The Peninsula Paris, run by Hong Kong-based hotel chain operator The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd., is finally open for business as Asian luxury hoteliers rush to open in the iconic French destination to court Chinese tourists. This makes it the first time the hotel group ventures into Europe, bringing its expertise gleaned from its successes in Asia into the City of Lights.
The hotel, located near the major landmarks of the Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysées, features 200 rooms, including 34 suites. Five of the suites have their own private rooftop access. The hotel boasts of six restaurants and a rooftop bar with a 360-degree view of Paris. Other facilities include boutiques, spas, and what the hotel touts as “Paris’ first above-ground cigar lounge.”
The property used to be the Hotel Majestic, a classic French-style building dating back to 1908. It is one of Paris’ most famous historic landmarks, and was converted into UNESCO’s headquarters in 1946. In 1958, it became the conference center for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosting high-profile events until 2009.
With the goal of maintaining the Peninsula’s Asian heritage while preserving the building’s Parisian sensibilities, both Hong Kong and European architects and designers have been contracted to design the hotel’s aesthetics. The grounds are also adorned with contemporary artworks from Hong Kong-based Sabrina Feung Fine Art, including two installations by artists Ben Jakober and Xavier Corberó.
The Peninsula Paris is not the first Asian-branded hotel to step into France—the Shangri-La Paris opened in 2010 and the Mandarin Oriental followed in 2011. These hotels are likely to appeal to France’s increasing number of Chinese tourists, which saw a growth rate of 23.4 percent in 2013. France has been working hard to attract high-spending Chinese travelers by investing in events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China, setting up a WeChat account for Chinese tourists, and even hiring Chinese police officers to protect travelers after several Chinese visitors were robbed.