Shangri-La Paris is one of the city’s most refined new luxury hotels, combining French elegance with warm Asian hospitality.
The five star hotel occupies the former home of Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte, and was previously known as Palais Iéna.
Nestled discreetly in the prestigious, leafy 16th arrondissement, Shangri-La Paris is on the doorstep of cultural delights such as the Trocadero, Palais de Tokyo, Galliera Museum, Musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet and the Avenue Wilson food market.
It’s also conveniently close to the Seine, Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées and the designer stores on the chic Avenue Montaigne and Avenue George V.
The mansion house has been thoughtfully restored with many of it original features revived and the interiors have been designed by the inimitable Pierre-Yves Rochon. The stately marble lobby is decorated with elegant chandeliers, Ming Dynasty vases, integrated monograms of Prince Roland Bonaparte and elaborate floral displays – during our stay there were large vases of vibrant sunflowers.
The lobby leads seamlessly to the grand staircase and private salons where tea and exquisite cakes and are served in refined surroundings.
If there are no private events being held, it’s worth walking up the staircase for a peek at the opulent Louis XIV style Grand Salon with its gold-leaf appliqué walls, the mahogany panelled Salle à Manger and the feminine Salon de Famille with its ceiling painted with an orb of sphinxes and plants. Close your eyes for a moment and it feels like the Château de Versailles has been transported to the heart of Paris.
The south-facing hotel features 101 rooms and suites, including the impressive Suite Shangri-La with its dazzling interiors and outdoor terrace boasting breath-taking panoramas of the city. This summer, the hotel opened a brand new botanically inspired Garden Wing with 20 rooms and suites overlooking a perfectly landscaped garden and courtyard.
My beautiful Eiffel Premier room was very spacious and elegant, designed in an ‘Empire meets luxury minimalist’ style, in a palette of blue, white and ecru. Its custom-made furnishings have luxurious textures such as silk-threaded wallpaper, soft velvet seats, crystal hardware and an elaborate patterned carpet.
For true authenticity, Pierre-Yves Rochon researched archive documents and photos of the original Palais Iéna interiors and translated the motifs and fixture for a contemporary luxury hotel.
Room features include a large LCD TV with cable and movie channels, executive writing desk complete with stationary drawer, a comfy seating area and free wifi. At the entrance to the room is a separate drawer unit with a Nespresso machine, a kettle with a selection of fine teas, a well-stocked minibar and refined china cups and saucers.
I was welcomed with a fine bottle of Château Le Borderon Haut-Médoc 2009 and a fruit bowl, placed next to the prettiest flowers that brightened the room.
The highlight of staying in an Eiffel Premier Room is the expansive terrace with sun loungers and a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower. What could be more magical than enjoying a glass of Champagne on the terrace while watching the evening Eiffel Tower light show?
The walk-in wardrobe is a wonderful feature, with extensive storage space, a floor-to-ceiling mirror and a vanity desk. I made use of the complimentary shoe shine service, leaving my shoes in a basket in the wardrobe and returning later to find them looking fresh and renewed.
I found the king-size bed extremely comfortable, covered in sumptuous linen with a silk-trimmed throw and blue cushions. At evening turndown, complimentary bottles of mineral water were placed by the bed with a Shangri-La bookmark and the room was prepared for sleeping.
The elegant marble bathroom with heated floors features a rainfall shower, deep soaking tub, double sink, a mist-free mirror with flat-screen TV and a drawer filled with bathroom essentials. There are plenty of large, fluffy towels, face cloths and plush embroidered bathrobes and slippers.
The bathroom is stocked with a generous amount of BVLGARI White Tea bathroom amenities plus bath salts and a reed diffuser with the Shangri-La signature scent – a blend of vanilla, sandal, musk, bergamot and tea spiced with ginger.
In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast served in La Bauhinia, the hotel’s stunning all-day dining restaurant. To begin the day well, La Bauhinia offers a selection of substantial American, Chinese, healthy and Continental set breakfasts. As this was a real foodie trip, I ordered lightly from the à la carte each morning and loved the fluffy pancakes with maple syrup, crepes with sugar and home-made apple compote topped with fresh berries.
I was kindly offered a newspaper or magazine to read and was brought some bircher muesli and fresh green apple as an amuse-bouche. Breakfast service can often let down even the best of hotels, but at Shangri-La Paris, the efficient staff make it easy to start the day in a good mood.
Shangri-La hotels and resorts are known for their superior health and leisure facilities and Shangri-La Paris really wows with its stunning 15x6m indoor pool. Not only does the pool look heavenly with its tiny mosaic tiles, grand pillars and hand-painted blue sky ceiling, but it has a great sense of calm and the water is just the right temperature. I enjoyed a leisurely morning swim and took in some sun on the serene outdoor terrace with a pot of green tea.
I was kindly treated to a fantastic facial at the hotel’s chic CARITA spa, which left my skin glowing and deeply hydrated. There is also an excellent fitness centre with state-of-the-art equipment.
Shangri-La Paris features three fabulous restaurants, an indoor and outdoor bar and intimate lounges. La Bauhinia, with its glass cupola and Murano glass chandelier, serves afternoon tea, light bites and a dinner menu of French and Asian specialities.
The one Michelin star Shang Palace brings the art of Cantonese fine dining to Paris, serving authentic Chinese dishes and excellent set lunch menus with traditional dim sum, barbecued meats and comforting soups.
The hotel’s gastronomic, two Michelin star restaurant L’Abeille (paying homage to Napoleon’s bee emblem) is one of the city’s hottest fine dining restaurants and during our dinner there, it was a full house. Executive Chef Philippe Labbé creates exciting, innovative dishes using the freshest ingredients and the restaurant’s doors open to the garden in the warmer months.
Before dining at L’Abeille, we had a Champagne apéritif at the pop up Bollinger Champagne Bar on the first floor outdoor terrace. Le Bar is a cosier spot with expertly-mixed cocktails served in an Empire style room with oil paintings of horses adorning the walls.
Service at Shangri-La Paris is at the typically high level that you can expect from the renowned hotel group and I found the staff friendly, meticulous and polite. Head Concierge Tony Le Goff arranged for us to visit the beautiful Château Vaux le Vicomte and suggested we take a private tour of the Seine on a Venetian water taxi and lunch at the nearby Chalet des Iles.
Shangri-La Paris is an exquisite hotel that brings back to life the opulence of a 19th century palace, balanced with understated contemporary French and Asian design. With a heavenly pool, indulgent food and magnificent views on the doorstep, it’s easy to get lost in the charming world of Shangri-La while the city awaits.
A double room at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris starts from 750 Euros per room per night (room only). Price includes tax and service. To book, visit: www.shangri-la.com or call 0800 028 3337.
Chérie City was invited by Shangri-La Paris
Photos by Chérie City and Shangri-La Paris