Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.
The Shangri-La Hotel chain has recently expanded its properties to include European capitals with openings in Rome, Istanbul, and later this year London.
The Shangri-La Paris, which opened in 2011, is richly steeped in history. It was built as a private palace for Prince Roland Bonaparte, an explorer, geographer, and botanist and the grandson of Lucien Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. The varied period architectural style includes Louis XIV, Empire, and Greco-Roman style with carvings and sculptures by Steiner and Houguenade, who worked on the Tulieries Palace and the Louvre.
The building changed hands over the years and the last occupant was the French government who left it in less than desirable condition. Head architect Richard Martinet and interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon lead the painstaking renovation and restoration of the 215,000- square foot structure which took over four years to complete.
The renovation has paid off in spades, as the Shangri-La is one of the most sumptuous hotels in Paris. Set on a tranquil street off of Place d’Iena, it's still close to major attractions and a few minutes walk from Place Trocadero and the Champs Elysees.
The 101 rooms and 36 suites are a chic mix of Empire style and luxury minimalist. As always with Shangri-La Hotels there is an Asian accent to the décor. Sixty percent of the suites have breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower. Three Signature suites are for the more discerning clientele. The largest suite, the Imperiale, is a sprawling 2800 foot jewel with 16 foot ceilings and was the former private apartment of Prince Roland and the only room listed with the Historic Monuments Society of France. Other features include a private study, a private kitchen with an optional serving staff and dining area that can accommodate up to 8 guests. The Shangri-La suite on the top floor features a blend of contemporary and classic French furnishings The 1100 ft. terrace has sweeping views of the most iconic Paris sites including Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, and of course the Eiffel Tower.
In a culinary feat, the Shangri-La can boast two Michelin starred restaurants. L’Abeille (The bee), received two Michelin stars after opening in 2011. Chef Philippe Labé perfects his essential cuisine style with elevating classic French dishes to an art form. The intimate 40-guest dining room is tastefully appointed in neutral shades of gray, taupe, and silver overlooks the romantic hotel garden facing out to the Seine. Shang Palace is the traditional Cantonese inspired restaurant with chef Frank Xu, a Shenzen native at the helm turning out some of best Chinese food in Paris, with a Michelin star to prove it.
The health club, located in the Prince’s former stable has a generous sized 50 x 20 ft. pool, fitness room, and facial and body treatments by Carita.
Shangri La Paris
10 Ave. d’Iena, 75016
(33) 1 53 67 19 98