This Paris Life

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Stiff competition in the Paris luxury hotel market has inspired major makeovers

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world and it’s famed for its opulent hotels in top locations. But growing competition in the luxury hotel market means that Paris hoteliers have had to stay one step ahead of the game.

In recent years, a number of hotel sales have taken place to investors keen to capitalize on the city’s reputation. We have recently reported on the sales of:

  • Le Grand Hotel, overlooking the Opéra Garnier in the 9th arrondissement (district), whose sale to a Quatar group for €330 million was announced over the summer.
  • The Paris Marriott on the Champs-Elysées (8th arrondissement), which a Hong Kong investment company has just bought for €344.5 million.

Other investors have snapped up historic buildings for transformation into ultra-luxury hotels. Among them are:

  • The former Majestic Hotel on Avenue Kléber (16th arrondissement), which reopened as the Peninsula Paris Hotel in August, after a long period as a government-owned building. This Belle Epoque property was rebuilt and lavishly restored to its former glory.
  • The previous Bains-Douches (public bath house) building in the Marais neighborhood (3rd arrondissement), which is to be converted into a luxury hotel.
  • The post office on the rue du Louvre, the largest in France, part of which will become a luxury hotel following a major renovation.

A new breed of upscale hotels financed by Asian investment has redefined expectations of luxury: the Shangri-La, Raffles, Mandarin Oriental and Peninsula (see above). And the French government introduced an official “palace” classification in 2011 that controversially left out some of the long-standing candidates and promoted newer arrivals.

Meanwhile, some iconic and exclusive Paris hotels have been refurbished, or are undergoing major makeovers in response to the competition from the newcomers: Le Bristol, Le Meurice, The Four Seasons Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Hôtel de Crillon, and the Hôtel Ritz. They have the advantage over some of their younger rivals of occupying prime locations in central Paris, but have not rested on their laurels.

As well as the creature comforts and ultra-high standards that guests demand, the hotels are competing on high-tech gadgetry, too. They include touchscreen tablets to control air conditioning and audiovisual systems, clothes steamers in the wardrobes, and even nail varnish dryers in every room.

The challenge will be to combine the charm and elegance of French style seamlessly with 21st century fashion.

Crédit Photo – Grenouille Vert

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