lifestyle /travel Indulge in ultimate Parisian elegance at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris Inspired by the legendary land featured in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon published in 1933, the name Shangri-La encapsulates the serenity and hospitality for which the brand is renowned worldwide.

Originally built in 1896 as the home of French imperial Prince Roland Bonaparte, the most historic areas of the former Palais were listed in 2009 with French institution Monuments Historiques, an initiative undertaken by the Shangri-La group. Today, the iconic building once again welcomes Parisians and world travellers within its walls, 114 years after the prince first opened the doors of his residential palace to Parisian society.

The Private Residence of Prince Roland Bonaparte

The rediscovered history of the building and its cultural significance as the home of one of France’s most notable aristocratic families is at the core of this flagship hotel. It all began in May 1891, when Prince Roland Bonaparte bought nearly 3,000 square metres (33,000 square feet) of grounds on avenue d’Iéna in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, which remains today the city’s most elegant neighbourhood. Located between the statue of George Washington and the Eiffel Tower, the site was selected by the prince for its proximity to the Seine and its strategic location at the heart of the capital’s most exciting urban and social scenes.

The prince commissioned architect Ernest Janty, renowned for his reconstruction work at the Louvre and Tuileries palaces for Napoleon III, to design an elegant home and reception areas for receiving notable guests. Throughout the four years of construction from 1892-1896, the building’s design and structure caught the attention of Parisians, since it was a blend of architectural styles from both the 17th and 19th centuries, known simply as “eclectic style.”

The palace’s façade is inspired by the Louis XIV style, with intricate masonry of stone from L’Oise. Sculptors Steiner and Houguenade, who also rose to fame for their craftsmanship on the Louvre and the Tuileries Palaces, were commissioned to carve the façade’s “eclectic style,” featuring the family coat of arms (lion heads and antlers).

Indulge in ultimate Parisian elegance at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris
Courtesy of Shangri-La
Outstanding Views Of The City Of Lights

With 100 rooms and suites, three restaurants, two of which are Michelin-starred, one Bar and four historical events and reception rooms, Shangri-La Hotel, Paris cultivates a warm and authentic ambience, drawing the best from two cultures: the Asian art of hospitality and the French art of living. A Refined Setting in the Heart of Paris’ Most Chic and Discreet Neighbourhood Today, the palace at 10 avenue d’Iéna has once again become an address for Paris’ chic and cultured set, just as it was more than a century ago. Nestled in the refined, residential 16th arrondissement, a stone’s throw from Place du Trocadero high on Chaillot Hill, the hotel is located across the Seine, facing the Eiffel Tower.

The area has one of the highest concentrations of museums in Europe. Just steps away, the renowned Guimet Museum offers Paris’ most extensive permanent collection of Asian art and oriental exhibits. Art lovers will enjoy the treasures of the Palais Galliera, Palais de Tokyo, Museum of Man, Museum of Modern Art and the Marmottan Monet Museum, all within walking distance. Not to be forgotten, the prestigious avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysées, a short walk away. Passing through the original iron gates, guests arrive in a small, protected courtyard under the restored glass porte cochere.

Indulge in ultimate Parisian elegance at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris
Courtesy of Shangri-La

Two Ming Dynasty inspired vases flank the entryway and set the tone from the outset for Asia-meets-Paris elegance. To the right, visitors take a step back in time to 1896 as they enter the historic billiard room with a fireplace, fumoir and waiting room. Bathed in natural light, the hotel lobby features high ceilings and refurbished marble. Its thoughtfully placed alcoves offer discreet nooks for guests to consult with Shangri-La personnel. Imperial insignias and ornate monograms of Prince Roland Bonaparte, subtly integrated into the architecture, are complemented with Asian influence in the decor and ambience of the hotel and its restaurants, bar and salons.

As with the rest of the hotel, Richard Martinet directed the architectural renovations and Pierre-Yves Rochon designed the interior style – at times “Empire,” at times “Luxury minimalist,” at times a stunning mix of both. South-facing and bathed in natural light, 40 per cent of the rooms and 60 per cent of the suites feature a breathtaking, direct view of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. The majority of rooms and suites are large enough and equipped to entertain friends, family or business partners. Nearly half of the rooms and suites feature a private balcony.

Indulge in ultimate Parisian elegance at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris
Courtesy of Shangri-La

The hotel’s rooms and suites are divided into three categories: 63 Rooms, 37 Suites and 4 Signature Suites. The average room measures 47 square metres (506 square feet) and all suites have separate living rooms and bedrooms. The layout of each room and suite is custom-designed to integrate seamlessly into the building’s structure, taking into account the category and the elevation. Apart from the Signature Suites, all rooms and suites are decorated in shades of blue, white and ecru, keeping both European Empire and Asian aesthetics. Interiors offer a pleasing harmony of textures and colours, from silk-threaded wallpaper, textured wall panels and refined crystal hardware on custom-made furnishings. Authenticity and residential comfort are the guiding forces behind Pierre-Yves Rochon’s design throughout the hotel.

He meticulously studied archive documents and photos of the former Hôtel Bonaparte, reworking the textures, wallpapers, carpets, lighting fixtures and bath fixtures of Prince Roland’s era into his 21st century designs. Motifs were selected, reworked and translated into new, modern amenities or updated when necessary into modern textures or hues. Each room and suite has a marble bathroom with heated floors, separate bathtub, rainfall shower and double sinks above which a flat-screen television is integrated into a large mirror. The majority have exterior windows to let in natural light and certain rooms offer a direct view of the Eiffel Tower from the bathtub.

All rooms are equipped with complimentary Wifi and landline Internet connection. In honour of the group’s white tea signature fragrance worldwide, Shangri-La Hotel, Paris offers its guests BVLGARI White Tea toiletry products, in every room.

Indulge in ultimate Parisian elegance at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris
Courtesy of Shangri-La
Banqueting and function spaces

Ideal for hosting a prestigious wedding, conference, seminar or banquet, Shangri-La Hotel, Paris’ 850-square-metres (9,150-squarefeet) of reception areas and event spaces evoke the spirit of the elegant events hosted by the Bonaparte family for 19th century Parisian society. Three connecting rooms, the Grand Salon, the Salle à Manger and the Salon de Famille, lead to the historical first floor gallery.

The ballroom is located on the rue Fresnel side of the building, an expansive space with integrated audio-visual functions. Frescos grace the walls, and the ballroom overlooks a portion of Prince Roland’s former stables. The Grand Salon, decorated in Louis XIV style, is undoubtedly the palace’s principal reception space, both during the prince’s era and today for Shangri-La Hotel, Paris. The room features an immense white marble fireplace, decorated with bronze and a trumeaux mirror. Bonaparte family originals once again grace the room, including bronze wall appliqués, two golden wooden and marble tables and two crystal chandeliers.

Indulge in ultimate Parisian elegance at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris
Courtesy of Shangri-La

Architectural details specific to the Bonaparte family abound, including imperial crowns, symbols of bees, lion heads, engraved or embellished in the architecture, initially designed as protective symbols for the palace’s guests. The Salle à Manger, devoted to the glory of the emperor, features mahogany carvings of battle arms and military trophies within the upper arches above the salon doors and window opening on to an expansive terrace.

Two massive eagle statues with spread wings hold pride of place in the room. A Renaissance-inspired fireplace, topped with a dual-columned mantle, frames a bronze relief replica of David’s Napoleon Crossing the Alps, which is currently on display at the Malmaison Castle Museum. The Salon de Famille is decorated mainly according to Empire style, its panelled walls painted with winged women around a medallion. The ceiling features an orb of sphinxes and plants. Delicate blue tones and artistic touches lend a remarkable femininity to the salon.

Indulge in ultimate Parisian elegance at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris
Courtesy of Shangri-La
CHI, The Spa

Shangri-La Hotel, Paris’ CHI, The Spa, is solely dedicated to the well-being of its guests. Located in what were once Prince Roland Bonaparte’s stables, the 15 x 6m swimming pool is bathed in natural daylight thanks to enormous glass windows, as is the fitness room. Two spacious and elegant treatment rooms offer a selection of facial and body treatments from The Organic Pharmacy brand.

Glamorous dining that takes your breath away

Shangri-La Hotel, Paris, hosts three restaurants with three distinct atmospheres and three styles of cuisine, overseen by renowned Chef Christophe Moret.

L’Abeille: Gourmet French Restaurant. L’Abeille (“The Bee” in French) refers to the imperial insignia of the Bonaparte family, an emblem that has been subtly incorporated into the restaurant’s décor. This enchanting gastronomic restaurant endeavours to make the symbolism of the bee its own, using patience, technique and exceptional products as the hallmarks of culinary excellence. The restaurant overlooks a stunning garden “à la française”, inaugurated in June 2013.

Indulge in ultimate Parisian elegance at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris
Dining at L'Abeille
Courtesy of Shangri-La

During the summer season, guests dine to the sound of birds chirping whilst devouring the Eiffel Tower’s majestic beauty. A plush interior in tones of silver, grey and taupe signed by Pierre-Yves Rochon lends a chic ambience to this discreetly luxurious space. Unique details such as taffeta curtains inspired by 19th century motifs by Lelièvre, bespoke porcelain and a smoked crystal chandelier designed by Rochon himself provide the finishing touches for this intimate, 40-seat restaurant.

Shang Palace: traditional Chinese, Cantonese-inspired restaurant. On 8 September 2011, Shang Palace opened its doors as the first Chinese fine dining restaurant of this hotel category in France. The Chef and his brigade of four Hong Kong chefs assure its authentic culinary style. The team consists of four Masters: Wok, BBQ, Chopper and Dim Sum. Likewise its ambience and décor has been signed by a Hong Kong-based interior decorator.

La Bauhinia: French and South-East Asian contemporary cuisine. La Bauhinia takes its name from the iconic flower that graces the Hong Kong flag. Part of the orchid family, the five-petalled flower is also a reference to Prince Roland Bonaparte’s passion for botany, illustrated by his herbarium, which included over 2.5 million samples.

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