The Peninsula Paris is not simply a hotel – it’s a palace that offers the very best of French luxury. A favourite of the film world as well as world-famous athletes, its location on the Avenue Kleber – one of the 12 famed avenues that snake off the Place de l’Etoile – speaks for itself. From here, the “Golden Triangle” of avenues from des Champs-Élysées, George V and Montaigne (home to Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Givenchy and more), fine restaurants (book Le Relais Plaza) and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées are no more than a short stroll away.
Stylistically, it’s theatrically Parisian, and thankfully has retained many of its original period features. Outside, Art Nouveau reigns supreme with statement glass awnings and motifs that command attention. Painstakingly polished marble dominates the vast entrance hall that leads to a grand, sweeping staircase accentuated with wrought-iron railings. As your might expect from Parisian grandeur, it’s completed with a giant crystal chandelier. Elsewhere, restored original wood, decorative stonework and 40,000 pieces of gold leaf impress, along with an extensive collection of abstract art found throughout. The sculpture of 800 Lasvit crystal “dancing leaves” greeting guests in the lobby is a particular highlight.
The rooms are just as resplendent. Decor is sleek, with smart contemporary dark woods, and cream and grey fabrics with decorative touches in ode to the Hong Kong backstory of the powerhouse hotelier brand. Though art really is the underlying theme, the technology is a wonder: interactive bedside control panels, in-room tablets, printers, faxes, copier hybrids and even nail-drying stations make these rooms some of the best in Paris. The rooms are enormous in comparison to other grand dames in the area (a standard double is easily the size of your average Parisian studio) and the suites are Hollywood starlet luxury. For added extravagance, choose one of the five suites that have private rooftop gardens with city views.
People flock from all over to sample the hotel’s exceptional haute cuisine. L’Oiseau Blanc, found right on the top floor of the hotel, offers panoramic views of the Paris skyline. Themed around a vintage French biplane, it’s presided over by the genius of the hotel’s charismatic head chef Christophe Raoux, a disciple of the chef Alain Ducasse. Food is quintessentially French and serves up a medley of regional specialities all the way from the Normandy coast to the shores of Corsica. Expect blue lobster, line-caught seabass, smothered pigeon, as well as an artistic flourish in the theatrical desserts.
If you’ve got space from the night before, go all out at breakfast. Served in Le Lobby, le petit dejuner is an American-style, continental and Cantonese mixture with a formidable menu of classics on offer.
Downstairs in the spa you will stumble on the longest hotel pool in Paris. A large gym space (perfect after that big meal) offers personal trainers to hire by the hour; guided runs are a must, as are a facial and massage in one of the soothing treatment-rooms.
Be sure to make use of the house cars including BMW 7 Series sedans and special Peninsula edition Mini Coopers for complimentary rides around town, and perhaps the easiest and most fuss-free way to check out city icons from the Louvre to Musée Rodin and of course, the Eiffel Tower.
Standard rooms from about £1,200 a night, B&B.