Paris is firmly back in vogue with event profs this year, with Global DMC Partners naming the French capital the most popular international city for meetings and incentives for 2018 in its latest Global Destination Index.
It’s certainly been a busy year as far as new developments are concerned. So if you haven’t been to Paris recently, there has never been a better time to hop over and check out the raft of hot new luxury properties on the scene.
But before we look at this year’s openings, we can’t talk about Paris without mentioning the Grande Dames that are Hôtel de Crillon and the Ritz, which reopened in 2017 and 2016 respectively after major renovations.
Just last month, Hôtel de Crillon was selected as the Grand Prix of the Best Hotels in Europe at the Prix Villegiature ceremony. The historic Paris property first opened in 1909, in an 18th-century mansion on Place de la Concorde. It was taken over by Rosewood Hotels and Resorts in 2013, then underwent a four-year renovation before reopening last summer.
Event spaces include Salon Marie-Antoinette, Salon des Batailles and Salon des Aigles, which are all listed heritage landmarks and when combined can host 220 guests for cocktails or 130 seated. Meanwhile, the gastronomic restaurant L’Ecrin welcomes a mere 22 guests each evening into the intimate 18th century décor of the Salon des Citronniers to savour the unexpected, creative dishes of the young Chef Christopher Hache.
More recently, the Hotel Lutetia reopened after a painstaking restoration this July in the trendy Saint-Germain-des-Pres area of Paris. The luxury property dates back to 1910 and has been at the heart of Left Bank community life for the past 100 years. The bedrooms are beautifully appointed in the unashamedly Parisian style that made this retreat a favoured haunt for artists Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.
Following its revamp, this decadent property is now home to the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre, a 700sqm spa, featuring six treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room, a 17m swimming pool, a Jacuzzi and large fitness room. Also in July, Four Seasons Hotel George V opened its new spa, a 55-foot pool, featuring five single treatment rooms, two hammams and a suite for couples treatments.
The glamorous Barriere Fouquet’s, which reopened last summer, has continued its major renovation and expansion programme this year with rooms and the iconic brasserie being renovated by designer Jacques Garcia.
The Parisian gourmet institution that is Fauchon recently opened its first luxury boutique hotel in an iconic Haussmann building in the heart of the 8th arrondissement. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, the 54-room property features Fauchon’s daring design sense and signature colours of hot pink and black.
Other key hotel openings this year include: the lavish Hotel Monte Cristo, the second opening from the independent group Les Hoteliers Impertinents which pays tribute to the literary great Alexandre Dumas and his hero; Hotel de Berri, A Luxury Collection Hotel with a bar overlooking the garden and a contemporary art collection; and Brach Paris by Evok Hotels Collection with rooms boasting Eiffel Tower views, a vegetable garden on the roof and an interior design by Philippe Starck.
And it’s not just hotel developments that are putting Paris back in the spotlight. After a long renovation and extension by architect Dominique Perrault, the famous Longchamp racecourse reopened earlier this year with new brasseries and seminar spaces and a restaurant with panoramic views, enabling it to once again host Europe’s richest race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October.
Arts & culture
Several major cultural developments also opened their doors: La Fondation Lafayette Anticipation in the Marais, a five-storey industrial building celebrating creativity and contemporary art with a focus on creation, innovation and research; and Atelier des Lumieres, the first art centre for digital art. Based in an old 11th century foundry, it offers immersive exhibitions with the help of 120 projectors on 3,300 square metres of space with walls that are up to 10 metres high.
By Susie Harwood