By Millissa Mathai on 26 Feb 2013 | No Comments

The Shangri-La is on its way to taking over the European luxury hotel and resort market with its
first foray into the western world – the Shangri-La Paris, one of the brightest jewels in its crown
thus far. The Asian luxury hotel and resort group chose to open this exquisite hotel on the tree-lined
Avenue d’Iena’s of Paris’ posh 16th arrondissement where it sits in the company of several mansions
once belonging to France’s elite. The sumptuous Beaux-Arts structure was built in 1896 as a private
residence by Roland Bonaparte – the grand-nephew of Emperor Napoleon I, one of France’s most
illustrious rulers – and was once described by the New York Times as “one of the most beautiful and
artistic private residences erected of late years in the French capital” (1901). Today the building is
officially listed as a French Historical monument, and certainly deserves every accolade that comes
from with the title.

With restorations by renowned architect Richard Martinet and interiors by noted interior designer
Pierre-Yves Rochon, the hotel is a refreshing blend of old-world French charm and modern touches,
managing still, to reflect the timeless elegance of its once royal owners. Entrance into the grand
lobby feels like stepping into the welcoming home of a celebrated aristocrat rather than entering the
nondescript sameness that many modern hotels fall prey to. But don’t be fooled – this place is no
antiquated, out-of-touch edifice. Suites and rooms were designed with a contemporary sensibility
in mind, resulting in a clean and classical feelall while discreetly integrating modern comforts like
flat-screen televisions and internet access. About 60% of the rooms and suits have commanding,
unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower and about 40% have terraces, making the Shangri-La Paris
one of the best places to view Paris by day or night. Suites are delightfully large and feel like well-
appointed Parisian apartments. You can even live like a prince (at least for as long as your stay) in
Roland Bonaparte’s personal apartment where high ceilings and striking city views make your visit the
envy of all travelers.

Once you go, be sure to look out for the carefully restored signature Bonaparte
“Bs” and “Bees” crafted throughout ceilings and walls, reminding you that the original owner was of
no slight social standing. And if coming to the hotel for a business meeting or wedding, Shnagri-La’s
choice of four banquet halls with their unique chandeliers and ornate crown mouldings will certainly
transport you into a space not unlike the days of Paris’ splendid upper-crust social fetes. – Michelle Duncan

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