THE LAVISH Shangri-La Paris was previously the private residence of Prince Roland Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew. This 19th century French architectural gem, classified as a historical monument since 2009, can be found in all its gilded glory on Avenue d’Iena within the elegant 16th arrondissement.
The hotel is moments away from the Place du Trocadero and some of the city’s best loved museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, while the designer boutiques that line the prestigious Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysée are all within easy walking distance.
Shangri-La Paris – Courtyard
As I enter the spectacular lobby, I notice two Ming Dynasty-inspired vases, setting the tone for Asian-meets-Parisian elegance, reflecting the hotel’s deep Oriental roots. I am struck by the dazzling chandeliers, each one suspended from ornate gold-leaf arched ceilings, with walls ordained with imperial insignias and decorative monograms of Prince Roland Bonaparte.
Intricate Italian marble flooring leads into two jewel-coloured sitting rooms, while pots of gargantuan hot pink floral arrangements in gold vases sit atop marble console tables. This palatial hotel screams glamour, no more so than when I enter my breathtaking room and fling open my shutters to reveal a prime view of the Eiffel Tower before me, seemingly in touching distance of my windows.
The property comprises 100 sumptuous rooms and suites in varying categories. Most are furnished in royal shades of ecru, blue and soft white, with silk-embossed wallpaper, with every one of the beds’ patented body-contouring technology guarantee a dreamy night’s sleep.
Bathrooms are heavy on marble, with heated flooring, double vanity units and plenty of floral-scented Guerlain amenities.
Shangri-La Paris – L’Appartement Prince
Shangri-La Paris – La Suite
Leisure facilities include a sizeable swimming pool located in the residence’s former stables. Sunlight floods through the floor-to-ceiling windows, shining onto the sculptures adorning the walls. There’s an adjacent fully equipped fitness room, while the Chi Spa features products from the French organic beauty brand, Alaena.
Just off the lobby is the much loved Le Bar Botaniste, which pays homage to the palace’s original resident who assembled the world’s largest private plant collection. With its extensive menu of exclusive cocktail creations and liqueurs, this intimate space for hotel guests and locals alike, makes the perfect destination for an aperitif. My preference is the sweet and bubbly framboise cocktail, which didn’t disappoint.
Dining options include Shang Palace, which received a Michelin star in 2012 and remains the only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant in France. Executive Chef Samuel Lee is at the helm, accompanied by his former team from Hong Kong.
La Bauhinia, the all-day dining restaurant, is positioned beneath a sensational Eiffel Tower-inspired steel and glass cupola and features a European and southeast Asian menu. I opt for the Italian burrata starter accompanied by a symphony of cherry tomatoes, followed by grilled sea bream with a delicious butter sauce and the chef’s salad bursting with a distinct Asian tang.
Dessert is the French specialty and picture-perfect mille-feuille, with vanilla and caramel layers sandwiched between the lightest, flakiest pastry I’ve ever plunged my fork into.
Shangri-La Paris – La Bauhinia
My Parisian palatial experience ends the next morning with an à la carte breakfast, al fresco at La Bauhinia’s garden-terrace. This destination is an instagrammer’s dream – complete with its manicured lawn presided over by the Eiffel Tower. Probably the most romantic spot in the city.
by Amanda Bernstein
10 Av. d’léna, 75116, Paris France
Prices start at €1,000 including breakfast, per night.
For more information, visit www.shangri-la.com/paris