When I was young, growing up in Africa, I dreamed of Paris. Nothing much has changed, as my ever-increasing collection of Breton striped tee’s, daily use of red lipstick and a flat peppered with French objet d’art will attest to (I have an actual Eiffel Tower shaped lamp made from an old olive oil bottle I’m particularly proud of!) In short, I regularly imagine that I actually am un petit French fille and subsequently have supremely high expectations of Paris and visit there with extreme caution to avoid any disappointment. You can therefore only imagine how quickly I said OUI when I was asked to travel first class on the Eurostar and stay at the Peninsula Paris for two nights.
Above: Distracting myself from my overwhelmingly naked passport with a handful of magazines (does EVERY blogger apart from me have a monogrammed Louis Vuitton passport cover?!)
After a 4 year, £341 MILLION makeover, the five-star Peninsula Paris, the first Peninsula in Europe, swung its gloriously immaculate doors open at the end of last year. The original building, which dates back to 1908, is steeped in artistic and political history, with George Gershwin penning ‘An American in Paris’ within its walls in 1928 to housing the Nazi military command whilst Paris was occupied during WW2. Located across an entire block near to the Arc de Triomph and Champs Elysees, the hotel now boasts 200 suites (starting at £800 a night), 34 suites, a penthouse suite with its own lavish rooftop garden (a mere £20,000 a night), an underground spa and 20m swimming pool, 600 incredible staff and a fleet of BMWs, Mini Coopers and two Rolls-Royces. Yes. I was also wondering how I managed to bluff my way past their uniformed bell boys and polished, marbled lobby (Shhhhhhsh... I won’t tell if you don't!)
After a delicious lunch (above) at the aviation-themed L’Oiseau Bleu, one of the hotel’s six bars and restaurants, named after an early French biplane and with 360˚ views of Paris, I made my way to my room. And by room, I mean basic apartment. Just as immaculate and glossy as the rest of the hotel, my suite had everything I could possibly need, dream of and even more. From a Nespresso machine, to a hidden printer, a nail-varnish dryer in my dressing room (I’m not even kidding), a television in the bath tub (I had four square-eyed baths during my short stay), Oscar de la Renta amenities, and a state-of-the-art, touchscreen tablet which controlled the lighting, heating, curtains, TV and room service (dangerous!) There were complimentary international calls, a complimentary mini-bar (helllooooo!) and after an immensely busy few weeks collapsing into my giant, sumptuous bed for an afternoon disco-nap was totally dreamy.
That evening, after cocktails in Bar ‘s randomly brilliant outdoor cabin, I dined at their increasingly famous Cantonese restaurant, LiLi. The rich interior was inspired by the drama of Chinese and French opera and the food, although not the place I would advise a strict vegetarian to go, is prepared by the fantastic, award-winning Hong Kong chefs in their own impressive Chinese kitchen within the hotel.
Above: By the striking ‘Dancing Leaves’ installation consisting of 800 hand-blown twinkling crystals leaves in the hotel’s main lobby. It really is a truly beautiful sight, especially at night.
After yet another bath and another (far longer) sleep, the next morning entailed breakfast in the stunning, Belle Epoque’esq Lobby Kléber, where we also later sampled a traditional and spoiling Japanese tea to coincide with Japanese Spring. After one (ok, two) sugary ‘mini’ kouglofs by the hotel’s award winning pastry chef, I went to a chocolate workshop in the impressive kitchens. My diet when left unsupervised… WOW. There was a real moment I actually anticipated rolling back to London…
So frequently on work trips you are so busy running around the city, you are almost unable to enjoy the amazing room you are staying in. After a couple of super brief spells into town (I say 'super brief' as the weather was super chilly and super wet!) I luckily, after the most relaxing and revitalising hour long, hot–stone ESPA massage in the hotel’s enormous, 1800 sq m spa, and a short spell in the relaxation room, I was able to retire to my suite for an evening of room service, movies and sleeeeeeeep. After an incredible lie-in, followed by EVEN MORE room-service the next morning (this couldn’t have been more heavenly!) I enjoyed one last delicious lunch with the team. I felt truly refreshed by the time I headed back to London.
Thank you to The Peninsula Paris Hotel and Eurostar.
TLC ON TOUR... PARIS SUITCASE:
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