If you want the creme de la creme of French design, head to the Parisian palaces
Hotels are facing ever-increasing challenges to their standing within the sphere of accommodation. Many are trying out new and inventive strategies to keep up with the changing market, but a certain set of high-profile hotels have doubled-down on their traditions in an effort to reinforce their brand power. The French hotel palaces, of which there are 16 across the country that have been given the special status of a Palace by the French Minister of Tourism, are setting the bar high in both design, service and experience, and aim to retain the super-wealthy clientele that they are used to welcoming through their doors, as well as appealing to high-flying millennials who wish to experience the grandeur and luxury of this period palaces. Eight of the palaces are located in the French capital and include such famous venues as the Four Seasons Hotel George V, Hotel Le Bristol and Le Royal Monceau.
As part of this designation, each of the palaces has to meet exacting standards to retain their special status, including more generous rooms and tri-lingual staff. And the price of luxury doesn’t come cheap – many of the rooms will set you back an average of €1,000 a night. However, the price tag reflects the significant renovations that have taken place in many of these hotels that allow them to reach this privileged status. In some cases, much of the hotel has had to be reconfigured to meet the stringent requirements of the French tourism board, who wish to promote the much-revered French standard of service and excellence that the capital has become known for throughout history. In the cases of the Ritz and the Monceau, they have both reduced their key count to allow more spacious guest rooms. It also allows them to allocate space to functions that the older palace structures may have been found lacking in. These new spaces often reflect industry trends, spurred on by the demand of millennials, that focus on lifestyle and freedom and break out of the stuffy mould that hotels found themselves in when this new market began to dominate and change the course of the hospitality industry.
A few of the hotels have also been taken on by big name brands, with luxury hotel companies such as the Dorchester and Four Seasons coming in to take charge of the palaces. Another focus of these hotels is in attracting the young and beautiful through their doors by operating as a venue for the hottest events in the city. This also provides the hotel with a platform on social media, with influencers and VIPs sharing their experiences online, generating a buzz about the hotel. Although the palaces’ occupancy rates have been hit in recent years, these revamps will no doubt see these famous hotels being at the top of the hot list once again.
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