With the smallest room a sprawling 400 square feet, and suites and public spaces filled with original 18th- and 19th-century art and antiques, the George V, flagship of the Four Seasons chain, lives up to its billing as a palace, an official tourism category introduced in 2010 requiring establishments to “embody French standards of excellence and contribute to enhancing the image of France throughout the world.” Set in a 1928 art deco building, the Four Seasons Hotel George V boasts a regular clientele of bona fide royals, including Saudi princes who rent entire floors for six weeks at a stretch. The staff includes a team of flower designers led by an art director who worked on Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. There’s also a dedicated concierge for children ordering up pint-sized bathrobes and private pastry-making lessons in the Michelin-starred kitchen.
With the latest three-year, 20-million-euro refitting, Paris decorator Pierre-Yves Rochon freshened the rooms, which are more sedate than the eye-popping ground-floor lobby. The lobby is one of the city’s most glamorous, with Flemish tapestries, large-format oil paintings, huge floral installations, and a parade of wealthy Russians, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, and French businesspeople and brunching grand-mères. Fresh flowers and fruit baskets are artfully replenished daily, TVs have been installed in the bathroom mirrors, and there are now Nespresso machines for the self-sufficient.
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Supercars and SUVs with blacked-out windows continually pull up to whisk guests away for joyrides within the Golden Triangle, so-called because of the high-end retailers along avenue George V, the avenue des Champs-Élysées, and avenue Montaigne. Le Fouquet (99 Avenue des Champs-Élysées), across the street from the Louis Vuitton flagship, is a historic see-and-be-seen brasserie, while Noura Pavillion (21 Avenue Alma Marceau) serves Lebanese cuisine and pastries in a purple-hued upscale setting. Le Crazy Horse (12 Avenue Georges V) is the most artful of the Paris topless cabarets (and subject of a recent documentary by Fred Wiseman).
Need to Know
Rooms: 245 rooms. From $1,257. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Christina Le Squer, formerly of three-Michelin-starred Ledoyen, has taken over Le Cinq, the hotel's signature restaurant with a current two-Michelin-star status and legendarily lavish breakfast buffet. Time-challenged executives conducting deals appreciate that one can eat lunch or dinner with time left over for other adventures; families appreciate the unpretentiousness of a kitchen happy to whip up chicken tenders and cheeseburgers. La Galerie lounge, with its painted ceiling and huge chandeliers, is the backdrop for coffee, high tea, and people watching. Spa and gym details: The color scheme at the gym, pool, and spa may be restful and muted, but the treatments scream decadence with skin products containing 24-carat gold; the chocolate wrap tempts guests to lick themselves.
Who’s it for: International families and couples, businessmen, entourages. Our favorite rooms: Most rooms overlook the courtyard or surrounding buildings, with skyline views available from floors five and up. The new penthouse honeymoon suite has six terraces offering 360-degree views of the city. Themed suites display original art and antiques and share the feel of elegant private apartments. Special privilege: Ask the head sommelier for a tour of the wine cellar, walled up during World War II and now containing 50,000 bottles, some dating back to before the French Revolution.