I first remember hearing about ‘The Peninsula’ hotel from some of my well-healed friends who travelled to Hong Kong decades ago. Stories of unparalleled luxury made it sound as exotic and glamorous as Hong Kong itself.
Since then this 5 star chain has opened in several cities around the world including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Paris, Bangkok, and Manila.
Just this August, ‘The Peninsula’ chain opened it’s first hotel in Europe, and chose ‘Paris’ as the city for it’s debut. Little wonder that one of the most beautiful hotel chains would choose one of the most beautiful cities in Europe as it’s launch pad.
Since it’s opening on the 1st of August the hotel is already drawing reviews and criticisms.
Located at 19 Avenue Kleber, The Peninsula’s building and was built originally for a Russian nobleman in 1864. The Russian nobleman sold the palace in 1868 to Queen Isabella II of Spain, who established the palace as her home in exile during the First Spanish Republic. She continued to live there for the next 36 years and the palace was known as the Palais de Castille.
Tauber constructed the luxurious ‘Hotel Majestic’ on the site. Designed by Armand Sibien, construction began in 1906 and the hotel opened in December 1908. The hotel was commandeered for use as a military hospital at the outbreak of World War I in 1914, and served in this capacity for five months. It was damaged during its hospital service, and was not renovated and reopened until 1916. The 1st unofficial Chess Olympiad was held at the hotel in 1924. George Gershwin wrote An American in Paris while staying at the hotel in 1928.
The hotel was purchased by the French government in 1936 to serve as offices for the Ministry of Defence.It served as the headquarters of the German military high command in France (Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich) from October 1940 to July 1944 during the occupation of Paris in World War II.
It served as the first headquarters of UNESCO, from September 16, 1946 until 1958, when it was converted into a conference center for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, known as the International Conference Center.
The French government sold the building in 2008 as part of a cost-cutting measure to the Qatari Diar firm for $460 Million. It reopened on August 1, 2014, following extensive rebuilding by Vinci Construction costing E338 million, as ‘The Peninsula Paris’. The architectural designs are by Richard Martinet of Affine architecture & interior design, while the interiors are by Henry Leung of Hong Kong-based Chhada Siembieda & Associates Ltd.
You can stay at the Peninsula but it will cost you. $1400/night for a regular room (that’s not a large room either), but hey, small expensive rooms are nothing new in Paris.
The price of rooms goes all the way up to $33,500 per night which gives you the Peninsula Suite that includes 24-hour butler service, on-hand massage, access to an underground spa, and a 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom at your beckon call. Sounds expensive right? Well yes, but it’s not the most expensive around.
The ‘Royal Penthouse Suite’ at ‘Hotel President Wilson’, in Geneva tops that off at a cool $67,000/night. The 19,376-square-foot suite features four bedrooms, 12 marble bathrooms, a billiard room, a “royal boardroom,” and an outdoor patio that offers panoramic views of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps. A private security team, private elevators, bulletproof windows, and waiting limos are just some of the “extras” that provide protection and privacy for A-list guests.
Anyway with all these ‘stratospheric’ hotel rates, you’d think you’d have appreciative people giving rave reviews. Well not exactly. Since it’s opening people have already started complaining about the Peninsula Paris. Everything from shoddy service to not so great dining have already surfaced on travel website’s such as Trip Advisor and Hotel Chatter. Some people are just so spoiled.
Shoddy service is usually a result of obnoxious people, particularly of the English speaking kind, exhibiting bad behaviour in the form of self entitlement. This type of attitude will insure you bad service no matter where you are in Paris. (or the world for that matter)
Anyway, I have my apartment in Paris so staying at the Peninsula (or any hotel for that matter) is not required. Maybe I’ll stop by for a drink with my friends or even splurge for lunch/dinner. If I do, I’ll be sure you give you my first hand review of ‘The Peninsula Paris if I have the time or inclination to actually go.
Over and out.
Have a great September.
The Antique Warehouse
226 SW Marine Drive,