Ultratravel U.S.

Summer 2014

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28 ultratravel PARIS DEBUT T he long, passionate affair between France and Asia has always been based on each one's fascination with the other's different but exquisitely refined aesthetics. This helps explain why the Hong Kong-based Peninsula Hotels group chose Paris as the venue for its first European location. It purchased the handsome Belle Epoque limestone building in the leafy and chic 16th arrondissement, just steps from the Arc de Triomphe. The ensuing six-year renovation ranks as one of the most impressive exercises in historical preservation the French capital has seen in a very long time. To create the sumptuous, 200-room Peninsula Paris, which opens on August 1, the hotel group recruited 20 stonemasons who painstakingly restored the facade of the building, a company of craftsmen who disassembled the hotel's poplar wood paneling so it could be restored and reinstalled in the bar and a team of gilders to renew the gold-leaf luster found throughout the hotel (including the salon in which Henry Kissinger signed the accords that ended the Vietnam War). What gives this Gallic splendor a racy sophistication, however, is the infusion of contemporary elements, including the shower of handblown crystal leaves that are suspended over a black stone table from Bhutan in the lobby. The hotel's L'Oiseau Blanc restaurant is paneled with riveted sheets of aluminum, a reference to the plane of the same name that made one of the first attempts to cross the Atlantic. Room decor is Art Deco–sleek in a scheme of almond, ivory and ebony. In a city where its Eastern cousins Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La have already opened, The Peninsula intends to seduce a demanding international clientele with 21st-century luxury. A 20,000-square-foot ESPA spa, equipped with a gym and a pool, occupies three underground floors. The rooms offer digital bedside and desk tablets. And the white marble baths come with Oscar de la Renta amenities. The five rooftop suites have private gardens with panoramas of Paris, which all guests can enjoy at L'Oiseau Blanc, one of six restaurants and bars (don't miss LiLi for refined Chinese cooking and The Lobby, for a lavish afternoon tea) premises. The Peninsula Paris is located just steps away from the Arc de Triomphe. One of two grand lobbies at The Peninsula Paris. The hotel is situated on Avenue Kléber in Paris' leafy and super-chic 16th arrondissement. PHOTOS COURTESY OF PENINSULA PARIS The Peninsula opens its first European hotel in the City of Light. BY ALEXANDER LOBRANO Contact your travel agent to check in at the new Peninsula Paris. Hot Property

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