of the 2011 edition of Top Chef Competition (French edition).
While F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have written The Great Gatsby on the Cote d'Azur, one could easily imagine him tucked away in a corner of the Prince de Galles' terrace laboring over a turn of phrase or holding court at the bar with Zelda and their coterie of bright young sophisticates. Given it's splendor and location amidst one of the city's most exclusive shopping district, the Prince de Galles looks poised to welcome a new generation of bright young things in search of glamour and good times. You can experience it yourself starting tomorrow, May 16. Enjoy!
The Luxe Chronicles
N.B. In keeping with my policy of full disclosure, guests of the pre-opening received a Lomography camera and a fine chocolate bar emblazoned with an image of the hotel's exterior. No further gift or remuneration were solicited or received.