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Paris Luxe: a night in French hotel heaven

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The exterior of the Ritz, Paris

I am not sure exactly when my obsession for fine French hotels began. It has certainly cost me a fortune ever since. As a result, I have a feeling retirement might not be on the cards for me.

It was February 2008 when I decided to treat my mother to the most beautiful hotel in the world. It didn’t take long for me to decide on the Ritz, Paris. So, perhaps the blame should be put on them!

With everything from precious miniature desserts left on our fireplace mantel to ultra-luxurious pink towels in our bathroom, our beautifully decorated room left us acting like two girls that could hardly contain their excitement. We were literally just short of jumping up and down on our beds.

But in the end it wasn’t just about the luxurious finishes. The hotel’s history and surroundings were just as appealing.

Bar Hemingway is nestled in the back corner of the hotel, named after famed author Ernest Hemingway, for whom it was a favourite drinking joint, when in France. And the most desirable: the Coco Chanel Suite, available for the lucky few who can afford such extravagance. Imagine staying where Coco stayed!

My friend Craig surely hasn’t helped my addiction—he has the same fascination with French hotels. “How can you not experience George V?” he asked. After fibbing just a wee bit on the rate, I convinced my husband to book a night at George V.

Norma Thiessen 10/04/2012

The lobby in the George V

Turning on to avenue George V, pulling up to all those wonderfully-garbed smiling doormen, exiting the taxi and entering through the magical iron and glass front doors: it was all so exciting. The anticipation of staying at the George V! My God, how could I not scream? I held back, stayed calm and checked in like a big girl.

It only got better the next morning over breakfast, with dining and people-watching in the elegant La Galerie. The vibrant colours, lavish and warm furniture, and that carpet!

Taking it all in over a plate of lemon ricotta pancakes, fresh fruit, and my very own precious silver pot of coffee made the experience as close to perfection as it’s going to get.

It was at Le Meurice where I had the room-upgrade surprise of a lifetime. While checking in the receptionist looked at me, and with a sparkle in his eyes said, “Oh madame, you are going to love your room.” “What? Who, me?” My imaginary tail was wagging!

After finishing up at the front desk he escorted me to my room. He unlocked a large ornate suite entrance door and we went in. At first I was only focused on the foyer and long hallway lined with beautiful built-in closets. We continued along and I gasped – The Presidential Suite! It was the largest hotel room I have ever seen. And it was mine; all mine for one entire night.

Norma Thiessen 10/04/2012
The lobby in Le Meurice

Facing the Tuileries garden, Le Meurice sits proud. Any hotel situated close to the Tuileries garden will automatically be a favourite of mine, but on top of the location, this hotel has a real wow factor.

You are hit with the opulence the minute you walk through the front doors. And Le Bar 228! If I had all the money in the world this lounge would belong to me. I would carve it out of the Le Meurice, wrap it up and send it home. Well done Philippe Starck!

In the end it doesn’t matter where you stay in Paris. Nonetheless, if you can stomach the price of just one night at one of these amazing hotels, it will be an experience you will never forget.

Which luxurious Parisian hotel do you dream of staying in?



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  1. Carolyne Kauser-Abbott
    8 years ago

    What a fabulous experience. Lucky you!