Big news from the City of Light: Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts will open the Shangri-La Hotel, Paris in the French capital’s 16th arrondissement on December 17.
The hotel is the group’s first property in Europe, and was built in 1896 as the private home of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s grand-nephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte. Shangri-La dedicated four years to restoring Roland Bonaparte’s Palais Iéna (Vincent Le Gorrec, the hotel's director of sales & marketing, told us that it took more than nine months to restore the woodwork in one room alone), the same amount of time it took to build the original home from 1892 to 1896. The building is listed with the French heritage institution, Monuments Historiques.
The 16th arrondissement on the right bank of the River Seine is one of the city’s premier residential districts, we hear, but it is just a short walking distance from the capital’s main attractions, shopping areas and parks.
The restored landmark retains its residential heritage, and unlike many larger Shangri-La properties in Asia and the rest of the world, has just 81 rooms including 27 suites, making it the most intimate of all Shangri-La Hotels worldwide. Interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon crafted each room individually to retain the residential ambience.
Accommodation includes five duplex suites; the Suite Imperiale, which originally housed Prince Roland’s private rooms, and the penthouse Suite Panoramique, with over 1,076 square feet of outdoor deck. Unique in Paris, 40 percent of the rooms and 60 percent of the suites feature unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine below, and, Mr. Le Gorrec told us, due to city zoning regulations, nothing will be built to block the view. Even better: Nearly half of all rooms offer balconies and terraces, and guests can see eight of the 15 bridges over the Seine.
Executive Chef Philippe Labbe is in charge of the hotel’s culinary division. La Bauhinia, the all-day dining restaurant and lounge in the centre of the building, features a newly uncovered and restored glass cupola modelled after the Eiffel Tower. The French gourmet restaurant L’Abeille and the city’s first authentic gourmet Cantonese restaurant, Shang Palace, will open in early 2011. Chef Labbe will also oversee the cuisine for Le Bar and the former residence’s banqueting rooms.