Original article fron the Business Traveller.
After six years of development and a €429 million restoration, the Peninsula Paris is set to open on August 1.
The first Peninsula to launch in Europe, and the brand's tenth property worldwide, the Parisian hotel is located on Avenue Kleber, a short distance from the Arc de Triomphe.
The six-storey Belle Epoque building houses 166 rooms and 34 suites, five of which have their own private rooftop terraces.
Starting from 29 sqm, the high-tech bedrooms feature touchscreen tablets for controlling the air conditioning, blinds and Samsung TVs, as well as panels on the walls for the weather, valet, thermostat and privacy. Workdesks also come with scanners and fax machines.
Each room has a self-contained dressing area with a valet box accessed from the corridor for laundry and shoeshine, a safe and nail dryer, and all guests can avail of free wifi, long-distance phone calls, soft drinks from the minibar, tea and Nespresso coffee.
Black and white marble bathrooms have separate tubs and showers, mood lighting, integrated televisions and Japanese Toto toilets.
Rack rates start from €1,095, going up to €25,000 per night for the 318 sqm Peninsula suite.
The Peninsula Paris originally opened as the Majestic hotel in 1908, but closed in the 1930s before being taken over by the French government and turned into administrative offices.
However, a multimillion investment from the Peninsula's parent company Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels (HSH) and Qatar partner Katara Hospitality, has seen an ambitious restoration project take place over four years (despite the fact that the original hotel only took two years to build).
Clement Kwok, CEO of HSH, said: "We take a long-term view of each property, investing as an owner as well as being the operator, so that we can build the property to the finest standard and continue to maintain and enhance its quality over many, many years. We plan for each property to have a unique design and personality, fitting in with its location and the culture of the city and country in which it is located."
Many of France's top craftsmen were employed to help with the transformation, with stonemasons reconstructing the limestone façade, carpenters repairing more than 1,000 sections of wood paneling, Stuc et Staff (known for their work in the Louvre gallery) working on the plaster and mouldings, and specialist gilders applying 40,000 pieces of gold leaf by hand.
There were also experts in stained glass, silks and brocades, ornamental metalwork and murals called in.
With only the spa scheduled for completion at a date later in the year, the hotel is ready to welcome guests (with the Peninsula's signature page boys and girls in white uniforms) from August.
The property has two entrances, one for guests on Avenue des Portuguese, and a grander one for the public on Avenue Kleber, which is accessed by a flight of steps and flanked by two stone lions and an al fresco terrace on both sides covered by a glass roof.
The huge reception area for hotel guests is light and airy with floor-to-ceiling white marble and a hanging installation of glass leaves in the centre.
When entering through the street-side La Terrasse Kleber, visitors then find themselves in the palatial Lobby, which is considered the heart of the hotel. This is where afternoon tea will be served, accompanied by live jazz.
In total, the Peninsula will have three restaurants, with ground-floor LiLi serving Cantonese cuisine and 20 types of Chinese tea, and the sixth-floor L'Oiseau Blanc offering modern French fare with panoramic views of the city (you can easily spot the Eiffel Tower and Sacré Coeur), from both inside and out, on the rooftop L'Oiseau Blanc Terrasse.
There is also the oak-panelled Le Bar Kleber on the ground floor, which opens out on to La Terrase Kleber, and the frescoed Le Lounge Kleber, for cigar smoking – there is a humidor and numerous lockers for members to store their own cigars.
For events, there is a ballroom (where you can party all night long) for 100 people seated, as well as three meeting rooms for between 32 and 48 delegates in each.
Facilities in the 1,800 sqm spa include a 20-metre-long pool, whirlpool baths, eight treatment rooms, and two fitness spaces equipped with Technogym machines, free weights and medicine balls. As they are located in basement level two, there is no natural light.