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Hotel check: Shangri-La

Published: 02/06/2012 - Filed under: Home » Archive » 2012 » June 2012 » Tried and Tested » Home » Tried & Tested » Hotels »

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HOW MANY ROOMS? 81 in all, 16 suites (a mix of Deluxe, Deluxe Pavilion, Premier and Premier Duplex), eight Eiffel suites (Premier, Duplex and Duplex Terrace) and three signature suites.

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The elegant décor, super view and free WiFi.  

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in June started from €747 ($945) for a Deluxe room.

CONTACT Shangri-La Paris, 10 Avenue d’Iéna; tel +33 153 671 998; shangri-la.com

VERDICT A virtually flawless stay, as you would expect when you are paying these rates. Superb views from many of the rooms, excellent service and fine dining make this exquisite property a worthy competitor  to the city’s range of top hotels.

BACKGROUNDLuxury Hong Kong-based chain Shangri-La chose Paris for its first European hotel. Housed in an 1890s palace built as the private residence of Napoleon’s grandnephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte, the property underwent a multimillion-euro four-year renovation before opening in December 2010.

WHAT’S IT LIKE Turning into the driveway of the grand building, you immediately feel at a remove from the fairly busy road behind you. The lobby is bright and exquisite, with three lavish lounge rooms on the right – originally the palace’s smoking, billiard and waiting rooms – another to the left and, just beyond that in an alcove, the reception desk. Pierre-Yves Rochon, who led the revamps of London’s Savoy and the Four Seasons Park Lane, is also behind the interior design here, and he has introduced Asian touches to the carefully restored European building.

WHERE IS IT? On Avenue d’Iéna in the prestigious 16th arrondissement. It’s slightly outside the “golden triangle” of top hotel addresses – avenues des Champs-Élysées, George V and Montaigne – but is still only a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe in one direction and the Eiffel Tower in the other. It’s a 15-minute drive from Gare du Nord station, traffic permitting. 

ROOM FACILITIES There are 81 rooms and suites in the property’s two adjoining wings – Iéna, the main wing, and Fresnel, originally home to the library, study, stables and staff quarters. They start from 375 square feet and come in a range of categories, from Superior rooms to the three signature suites.

The hotel says that 40 percent of rooms and 60 percent of suites offer a direct view of the Eiffel Tower (other views include the hotel garden, the city or Avenue d’Iéna). Almost half have a balcony. They are elegantly decorated with pale blue or ecru color palettes and luxurious furnishings. All come with free wired and WiFi Internet, a minibar, a Nespresso machine, a work desk, air conditioning, a flatscreen TV and a media hub for linking your gadgets to the TV. The marble bathrooms have a separate tub and rainshower, a TV built into the mirror and Bulgari toiletries. 

If your budget doesn’t stretch to the 2,400-square-foot Shangri-La suite, ask to take a look – located on the top (seventh) floor, it provides jaw-dropping views of the city and Seine. The vista from my Eiffel Duplex suite was also great, with the iconic tower larger than life from the small balcony. My only gripe was the hairdryer, the weak puny type you have to hold the button down on – surprising when everything else was so high-spec.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS The hotel’s three restaurants are overseen by executive chef Philippe Labbé. At the end of the lobby is La Bauhinia, an elegant all-day eatery serving French and Asian cuisine. An à la carte breakfast is served, with a continental option costing 38 ($48). To the right of here is L’Abeille, a 40-seat fine-dining French restaurant that serves dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Open since September 2011, Shang Palace is Shangri-La’s signature brand, serving gourmet Cantonese cuisine in refined surroundings. Le Bar, off the lobby, has a masculine feel and serves expensive cocktails. 

BUSINESS AND meeting FACILITIES There are four function rooms totaling 9,000 square feet. Three are accessible from the lobby’s grand staircase, each full of splendid historic detailing.With their foyer, they hold 400 people for receptions. Salon Roland Bonaparte, in the Fresnel wing, can accommodate 230 theatre-style. There is also a business center with two Macs. 

LEISURE FACILITIES There is a temporary gym until a spa with a fitness center and 16-meter pool opens in the Fresnel wing at the end of the year. In-room treatments are available in the meantime. 

Michelle Mannion


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