Lonely Planet Writer

Parisien hotel becomes the latest recipient of coveted palace status

A Parisien hotel has become the latest in France to be awarded the highest honour in the land – palace status.

The special award is given only to hotels that are considered above five-star standard with just seventeen locations in the country chosen so far.

Peninsula Hotel, Paris.
Peninsula Hotel, Paris. Image by Getty Images

The Peninsula in Paris is the latest addition to the list and is celebrating with free bottles of champagne for all guests until September.

The hotel on swanky Avenue Kléber reopened just two years ago after a painstaking and no-expenses spared renovation that took four years.

Its suites overlook the Arc de Triomphe and start at €4000 per night with the hotel’s simplest superior rooms starting at €795 per night.

2 years and counting! We’re celebrating our second birthday today! 🎂🎉#ThePeninsulaParis #PenMoments

A video posted by The Peninsula Paris – Official (@thepeninsulaparis) on Aug 1, 2016 at 5:47am PDT

So what marks out a palace hotel from more ordinary accommodation? The award – which has been given to nine hotels in Paris and eight in the rest of the country – is decided upon by Atout, the French tourism development agency.

They said: “The Distinction [of] Palace is designed to award official recognition to the finest 5-star hotels. They must have exceptional qualities that embody French standards of excellence and contribute to enhancing the image of France throughout the world.”

Each hotel goes through a two-phase selection process. It begins with an initial investigation to ensure they meet mandatory criteria like having a spa, gym, multilingual staff, concierge service and so on.

Then it moves to the evaluation phase, which is conducted by an experienced expert panel, who judge them on location, appearance, history, the quality of their gourmet restaurants and more.

The nine palace hotels include famous Parisien names like Hôtel le Bristol on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and Hôtel le Meurice on Rue de Rivoli.

Outside of Paris, there is a “palace” in Biarritz, one in Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat, two in Saint-Tropez, and one in nearby Ramatuelle.

The town of Courchevel in the French Alps is home to no less than three palace hotels. Famous as THE ski resort for VIPs, celebrities and royalty – guests have their pick of Hôtel Le K2, Hôtel les Airelles, or Hôtel Le Cheval Blanc.