France grants ‘palace’ label to 8 luxury hotels

FRANCE Eight luxury hotels in France may refer to themselves as a palace, a new rating granted by the government to distinguish the elite lodgings from other 5-star accommodations.

The newly-crowned palaces include four Paris hotels—Le Meurice, Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Hôtel Le Bristol and The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme—along with Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cheval Blanc in Courchevel, Hotel Les Airelles in Courchevel and Hotel du Palais in Biarritz. At least two newly opened hotels, Le Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris and Shangri-La Hotel Paris, are also expected to apply for the label.

The palace designation is awarded in five-year intervals. In doling out the honor, tourism officials consider the hotel’s location, historical significance, room comfort, personalized service, multilingual staff, and health and spa facilities. French author Gonzague Saint-Bris and the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte were members of the jury.

“We expect significant commercial and notoriety boosts from this accolade,” Bristol Director Didier Le Calvez tells Reuters.

Hôtel de Crillon, recently sold by Starwood Capital Group and considered one of the most opulent hotels in the world, did not apply for the palace designation.