The former residence of Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew, on a hill leading down to the Seine next to the Trocadero, has been converted into this striking palace hotel whose airy, light-filled spaces by Pierre Yves Rochon showcase European Empire and minimalist Asian decorative influences in a manner some French traditionalists find refreshing, others eccentric. The location is a bit of a desert when it comes to shopping and dining. However, culture-minded guests love the cluster of less touristy beacons within a two-block radius.
Many rooms in the Shangri-La Paris have unimpeded views of the river, and some have Eiffel Tower views from the bathtub. The second-floor historic rooms, with alabaster columns, stained-glass windows, and coats of arms bearing bees and “B” for Bonaparte, have become a popular venue for society baptisms.
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The Shangri-La Paris sits amid a dense cluster of museums: the Guimet Museum of Asian Art (6 Place d’Iena); the National Museum of Modern Art (11 Avenue du President Wilson); the Palais de Tokyo contemporary art space (13 Avenue du President Wilson), which has a basement continually redecorated by street artists; the Palais Gallieria museum of fashion; and, at the Palais de Chaillot (Place Trocadero), the Museums of Ethnology, Architecture and the Navy. Around the corner on Rue de la Manutention, steps lead downhill to the Debilly footbridge over the Seine. This is a shortcut to the Quai Branly Museum of African Art and the Eiffel Tower that avoids all the tourists in the Trocadero esplanade. The Rue de Pierre Serbie leads to several restaurants such as Noura Pavillion, a fancy Lebanese restaurant and tearoom (21 Avenue Alma Marceau).
Need to Know
Rooms: 101 rooms. From $825. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: With individual wok, chopper, BBQ, and dim sum master chefs, the Shang Palace was the first Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant in France. Under a three-story glass dome, La Bauhinia serves contemporary French and South East Asian cuisine in a beautiful space. L’Abeille, a two-Michelin-starred French restaurant, has a game menu during fall hunting season. The bar lounge serves Asian and European light dishes. Spa and gym details: The former stables house the gym, spa, and a 50-foot-long enclosed pool that opens onto an outdoor sunbathing terrace.
Who’s it for: Museum-loving gastronomes on repeat trips to Paris. Our favorite rooms: Ask for an Eiffel Tower view and, in nice weather, a room with terrace for private outdoor dining. The Shangri-La Suite, a modern, glassed-in penthouse, includes a 1,100-square-foot private terrace suited to hosting parties. By contrast, the Imperial Suite, the private apartment of Bonaparte’s grandnephew, is a jewel box of 19th-century high-society style. Culinary highlight: The lunch (€78) and dinner (€98) tasting menus at Shang Palace are an exceptional value for a Michelin-starred Paris restaurant.