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It took master artisans four years to transform the faded Hotel Majestic, a belle époque landmark, into a 21st-century palace hotel. Le Peninsula Paris opened in summer 2014, with just 200 rooms—created at an average cost of 2.75 million dollars each—and a paparazzi-proof parking entrance. The first European entry of the Hong Kong–based chain, the hotel’s primary investor is actually a hospitality group headed by a member of the Qatar royal family. Despite bas-reliefs, painted ceilings, marble parquet floors, and 2,100 acres of gold leaf (applied by the same company that re-gilded the torch on the Statue of Liberty), the hotel feels utterly modern, with original works of contemporary art scattered throughout; the rooms have a soothing gray and ecru color scheme, and tablets control everything from lights and TV stations to curtains and climate.
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Avenue Kleber is a sedately elegant street of Haussmannian apartment buildings; the hotel boutiques offer the only luxury shopping in the immediate vicinity. But just up the street are the Arc de Triomphe and the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, which is lined with movie theaters and shopping outlets high and low. The Publicis Drugstore steakhouse (133, Avenue des Champs-Élysées) serves a Sunday champagne brunch that is popular with locals.
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Rooms: 200 rooms; from $1,010. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining Options: There are six restaurants, bars, and lounges. The stunning Oiseau Blanc serves seasonal contemporary French cuisine on a rooftop terrace with a retractable roof, 360-degree views of the city, and vintage, aviation-inspired interior spaces; the décor includes a full-size model of the French biplane that set out to beat Lindbergh across the Atlantic but vanished en route. The signature LiLi restaurant serves Cantonese dim sum in addition to classic dishes such as roast Peking duck and barbecued suckling pig. Spa and gym details: The basement gym seems a bit small in proportion to the rest of the hotel, but the locker room has a hot whirlpool, cold plunge pool, sauna, and steam rooms, and there’s a 66-foot lap pool. The 19,365-square-foot spa has six treatment rooms and uses ESPA products.
Who’s it best for: Habitues of the Peninsula chain and travelers who prefer modern room decor. Our favorite rooms: Rooms of all categories exude a modern business zen and have views of surrounding Baron Haussmann–era avenues and boulevards. South-facing rooms on the fifth floor get stunning light. Travel in style: Guests can use the hotel limo service (the fleet includes two Mini Clubmans and a 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II) for a romantic post-midnight spin down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.