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 at www.eyepreferparis.com.
Making its grand entrance into the crowded European luxury market, Peninsula Hotels recently opened The Peninsula Paris, bringing the company's unique Asian-inspired brand of five star accommodations and service to the City of Light.
A former grand hotel built in 1906, the property has a storied past, seeing many metamorphoses over the years. Ahead of its time when opened in 1908, it was the first hotel to have private bathrooms. On an historical note, The League of Nations was formed in the hotel in 1919, which lead to the signing of The Treaty of Versailles. In 1928, composer George Gershwin spent four weeks in a suite composing the score for the legendary An American in Paris. Another history-making event was the signing of the peace agreement to end the Vietnam War, negotiated by Henry Kissinger on January 27, 1973, in the bar. After the hotel was sold in 1936 it went on to be UNESCO headquarters and later used for various government agencies.
A painstaking renovation was six years in the making, led by the Peninsula in-house design team in conjunction with Henry Leung of the Hong Kong-based Chhada Siembieda Leung Ltd. The Paris-based designer Richard Martinet was in charge of the ground floor renovation, using craftsmen and historical advisors to manage the design. The centerpiece of the airy lobby is a hanging sculpture of 800 delicate Lasvit Crystal leaves individually hung by craftsmen from the Czech Republic.
The Lobby Restaurant is a congenial classic French style dining room serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the outdoor terrace is one of the largest in Paris extending out on the upscale Ave. Kleber. Award-winning chef Tang Chi Keung is whipping up Cantonese fare at Lili, a chic restaurant with a dramatic décor of marble columns, midnight blue walls, and handmade Chinese wall carvings.
L’Oiseau Blanc is the crowning achievement of the hotel’s suite of restaurants. The aviation-themed restaurant, bar and terrace is inspired by the adventure of ex-First World War flying aces Charles Nungesser and François Coli, who attempted to cross the Atlantic in 1927 from Le Bourget. The smart Art Deco-inspired design includes an exact replica (75 percent size) of the L’Oiseau Blanc plane hanging over the roof and 360 degree views of Paris.
Boasting some of the largest rooms in Paris (the smallest measures almost 400 sq. ft.), The Peninsula Paris has 200 rooms and 34 suites with five featuring their own private rooftop gardens with spectacular views. Keeping the technologically advanced guest in mind, bedside interactive digital and desk tablets are fully customized and preset with 11 languages. Top furniture and home accessory designers have exclusively designed pieces for the hotel including writing desks and bedside tables by Austrian designer Robert Wolte, coffee tables from Cassina in Italy and carpets by Tai Ping.
The expansive 20,000 square ft. spa is a serene sanctuary with a 65 ft. indoor pool, two Jacuzzis and eight private treatment rooms. The Ying Yang, custom designed for the hotel, is a calming treatment that brings harmony to the mind and body using plant, marine and essential oil extracts.
19 Ave. Kleber, 75116
Tel. +33 1 5812 2888