Recently, my wife Natalie and I had the opportunity to spend the night at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris. And what a night it was! For starters, we were guests of the hotel so we got to see how the rich and famous travel to the City of Light without breaking the bank. For those with deep pockets or ones that want a peek into this luxurious lifestyle, here are 10 reasons to stay at the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris.
1. It’s The Four Seasons
First of all, it’s very difficult to go wrong at a Four Seasons hotel. This exclusive eight-story hotel was built in 1928 and has had a few owners over the years. But in 2008, the company controlled by HRH Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia hired the Four Seasons to manage it. You can bet that with them in control, everything is in tip-top shape.
The Four Seasons Hotel George V is located in the heart of Paris’ most upscale shopping district – The Golden Triangle. The Golden Triangle includes Avenue George V, Rue François 1er and Avenue Montaigne. Every single designer name (Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Givenchy and Chanel, for example) that gives many a husband an upset stomach when they hear, are within arm’s length. More importantly, it’s just two blocks from the Champs-Élysées and walking distance to Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde and all the other Paris attractions you dream about.
Four Seasons is known for its service and George V doesn’t disappoint. The moment your ride (a beat up taxi, in our case) pulls up, not one but two doormen appear and assist you out of the car. They effortlessly retrieve your bags and escort you to reception. From there, the staff go out of their way to make guests feel welcome. Almost everyone we encountered greeted us with a smile and a few even remembered our names. Note: Like all good hotels, the rooms come with twice-daily housekeeping service and when I returned from dinner, the crumpled up pile of clothes I’d left on the chair were folded neatly. I wish I had this service at home, too.
I’m betting that when you walk into the lobby you will first be taken aback by the spectacular flower arrangements. There are 180 vases around the lobby alone and they switch the colors and arrangements every few weeks so that frequent guests never see the same floral design twice. Jeff Leatham, the artistic director was brought over from the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills and is the real deal. In fact, he’s been voted best florist in Europe for three consecutive years and many celebrities try to hire him for their private parties.
The Four Seasons Hotel George V has 244 luxury hotel guest rooms and they are filled with exquisite art and bright Louis XVI styling. Our king-size bed came with sheets that felt like a billion thread count and a light comforter which made for a perfect night’s sleep. The only negative I could find is that I could hear our neighbors’ kids running around before dinner.
As for the wall-to-wall marble bathroom, it had a deep soaking tub, separate shower and Bulgari toiletries. The only thing missing was a Toto toilet and heated floors.
6. Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea is an experience. It’s not formal like in London and I even saw a few diners (men and women) enjoying tea alone. Actually, one of them was (randomly) our friend from the States. Tea is served in La Galerie, which is great for people watching. La Galerie showcases beautiful Flemish tapestries, 19th-century paintings and exquisite furniture. There’s also a pianist who sets the casual but elegant tone.
Then comes the featured attraction of afternoon tea, in three tiered trays. The bottom level is filled with finger sandwiches: cheese, ham, cucumber, foie gras and smoked salmon.
The next level had an assortment of fine savories including two hockey puck size macarons that were no doubt the best in the world. I know what you’re thinking: That that’s a bold statement. And I would be thinking the other thing you’re thinking … what about Laduree? Well, after sinking my teeth into one, I realized the rumors about Laduree’s macarons being frozen (how else can they produce so many thousands) are true. These were so fresh and tasty that tea at the Four Seasons Hotel George V is worth it alone, just to try them. When I asked someone on staff why they don’t sell them to the general public, he laughed and said that then they wouldn’t be exclusive. C’est vrai!
Like you really need more treats after level two of the three-tier tray. But it was tough to resist the bite-size brownies, carrot cake, cookies and homemade scones that were served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. As if all of this weren’t enough, to end things off, they brought over the restaurant’s famous flavored caramels.
7. Restaurant Le Cinq
When I told our Parisian friend we were dining at the hotel’s Le Cinq restaurant, their expression summed up our meal. The two-Michelin-star Le Cinq was amazing from start to finish. The dining room is exquisite. The tablecloths, china and silver were all created specifically for the hotel. And the menu draws on classic French culinary techniques but also embraces newer, lighter cooking styles.
Just like in the fancy restaurants in Monaco, one of the waiters greeted us with a cart that had an oversized bucket filled with fine champagne on ice. Then came an amuse bouche of olive tempura, salmon and some kind of fancy potato chip. Men get the menus with the prices and when I asked Natalie how much she thought my appetizer was (green asparagus from Luberon), her guess of 20EUR was off by 60EUR. She then overbid on my free range chicken from Bresse (105EUR) which must have been treated like royalty until that evening. The other guests didn’t bat an eye at the prices and the place was filled with smiling couples and families from all over the world.
When I decided to move my chair next to Natalie’s while waiting for dessert, the waiter offered to set us up at a table with a love seat. It was set up just beautifully, just like our desserts: George V Style Fraisier (35EUR) and Chocolate & Peanut Crunchy Iced Delight with Pastis caramel sauce (30EUR). Then came the mignardises cart (filled with bite-sized candies and chocolates) and I looked at the waiter like he was on crack. I waived my white, linen napkin to surrender but they still gave us each a box (like everyone else) of their caramels to go.
8. Crème brûlée for breakfast
Nine hours later, Natalie and I were back in the Le Cinq dining room but this time for breakfast. To our surprise and delight breakfast began with a mini crème brûlée! Is that insane or what? Service at breakfast wasn’t as good as dinner but the food was equally divine.
The spa at the Four Seasons Hotel George V is nothing short of dreamy. The waiting room is filled with skewers of fresh fruit, bowls of dried fruit (dates, apricots and apples) and stocked with bottles of Evian water. There’s also a strange but delicious concoction of orange, passion fruit and vanilla bean juice. Between all of this and the unfathomably soft disposable slippers and robe, I felt like Eddie Murphy in Trading Places.
As for our spa treatment, Natalie and I had a Sodashi Aromatherapy couples massage. It’s described as “a time to de-stress both mind and body with a relaxing, detoxifying or energizing massage enhanced with Sodashi’s Wholeness, Purity and Radiance ritual. Natural essential oils treat your specific body-care concerns, promoting an immediate feeling of well being.” And they aren’t kidding. 50 Minutes = 195EUR
10. View from window
Looking out on to a Parisian avenue is better than most views I’ve had at other hotels I’ve stayed in. But having the Eiffel Tower, all lit up, standing there like an observant giraffe in a city jungle, is beyond words. You just have to see it and feel it.
FYI: When I woke up at 8am, I opened the curtains to take a peek of it (it’s not as pretty during the day) but I noticed a group of friends leaving what must have been a fancy nightclub. Too funny — I was just waking up and these guys and girls were just heading home. Oh Paris, how I adore you.
Obviously, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is a remarkable hotel. Not everyone can afford it but for those who can or who save up for it for a special occasion, it’s worth it. You won’t be disappointed.