After nearly ten years in the making and decades of searching for the perfect property, the Hong Kong-based luxury brand’s first European property, the stunningly beautiful Peninsula Paris, is scheduled to open on 1 August, 2014. Perched at 19 Avenue Kléber, in the heart of the 16th Arrondissement, guests are only steps from Avenue des Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe.
The grand entrance provides a spectacular arrival where The Peninsula’s iconic tradition is repeated twice with soaring curved ceilings, bespoke chandeliers, magnificent drapery, marble floors and contemporary furnishings.
To undertake the restoration, architects and designers chose France’s finest artisans utilizing traditional techniques from the building’s façade to interior elements which include marble, mosaics, stone work, and gold leaf refinishing. The two paintings on the ceiling of the Cigar Lounge – representing music and science and geography respectively – were restored by Cinzia Pasquali, who has restored paintings by Leonardo da Vinci at the Louvre, and also the Palace of Versailles.
The building took only two years to build yet four to restore. General manager Nicolas Béliard stated in an interview, “We used the same people who worked on heritage projects for the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles to preserve and bring back to life some of the original glory of the building.” “These traditional elements will be fused with public spaces and rooms that are more contemporary in style.”
The 200 luxurious apartment-styled rooms and suites are embellished with high ceilings, meticulously curated artworks, elegant furniture, and marble lined baths with ambient lighting.
The six food and beverage venues include The Lobby, Lili Cantonese, Le Terrasse Kléber, Le Bar Kléber, Le Lounge Kléber, and L’Oiseau Blanc rooftop restaurant. Le Bar and Le Terrasse feature 360° views over Paris.
The Peninsula Paris has an interesting history. In 1864, Russian oligarch Count Basilewsky, in love with the Château de Versailles, fulfilled his wish to build a Parisian castle of his own in the late 19th century belle époque Haussman building. After him, the deposed former Queen of Spain, Isabella II, lived an eventful life full of conspiracies and rumours in the Palais, until 1904. In 1908, one of Paris’ most luxurious “grands hotels”, the Hotel Majestic, opened it’s doors by entrepreneur Leonard Tauber. Innovative from the outset and impressive with its signature voluminous public spaces, The Majestic quickly became celebrated in Paris and overseas for its beauty, glamour, and the spectacular events held there.
Two bits of history ~ The Paris Peace Accords, negotiated by Henry Kissinger and bringing the Vietnam War to a close, were signed in 1973 in the salon which is today Le Bar Kléber. Also, George Gershwin wrote, ‘An American in Paris’ while staying there.
Visiting this grand hotel is on my list of things to do on my next trip to Paris!