July 25 2013
It was recently announced that the gorgeous Plaza Athénée hotel, on the avenue Montaigne 8e, will be shutting up its red awnings and geraniums from the 1st October 2013 for six months.
They've recently bought several adjacent properties and apparently need to close their doors to the public in order to carry out the disruptive building works. By spring 2014, the hotel will have an extra 14 new rooms and suites, plus a ballroom and two new conference rooms. Sounds pretty exciting.
The downside is that the Plaza's restaurants and bars will also all be closed during this period for refurbishment (see above announcement for which design agencies are stepping up for the job.)
It's partly due to this closure, I'm sure, that Alain Ducasse has been announced as the new Head Chef at Le Meurice (another hotel also in the Dorchester Collection so a wise move to keep him in the group.) Still at least this means that it's not all doom and gloom for our stomachs.
(Completely unrelated, if you happen to be looking for a little new furniture for your dream Paris pad, the hotel will be auctionning off a few pieces on the 6-8th October 2013.)
Hotly awaited is the "Peninsula" hotel, on the avenue Kléber, 16e.
The date for this opening, originally scheduled for the beginning of 2013, has been pushed back, pushed back, and pushed back again... but word on the street is that the hotel is starting to show signs of life. (The management team is all in place - they're currently recruiting bartenders and wait staff.) This will be the first venture in Europe for the Peninsula Hotels group and Paris is unsurprisingly the city they've chosen to test the temperature of the water over here.
Another large international hotel group, Cheval Blanc, is set to open up in 2014, in the old Samaritaine building (now owned by LVMH.) It's hard to find information about the current state of play but it appears that the majority of the building will be given over to offices and retail, and that the Art Deco building facing the river will be the new home to 80 luxury bedroom suites. What a perfect spot that will be!
Now for some more good news: The Ritz (place Vendôme, 1er) which closed its doors at the end of July 2012 for extensive refurbishment is still set to re-open in 2014.
Despite the uproar around the announcement that only 25 of the 500 hotel employees were to be kept on during the two-year closure, you will be happy to learn that legendary barman Colin Field (from the Bar Hemingway) was one of those who had his contract maintained and will definitely be coming back to stop us from getting thirsty.
The Hotel Crillon, however, just down the road on the place de la Concorde, which is also closed for extensive refurbishments, won't be re-opening until 2015.
But, all in all, 2014 promises to be a great year to re-discover Paris' favourite luxury palaces.